More than 5,000 people packed the First Baptist Church of Orlando, Fla. on Saturday for the three-and-a-half-hour funeral service of Pastor Zachery Tims.
The Orlando Sentinel reported the service was a cross between a tribute and a tent revival, with songs, prayers, silence, stories and high-volume preaching. There was more rejoicing than weeping, more laughter than grief.
Bishop T.D. Jakes gave the euology for Tims, who served as the pastor of the New Destiny Christian Center. He compared Dr. Tims to Jacob of the Old Testament, describing Tims as a great man with two sides.
"I thought I was the only one who know how unhappy Zach was, how broken he was, how afraid he was," Jakes, chief pastor of The Potter's House, told the audience.
"If anybody was to see any flaw in him, he tried hard to heal himself, to fix himself," he added.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he could never tell what to expect when he attended a Sunday service at New Destiny, where Tims once preached a sermon about the war to save souls while dressed in combat camouflage.
First Baptist Pastor David Uth confessed his envy of Tims' preaching style.
"I've watched Zachery on TV and I've thought, 'God, why can't I preach like that?' I've actually said a few times, you know sometimes being white just gets in the way," he said.
Tims, 42, was found dead in a New York hotel room on Aug. 12. His death is under investigation, and the cause has not been determined.
The Orlando pastor leaves behind a wife and four children.