Our dear friend and brother Reverend David Gentiles was a pastor at Journey IFC from 2005 until his untimely passing in December, 2009. We remember his infectious laughter and his ready tears with equal fondness.
David grew up in Louisiana, then received his B.S. from Baylor University in 1972. He attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where he received his M.A. in Religious Education in 1975.
David served in many Baptist churches as Youth Minister, Minister of Evangelism, Singles Minister, and various "I'll handle that" roles in Waco, Texas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Bossier City, Louisiana, and Pearland, Texas. David then served both as a Special Education teacher in the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, and as Associate Pastor at Covenant Baptist Church San Antonio - the church where Friend-Of-Journey Gordon Atkinson, a.k.a. Real Live Preacher, was pastor.
David was then Minister of Youth at Hunter's Glen Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, from 1990 til 1993, and then was Minister of Youth at Riverbend Church of Austin, Texas, from 1993 until August of 2005.
In addition to his commitment to working with young people in their spiritual life, David was also passionate about reaching out to those in need. He participated in/led mission trips in ten countries and a dozen US cities.
He was the co-anchor of the ground-breaking "Faith in the Game" Radio broadcast on ESPN Radio/ Austin. He served as Chaplain for Rapha Treatment Centers and for the Collin County Crisis Pregnancy Center. He helped pioneer the OPTS program for the NISD in San Antonio, which sought to graduate high-risk, emotionally disturbed high school students by training and placing them in community employment situations in the San Antonio area.
David was the speaker/retreat leader for numerous youth retreats, camps, Disciple Now Weekends and youth events; co-anchored a radio show about faith and sports; was a Chaplain for treatment centers and crisis centers; led seminars and workshops on singles and youth ministries both on the state, national and associational levels. David was also an accomplished writer of Bible Study and Sunday School curriculum, and a gifted singer and worship leader (even though he didn't know it).
Because of his deep interest in the issues facing the 21st century church, David attended international conferences on postmodernity and emerging church ministries. He maintained friendships with people in many denominations, of all ages, in every kind of ministry. He was a shepherd for thousands of people in their spiritual journeys by sharing his depth of commitment to his faith and to serving others. And he was hilariously funny. And he cooked great gumbo.
We miss him and are grateful for his being a huge part of Journey's life.
If you want's to know more about David, here are some more thoughts :
- Eileen Flynn's story in the Austin-American Statesman
- Donald Miller on David's impact "The Best Sermon I Ever Heard"
- CNN.com piece about Donald Miller and David Gentiles