- (Photo: New Destiny Christian Center via The Christian Post)
As Zachery Tims was laid to rest Saturday by members of his megachurch, new details have started to emerge from the investigation of the Florida pastor's death. Tims was found dead on Aug. 12 in a New York City hotel room.
New York Police Department (NYPD) officials investigating Tims' death were looking at the possibility that the minister might not have been alone in his room at the W Hotel in New York City's Times Square.
Investigators were reviewing surveillance video to see whom Tims may have been traveling with and if anyone had visited the room in which he was staying, reports WFTV in Orlando. The television news station reported that officials were also seeking to get a hold of hotel and cell phone records to find out whom the Florida pastor may have communicated with during his stay in New York City.
Tims, senior pastor and CEO of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Fla., was remembered by thousands who turned out to his funeral Saturday.
Church members, family, and friends were in attendance at First Baptist Church of Orlando to say their goodbyes and to remember a charismatic minister who touched many lives.
Both the viewing and funeral for Tims' were closed to the media and were not available for live viewing online, to the dismay of those were not able to say their goodbyes in person. NDCC had announced earlier that both the viewing and funeral would be streamed on the church's website, but Tims' family had a change of heart at the last minute and preferred to keep the proceedings private.
Those who were able to attend the Tims' funeral in person shared their impressions of the homegoing service on NDCC's Facebook page Saturday.
"Saints the Home going for our Dear Pastor, Dr., & General was BEAUTIFUL, we we're blessed by the ministries of CeCe Winans & Marvin Sapp who sang 'the best in me'... the worship grew thick as we went high in the spirit where HIS presence engulfed the sanctuary ... other Pastors and respected leadership reflected on personal friendships with Pastor and encouragement to our loss, then BISHOP T.D. JAKES spoke a word in season to the Tims Family," wrote Yolanda Campbell.
"Our Pastor loved Jesus with all his heart, soul and mind and his God inspired legacy and teachings will forever be remembered as we all press forward to the mark of the high calling," Campbell added.
Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of the Potter's House in Dallas, Texas, eulogized Tims, comparing the Florida minister to Jacob from the Bible.
As Jacob was later renamed Israel by God, Jakes preached that "Dr. Tims" was different from "Zach.”
"I thought I was the only one who knew how unhappy Zach was, how broken he was, how afraid he was if anybody was to see any flaw in him. He tried hard to heal himself, to fix himself," said Jakes.
Tims, who battled a drug addiction before turning to Christ, was very open about his struggle with substance abuse and his violent youth.
In his book, It's Never Too Late, Tims thanks Jesus Christ for saving him and for using his life as a testimony to let others know that "God is in the recycling business and can change a messed-up life and make it beautiful."
According to his biography on NDCC’s website, Tims was “miraculously saved, instantly delivered from drug addiction, and called into ministry.”
An autopsy conducted on Tims was inconclusive, but reports surfaced earlier this week that an envelope holding a white powdery substance was found on the pastor.
Sources close to the investigation believe the substance may be narcotics and might have played a part in the 42-year-old preacher's death, according to various media reports. Officials were awaiting toxicology results to shed light on what may have caused Tims' death.
"I don't know what happened in that room in New York," Jakes said in Saturday's eulogy, "but I can only hope that as Zach was dying, Dr. Tims stood up."
Tims, born in Baltimore, Md., was laid to rest at Woodlawn Cemetery in Orlando.
Tims, who often hosted TBN's "Praise the Lord" program and appeared on various other radio and television programs, founded the 8,000-member NDCC in 1996 with his then-wife, Riva Tims. The couple has four children.