PLANO, Texas — Jack Graham, pastor of the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church and a former Southern Baptist Convention president, has announced that he was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and is taking a two-month sabbatical.
“Today I want to share something of the journey I, along with Deb and our family, have been on in recent months,” he shared in a June 20 letter to the 28,000-member congregation which appeared in the church’s weekend publication. “In April, after a routine checkup and subsequent biopsy, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. This was not what we expected to hear, but received it as a part of God’s plan for my life knowing full well we can trust Him in everything.”
Graham underwent successful surgery May 14 after consulting with doctors, led by personal physician Kenneth Cooper, founder of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas and a longtime Prestonwood member.
Graham said physicians have assured him that his “prognosis is outstanding.”
“After much prayer, it was my desire to keep the surgery private for a number of reasons,” he wrote. “So, 10 days after surgery, I returned to the pulpit and a somewhat scaled-back schedule. That was a push, but God has been faithful to strengthen me.”
On June 6-7, Prestonwood celebrated Graham’s 20th anniversary as pastor of the church, which has more than tripled in membership since he arrived. On that weekend, a member of the church’s personnel committee announced that Graham would receive a two-month sabbatical in recognition of his milestone anniversary.
Graham returned to the pulpit the following weekend before beginning his sabbatical.
“It is perfect timing to begin that sabbatical now for the continued healing of my body, soul and spirit,” he stated, noting 1 Thessalonians 5:23: Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Graham said he will spend the next two months relaxing at home with wife Deb and their family and traveling.
“I also feel it is important to cancel my speaking engagements away,” he said, “and focus on my personal walk with Christ, fortify my faith, and make sure in all this journey that Christ is magnified.”
Executive Pastor Mike Buster said Graham is doing well. He added that the church family had a special time of prayer during all five worship services over the weekend.
“We are praying that this will be a time of continued healing and a season of restoration for him,” Buster said.
Buster said that over the next two months the preaching schedule will include ministers from the Prestonwood preaching team, along with guest speakers such as Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary President Danny Akin and O.S. Hawkins, president of Guidestone Financial Resources and a Prestonwood member.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Delgado-Young is editor of the communication ministry at Prestonwood Baptist Church.)