Florida Megachurch Church Calls on God as Facts Emerge in Tims Death

Zachery Tims' Ex-Wife Speaks Out at Church Service

By Michael Ireland


ORLANDO, FL -- As new details begin to emerge about the death of megachurch pastor Zachery Tims, members of New Destiny Christian Center are finding comfort in God.


Zachery and Riva Tims

According to, church members gathered on Monday in a meeting to discuss the rumors and speculation surrounding the death of Tims, founder of New Destiny Christian Center.


News reports saythe 42-year-old pastor was found dead at a New York hotel Friday.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting an envelope of white powder, believed to be narcotics, was discovered in Tims' pocket. The news has led many to suggest an overdose, although no official cause of death has been named.


CBNNews said Tims started New Destiny Christian Center in 1996 after overcoming a troubled past, including attempted murder charges and drug addiction.

His sermons have reached millions of people around the world, and he regularly appeared on the Trinity Broadcasting Network program "Praise the Lord."


"While words are difficult for me to find during this time of loss, I honor the great work he has done for the kingdom of God and pray for every family member, friend, associate and the incredible congregation of New Destiny," fellow megachurch pastor Paula White said of her "spiritual son" and friend.

The Christian Post reports that at Monday's church meeting, members participated in a time of worship, asking God for "strength and healing."

"Zachery's death may have caught us by surprise, but it has not taken God by surprise," Riva Tims, the ex-wife of the Florida pastor, said as the congregation gathered.


Riva, a pastor herself, also used Facebook to thank people for their support during this time. "Please continue to keep my family especially my children lifted in prayer," she said.


CBNNews said supporters have flocked to New Destiny's Facebook page to express their condolences over the loss of Tims. Well-known pastors and other leaders also responded with deep sorrow.

"My Heart is so heavy tonight," longtime friend and pastor Clint Brown said on his Facebook page. "It will take Orlando a long time to get over this. Dr. Zachary Tims you will never, ever be forgotten... I miss you so much. My heart is broken."

Tims' ex-wife announced on Facebook that funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 20.  reports that Riva Tims addressed more than 2,000 people gathered at New Destiny Christian Center in Orlando, Florida, Monday night.


Riva Tims, who left the church in 2008 during a scandal and eventual divorce in which Zachery Tims admitted to an "indiscretion," told the congregation that she, her ex-husband and their four children traveled together to Puerto Rico the week prior to his death.


"God saw it fit that we would have an opportunity to spend a few days together with him," she said to the crowd who never took their seats while she spoke. "He was able to fellowship with his sons and his daughters. He was able to take pictures with them."


Riva Tims, who started Majestic Life Ministries in 2009, encouraged the members to remain one body in this time of turmoil.


"Just as Dr. Zach and myself got together, God is looking for us to be one body," she said. "I stand before you tonight in all humility with the power and grace of God and also with the spirit that Zach left behind to press on and not give up," she added.



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