Florida megachurch pastor Rudolph McKissick Jr. has returned to the pulpit after undergoing surgery on his vocal chords that doctors worried could have left him voiceless.
McKissick preached before the congregation at The Bethel Church in Jacksonville for the first time in over a month-and-a-half on Sunday. He had been recovering from a June 11 procedure to remove a polyp on from his vocal chords.
As McKissick is known for having an upbeat and passionate style of preaching, he was much more subdued and was trying out a more conversational approach while letting his congregants make all the noise for God.
McKissick told WJXT that he had to change his style in order to preserve his voice because of “severe scarring” found on his last functioning vocal chord.
“It’s going to be more of a teaching, well delivery-wise,” he explained in an interview. “I’ve always been a teacher. I think because of the style, you’re going to see a difference in the church, as far as even those who come to be a part of it.”
McKissick admitted that changing his style will be tough for him because he is used to “going hard in the paint.”
As for this Sunday, the sanctuary was packed for the bishop’s return.
“You could tell they were listening and I think they appreciate the teaching more than the styling,” McKissick explained.
The polyp removal procedure comes after McKissick underwent a procedure 10 years ago that left one of his vocal cords paralyzed. Ahead of the June procedure, McKissick sought prayers because the procedure would be a “touchy one.”
“Where they have got to go and do the work is in a place where doctors claim where they don’t know what my voice will be like after the surgery,” McKissick said in a Facebook video posted the week before the surgery. “But I believe God. He didn’t bring me this far for me not to be able to continue to do what he called me to do.”
McKissick explained that his style change was indeed something that was “doctor ordered.”
“Being a preacher, I will also say that it was also God ordained,” he said. “It is just wise. If I push too hard, I could lose my voice forever. I think I have got too much left to say.”
McKissick contended that his new style will bring a “new season” to his millennial-heavy church.
“You know, millenials don’t like to be yelled at anyway. They want to be talked to,” he told WJXT. “Because we are really a millennial church, I think it suits who we are.”
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