How God turned a tragedy into a divine leadership transition
Nov. 29, 2009, was a marked moment in my life. My husband, Billy Joe Daugherty, passed away after our 36 years of marriage and ministry together.
Billy Joe was not only my husband, but he was also my spiritual mentor. There are others as well who have influenced me, but he had a major impact on my life and on the lives of our children, our staff, our congregation and many others around the world. He challenged me, inspired me, encouraged me, valued me and loved me.
Before we were married he turned to me and said, “I see us as a ministry team together—as husband and wife.” Because Billy Joe had such a gentle, forbearing, yet firm strength, he was easy to follow as the spiritual head in our relationship. Billy Joe had laid a strong foundation for us at Victory Christian Center—one of compassion, servanthood, outreach, discipleship, debt-free operations, vision, wisdom, healing and supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The day after Billy Joe died, I heard the Lord say to me, “Philippians 1:21: ‘For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ Billy Joe lived for Me and now he is dead. He has gained, but you are still alive on earth, and your life does not stop.”
When a person moves from one country to another country, their loved ones do not stop living and doing what they had been doing before. They continue, knowing that one day they will see their loved ones again.
God spoke to my heart: “The enemy would like to paralyze you, the church and the vision of reaching the harvest. Your response is vital to overcoming the enemy.” He also said, “You are the one who must rise up, stabilize the ship, which is large, and move it forward.”
When people get their eyes fixed on a person, they become paralyzed when that person is gone. I knew that God and Billy Joe would not want me, my family or our church to stop moving forward.
Right after Billy Joe passed, the Lord spoke to me to go see Freda Lindsay, co-founder of Christ for the Nations Bible Institute, where Billy Joe and I attended as students the summer of 1976. She and her daughter-in-law Ginger spent three hours with me and prayed for me. Her example of leadership following her husband’s passing had always inspired me, and now more than ever.
One month after my husband passed away, my father, who was a retired Methodist pastor and a great influence in my life, also passed away. Throughout this time I experienced a supernatural grace surrounding me.
I am so thankful for my family, for a wonderful staff with servant hearts and for an amazing congregation. I have watched all of us rise in God’s grace and anointing to take and multiply the vision of God and move forward.
I have key staff leaders whom I meet with regularly, but I also heard the Lord say to me to ask a group of national and international ministry leaders, whom we have known for years, to be a spiritual covering to me. I believe, as Esther 4:14 says, “Who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” God needs every believer in these last days to reach people (Acts 2:17-18; Is. 60:1-5).
Sharon Daugherty is the pastor of Victory Christian Center in Tulsa, Okla., which she, along with her late husband, Billy Joe Daugherty, founded in 1981.