Jacksonville megachurch pastor back in pulpit after surgery

Doctors warned Bishop Rudolph McKissick Jr. that he could lose his voice

By Destiny McKeiver - Multi-media journalist, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The pastor of a Jacksonville megachurch is back to preaching after being silenced for two months following surgery. Bishop Rudolph McKissick Jr., pastor of The Bethel Church had to have several surgeries, to remove a polyp from his vocal cords and his doctors had warned him that he could lose his voice forever.

McKissick Jr. is known for his upbeat preaching style but he’s setting that aside to do more “teaching” in hopes of maintaining his voice to get his message out Sunday.

"Today was the first Sunday and it was jam-packed. You could tell they were listening and I think they appreciate the teaching more than the styling," McKissick said.

The Bethel Church is a megachurch in downtown Jacksonville which attracts thousands on any given Sunday. 

Now instead of McKissick's normal dynamic preaching style behind the pulpit, the church leader delivered a different kind of message, in a different style, as his doctor ordered.

"Having to change my style because of the severe scarring. It’s going to be more of a teaching, well delivery-wise. I’ve always been a teacher. I think because of the style, you’re going to see a difference in the church, as far as even those who come to be a part of it, " said McKissick. 

McKissick Jr. had surgery 10 years ago, which paralyzed one of his vocal cords. Now, years later, he had another surgery in which doctors found severe scarring on his last functioning vocal cord.

"It’s going to be tough because I’m used to going hard in the paint, so to speak. To preserve my voice and because of the scarring, I’m going to have to become almost conversational in my preaching and teaching, which will be OK," McKissick said. 

It’s a style of teaching, McKissick said he is embracing.  He added he wants  other pastors to know they shouldn’t get caught up in the style of their preaching, but in the substance of the message. 

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