Henry Blackaby, pastor and bestselling author of ‘Experiencing God,’ dies at 88

Christian pastor and author of Experiencing God Henry Blackaby.
Christian pastor and author of Experiencing God Henry Blackaby. | (Photo:

Henry Blackaby, a Canadian pastor who was the author of the bestselling Bible study book Experiencing God, has died at the age of 88.

Blackaby Ministries International announced his death on Sunday, noting that Blackaby "went to be with his Lord" on Saturday. A funeral service is scheduled for Feb. 25 at First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, Georgia.

"He helped countless people experience God. Now he is experiencing God in ways that surely surpass even his most cherished dreams. He left behind an enormous spiritual legacy," stated BMI.

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"In lieu of flowers, you may donate to Blackaby Ministries International as it carries on Henry's work, or to the Blackaby Chair of Spiritual Leadership at the Canadian Baptist Theological Seminary and College."

Blackaby was preceded in death by his wife, Marilynn, but leaves behind five children and 14 grandchildren.

Lifeway President and CEO Ben Mandrell, whose company served as the publisher for Blackaby, released a statement on Saturday expressing his condolences.

"He was a great man of God and minister to the body of Christ, beginning with his time as a local church pastor and continuing through his ministry as an author and Bible teacher," stated Mandrell.

"Millions of people around the globe have been impacted by his Bible study Experiencing God. … He loved his Lord, his family and his local church. Lifeway sends the Blackaby family our sincere condolences as they remember the life and ministry of this godly man."

The Rev. Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, tweeted his condolences, calling Blackaby "a great Bible teacher and author."

"He will be greatly missed, but his influence on the lives of untold numbers of people through his Bible teaching will live on," Graham stated.

Blackaby Ministries International
Blackaby Ministries International

Blackaby was born in 1935 in British Columbia. He served as a pastor in both the United States and Canada. He is credited with helping to revitalize Faith Baptist Church in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

In 1990, Blackaby's influential Bible study Experiencing God was first published by Lifeway and sold approximately 8 million copies with multiple editions.

"We couldn't have imagined what God would do with this message," wrote Claude King for Lifeway in 2022. "Translated into probably 60 or more languages, Experiencing God has spread all over the world."

"Trans World Radio even developed the message into radio programs and broadcast them as a radio discipleship tool in Arabic, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and English. Because the message was so clearly biblical, people of nearly every Christian denomination we know have used it."

In September 2013, Blackaby suffered a heart attack while driving in Atlanta and became disoriented, which resulted in him going missing for nearly 30 hours. He underwent successful heart surgery shortly after the incident.

In April 2015, FBC of Jonesboro held a two-day event in honor of Blackaby turning 80, with well wishes coming from Anne Graham Lotz, then-Saddleback Church Senior Pastor Rick Warren and former President George W. Bush.

Mel Blackaby, senior pastor at FBC Jonesboro and the third son of Blackaby, told The Christian Post in an interview at the time that it was "a wonderful time to reflect on the legacy my father has not only set for his family but for an untold number of believers across the globe."

"It has been my honor to read every book he has written; co-author several books with him; but more importantly, see the exemplary life he has lived daily," said Mel Blackaby.

"Through my personal travels all over the world, I am always humbled by the number of testimonies I receive on how God has used my dad's writings to change lives."  

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