A Dying Pastor Reflects on His Legacy

Four years ago, Buddy Hoffman, the founding pastor of the Grace Family of Churches, experienced a catastrophic aortic dissection. Doctors expected this to be fatal, but by God’s grace, he lived.

In October of 2016, Buddy received an epidural steroid injection to relieve pain from a ruptured, bulging disk in his back. The injection went well, but over the following three months, he experienced significant pain and health challenges.

On Thursday, January 12, Buddy gathered the staff from Grace’s campuses to discuss his declining health. Among his words of encouragement, he offered these thoughts:

The kingdom is bigger than any momentary pain. Distractions come and go, but the bigger issues of the heart are what we can never afford to overlook. Love well; cover one another in grace for the sake of the kingdom. Don’t let a bulge in a relationship suck you away from the greater story, nor the rupture of your plans take your eye off the prize. It is a temporary pain; it is not going to kill you. But ignore your heart and relationship with God, and it will kill us and it will kill others.

Later that night, he returned to the hospital and learned that his pain was caused by an aneurysm in his aorta. Doctors also discovered a terminal infection at the site and explained that Buddy likely had less than a month to live. He was moved from the hospital into home hospice care.

Soon after his terminal diagnosis, we spoke with Buddy about his ministry at Grace, the legacy he hoped to leave, and his anticipation to experience what he had preached about for so many years. Buddy’s wife, Jody, and two of his children, Gabe and Joy, joined in the conversation.

Buddy Hoffman died on February 12, 2017, one month after his terminal diagnosis.

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