Virginia Pastor Dies in the Pulpit after Sermon

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Bishop Barnett K. Thoroughgood had just finished his Sunday sermon called "I Am Here to do Battle" when he sat down in his seat on stage, and collapsed.

Soon after, he was pronounced dead. Members of New Jerusalem Church of God in Christ prayed and cried as paramedics tried to revive their 62-year-old pastor to no avail.

"He died doing what he loved," church member Mable Beckett told a local reporter. Beckett attended the service where Thoroughgood took his last breath.

"He lived the life he was called to, right up until the end," she added.

Thoroughgood founded New Jerusalem about 42 years ago. The church has since grown to more than 2,000 members. He was known for his fiery messages, full of energy.

Watch Friday's edition of "The 700 Club" and stay with for an updated report on Thoroughgood's memorial service.

Before his death Sunday, Thoroughgood preached from 2 Chronicles 20:12, urging congregants to keep their attention on God and call on Him in their time of need.

"You shall live and not die," he said before taking his seat.

Below is Thoroughgood's final 8 a.m. sermon from Sunday, Feb. 5.

Since his passing, an outpouring of messages have been posted to the church's Facebook page.

Thoroughgood's son Emmanuel commented that "this is not a time to cry or be upset," but instead to "have a praise break."

"My father made it!" he wrote.

The circumstances of Thoroughgood's death have since gone viral. Hip-hop artists Missy Elliot, Pharrell Williams, and Timbaland are all associated with New Jerusalem.

Timbaland's mother attended Sunday's service. Shortly after news of Thoroughgood's death, he tweeted to hundreds of thousands of followers, "Rest in peace to my pastor, a true angel, Bishop Barnett K Thoroughgood."

Singer Justin Bieber and thousands of others reposted the message.

In 2007, CBN's "The 700 Club" named New Jerusalem its "Church of the Week."

"Being in a neighborhood that's low to moderate income, the need was so prevalent," Thoroughgood said back then, following a church event for the needy.

"We're not interested in keeping people on that level," he added. "We're interested in not only showing them Christ, but showing them the benefit of being connected to Christ."

A homegoing service will be held at 12 p.m., Friday at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

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