Calls have apparently been increasing for Zachery Tims' former wife, Riva Tims, to return to the Florida megachurch they founded together 15 years ago to fill the gap left by Tims, who passed away last month.
In a post published on her official Facebook page Monday, Riva Tims addressed questions from members of New Destiny Christian Center (NDCC) who wanted to know if their former first lady would be returning to fill the position her ex-husband left behind.
"In response to so many of your inquiries... I have gotten an overwhelming response from my New Destiny Family to come home and/or at least minister to them," Riva Tims wrote. "However, I have not been contacted by NDCC staff to return or to assist in the transition. I will continue to pray and cover NDCC, that the vision Zack and I birthed will continue! Thanks for all of your love and prayers."
Many of those who responded to the statement on whether Tims would be returning, expressed agreement with her decision.
"That's good, God will open the door if it His will. Leave it in God's hand," wrote Elizabeth Bernardo.
Tim Walker echoed Bernard's comment, writing, "God will open the door. Stay encouraged Pastor Tims!!!"
Other visitors to the page, however, expressed an ardent desire for Tims to return to NDCC, with some comments indicating that the Apopka, Fla., church was only overlooking the obvious.
Mississippi JoMae wrote, "Pastor Riva contact NDCC staff directly, request a meeting! Remind them that you were co-founder and you know the vision that God shared with Pastor Tim! If they are not receptive, God will not hold you accountable! I am in prayer, waiting on a Praise report, I just might fly in your first Sunday of merging the two churches!"
Apostle Stephen Clarke wrote, "They better get it together ASAP...and stop playing around with the souls of God's people. Hope you return."
Angela L. Neely said, "I pray that you return as well.....they need you!!! Praying for hearts to be humbled and souls are the top priority!
"It is definitely my prayer that they make that DIVINE CONNECTION! The Vision that the two of you BIRTHED as ONE didn't divide in divorce. The Vision is STILL alive! I pray they make that call," Michelle Mikki Jackson-Powell commented.
The Tims founded NDCC in 1996, but after the couple divorced in 2009, amid allegations that the charismatic preacher had been unfaithful to his wife, Riva left and started her own ministry – Majestic Life Ministries in Orlando.
Tims made an appearance at NDCC to address the congregation just days after her ex-husband was found dead in a New York City hotel room.
"Zachery's death may have caught us by surprise, but it has not taken God by surprise," Tims told church members and supporters Monday, Aug. 15.
She also told them, "God is a good God ... He's looking for one body, not individual groups … He’s looking for us to come together as one body … to advance the kingdom of God."
"I stand before you tonight in all humility with the power and grace of God and also with the spirit that Zach left behind to press on and not give up."
Before leaving the pulpit, Tims encouraged church members to keep on keeping on.
"You got to go through (the fire)," she said. "We’re going to go through and we're going to make it. We're going to come together as one body. I love you."
As NDCC goes through the process of finding a new pastor to lead the nearly 8,000-member congregation, various ministers have been preaching at the church, with Paula White being the first minister to address the congregation the Sunday after Tims was buried.
New York police have been investigating Tims' death, which was not ruled suspicious. Toxicology results, expected this week, should confirm whether the preacher died of a drug overdose, as reportedly suspected by officials investigating the case.