A Legacy of Faith
with Pastors Matt & John Hagee
Q: Pastor John, as a father and grandfather, what does celebrating Father’s Day mean to you?
JH: Every child comes into the world with the message that God is not weary with mankind. Father’s Day in truth is every day. Every day the sun comes up your children need your love, your guidance, your time, and your assurance that they are the most important thing in your life.
When my children were home, they knew that if they called my office and I was on the phone with a U.S. Senator, he would be put on hold until I found out what they needed and if I could solve the problem. I went to every school function they had if I was in town. I don’t care if they were playing the part of a potted plant on stage…I was there! Your money is a cheap substitute for your time. You can buy your child too many things, but you can’t give your child too much love. That’s why Father’s Day is every day.
Q: Pastor Matt, you knew from a very young age that you wanted to be a preacher like your father. Describe the moment you shared that with your dad and how he responded.
MH: There has never been a day that I can remember, that I did not know that I was supposed to be the Pastor of Cornerstone Church. I didn’t feel like I was supposed to be a Pastor or in Ministry. I knew that God wanted me to be the Pastor of Cornerstone. When I turned 13, dad and I sat down and he let me know what was required to be a Pastor. He was very direct about the amount of effort it would take, the work that was required, and the kind of character and behaviors that were nonnegotiable. My father has always been very truthful with His children, and while there were times we probably wished he would have sugar coated the conversation, he always spoke the truth in love. I am so very blessed that my father has always supported the call of God on my life and been a tremendous mentor and leader for me to follow.
Q: At the age of 17, Pastor Matt preached his first sermon. What was that experience like for each of you?
JH: When Matthew made it clear he wanted to be in the ministry we sat down together and charted out his life for the next fifteen years. I told him what to study when he went to Oral Roberts University. When he graduated we had a plan for exactly what he would do in the church. He started off making announcements and sitting on the platform to see what 5000 people look like staring back at you. Then he started preaching on Sunday night and Sunday nights lead to Sunday morning and Sunday mornings lead to years of training that made it possible for me on the first Sunday of March 2018 to pass the torch of Lead Pastor to Matthew. That day was my 60th anniversary in the ministry. Everything we do as a family is planned and structured from the beginning. Watching Matt preach his first sermon was an absolute joy but it was one step in a structured journey.
MH: Dad told me in May of 1996 that I was going to get to preach my first sermon on the last Sunday Night in July before I left for ORU the following week. With all that time to prepare, I went to work putting together what I thought would be the greatest sermon that had ever been heard on the face of the earth! (Ambitious I know.) A few weeks before I was scheduled to preach, dad said he wanted to review my manuscript, so we sat down and read it over. Forty-five minutes later he had edited, erased, and used enough red ink on that pile of paper that it looked like a small animal had been sacrificed on every page! At the end of his editing cycle, he told me, “Son, most of what you have written came out of you, and some of what you’ve written came from the Bible.” Then he said words that I’ll never forget: “If all you tell others is what’s in you, they will not cross the street to hear it. If what you tell them comes straight from God’s Word, they will come from all over the world to listen!” The moment was humbling and challenging all at the same time. I swallowed my pride and asked my father to show me how to preach, because it was obvious that I needed to learn how. From that sermon until now the arrangement has worked pretty well.
Q: Pastor John, you’ve been mentoring your son for many years in ministry at Cornerstone Church. What’s been the greatest blessing as you’ve watched him grow and develop into the man of God he is today?
JH: Matt’s obedience to do exactly what I ask him to do, like I ask him, and when I ask him. Obedience to spiritual authority is the secret to success. America and the church have completely forgotten the Biblical concepts of spiritual authority.
Q: Pastor Matt, how has your father’s example in life and ministry impacted you?
MH: To say that my father’s example has impacted me is like asking the clay if the potter played a role in making it into a vessel. Without a doubt who I am as a Pastor, Husband, Father, and leader is a testament to the love, diligence, and effort that my father gave of himself to shape me.
Q: Pastor John, people around the world watch your program each week on Daystar. For those who haven’t seen John Hagee Today, what can viewers that tune in expect to hear?
JH: I have been on Christian television six days a week for 40 years! The first day I preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the last day I preach it will be the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The message is clear; in spite of our faults and failures, God loves us; He gave His Son to redeem us, and our future is without end in a paradise our minds cannot comprehend.
Q: Pastor John, you recently celebrated 60 years in ministry and officially passed the torch to Pastor Matt, appointing him Lead Pastor of Cornerstone Church. Describe how it feels to see your rich legacy of faith continue through your son.
JH: On the Sunday that I passed the torch to Matthew, I recited the names of Hagee Preachers for the past 200 years in our family legacy. I am the 47th descendant of the original John Hagee to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ all of my life; Matthew will be the 48th. In our family it’s a matter of “who’s next?” Matthew has two sons and if Jesus tarries one of them will be a preacher of the Gospel.
Q: Pastor Matt, you’ve known for many years that you would one day lead Cornerstone Church. What was it like to hear your father make the official announcement?
MH: It was a very humbling and tender moment. While it is something I have always known would be the purpose of my life, to have him lay hands on me, and anoint me to receive the mantel of his life’s work and ministry was an awesome responsibility to bare. Words really do not describe all that I felt and was exchanged between us on March 4, 2018. The best way I know to show Him and others what it means to me, is to serve this congregation, church, and ministry, with every ounce of my being as long as God gives me the strength and grace to do so.
Q: How did this change affect Pastor John’s role in church leadership?
MH: For many years now I have served as the Executive Pastor, leading the staff and organization of Cornerstone Church and Hagee Ministries. As an Executive Pastor I was responsible to accomplish the vision that Pastor Hagee established for this Ministry. Now as the Lead Pastor, my role is not only to continue that vision but also to build upon it with vision and growth for the next generation. As a minister Pastor Hagee will preach as long as God gives Him the strength to do so. He and I are still working together to see the lost in the city of San Antonio and around the world won to Christ. He is also tirelessly working on projects like the Sanctuary of Hope and Christians United for Israel. So it goes without saying his schedule is pretty full! As for his role in the church, he is still here inspiring every member of our organization and congregation to do all that they can for the Kingdom each and every day.
Q: Pastor Matt, when you think of the many things you’ve learned from your dad over the years, what lesson or piece of advice stands out the most?
MH: There are so many things I could say to answer that question that I assume some day I should write them all in a book. But here are just a few of the statements that echo in my soul when I consider what my father has taught me.
1) The secret to success is to find out what God wants to do, and do that!
2) Some prayer some power, more prayer more power, much prayer much power!
3) There is no substitute for preaching the Word of God.
4) Fear Not for the Lord God is with you!
5) For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I’ll not hold my peace.
Q: Pastor John, how can God use fathers to lay a strong spiritual foundation and impart blessings to the next generation?
JH: God can only use fathers that obey the Word of God. Teach your child to obey…to love God…to work…to honor parents…excellence… persistence…focus, “this one thing I do.” Fight for what you stand for and remember that quitting is never an option.
Q: How has the Bible shaped your understanding of what it means to be a good father?
JH: he Bible is the only book I’ve ever read that’s worth the ink on the pages about how to raise your children.
MH: The Word of God is what framed the world. The Bible is the compass of every human being’s life. If they don’t use the compass, they will always be searching for direction rather than walking in it. As a father the Word is the most effective and powerful source a parent has. It not only holds me accountable to my responsibilities, but it gives me the power to protect, provide for, and empower my children to be used by God to bring Him glory and honor in their generation.
Q: What role should the Church play in helping fathers become Christ-like leaders and mentors to their children?
JH: First step for the Church is to remind the father he is the leader of his children… not his wife… not the Church… not the boy scouts… U.S. Army. Ephesians 6:4, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
MH: The Church is the support structure that surrounds the entire family. As Christ is the head of the Church submitted to God the Father, so is the father and Husband the head of household submitted to Christ. This is how God created and designed the family to function. If the Church does not operate under proper spiritual authority, then the families in that church will struggle to do the same. When the Church does function in the biblical model established by the Word, then the Father/Husband has an example to follow. Too many times in the culture today we are trying to function out of order. Rather than do what God wants the way He wants, we are attempting to accomplish His results in our own way, and it simply will not work. The responsibility for raising Godly children, according to the Word of God is laid upon the shoulders of the Father. “And you Father’s,” the Bible says. This one principle has the power to change the world if people will apply it to their families and their lives.
Q: How would you like to see the culture change when it comes to how men view fatherhood?
JH: When you talk about our “culture: in America” consider the following:
1) That masculine leadership has been assassinated in our schools… universities… families… movies and in some churches that refuse to preach the fundamentals of fatherhood.
2) Children are taught in school…”you may not know if you are a ‘boy’ or a ‘girl’…you are what you think you are that day.
3) We have produced a generation of pot smoking millennials who believe everything should be given to them without work. The fact is you deserve nothing until you work for it. God worked! It’s God-like to work! Get off your backside and go get a job and tell us how to straighten out the world right after you straighten out your room in the basement of your mother’s house.
4) Our culture is where children are an “endangered species.” You kill a bald eagle and can go to prison for 20 years… you murder a baby in a womb of the mother… get a check from the government.
5) 74% of America’s children do not live with their birth mother and father. The gangs in the streets of America and the anarchist screaming for the death of America are our children who grew up in homes without a father.
6) What education systems have done to our children is so corrupt that if it were done to us by a foreign government it would be considered an act of war.
How would I like to see the culture change? Flush this corrupt and godless mess down the drain and start over with the Ten Commandments!
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church.
Wives, be in submission to your own husband. Children, obey your parents that your days may be long on the earth.
Plug in the Ten Commandments you have the foundation of a society that will endure. What America has will not survive!
MH: Our culture has targeted fathers and attempted to destroy the man that the Bible says they should be. If the culture is going to change, then the Church is going to have to change the culture, rather than adapt to it. If we believe what the Bible says, then “If God is for us who can be against us?” It begins at the top, Pastors must be Men of God that other men can follow. Churches must be filled with the Word of the Living God so that those who go there can have their lives changed by its power. People of faith must behave like they believe so that “men may see their good works and glorify their Father in Heaven.” The answer isn’t a mystery, it has been available to us for centuries. The question is, “Do we have the courage to be what Christ called us to be: the salt of the earth and the light of the world?”