Friday, 03 April 2015 18:42

David Lewis Chief Executive Officer, Prattville YMCA

Written by  Staff
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RRJ: A few years ago you made a major career change. Can you tell us about that?

Yes.  It was something totally unexpected, but God called me to it.  In 2012 I joined the staff of the Prattville YMCA.  Prior to that time, I spent 18 years in banking, most recently working with River Bank & Trust as a Senior Vice President and Relationship Manager.  As a banker, I found myself with a lot of opportunities to be involved in the community, which led me in 2006 to join the Board of Management of the Prattville YMCA.  In 2012, while I was serving as the Board’s Chairman, our CEO, Willis Bradford, decided to retire after nearly 50 years of service.  While leading a committee to vet a replacement, the committee met while I was out of town and decided I was the one who needed to take the job as the Y CEO. Needless to say, I was speechless, based on the fact that I had a great job and felt like I was right where I needed and wanted to be. God began to work on me almost immediately, and used a good number of folks to help show me where he wanted me.  The icing on the cake for my decision was a message I read one day on the marquee at The Fountain of Grace Church which read:  “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”   

 

 

RRJ: Has working for the Prattville YMCA been very different compared to your role with the bank?

 

Not really, which was quite surprising to me.  As I mentioned already, both believe in the community.  While they are vastly different environments and have different goals, both center on being able to build relationships, solve problems, and work with people to help them be successful.

 

 

RRJ: You’re originally from Selma.  How did growing up in a close-knit community effect your Christian faith?

 

I am really proud to have grown up in Selma. Everyone knew who you were, and you had lots of eyes watching you.  I can remember several times having done something wrong and the news beating me home in the afternoon.  My parents were great examples for me and my sister and made sure our family was extremely involved at First Baptist Church.  Growing up in the church, I encountered many great men and women who were committed Christians and genuinely cared about our town.  Those great Sunday School teachers, coaches, Scout leaders and youth leaders were crucial as they helped lay a spiritual foundation that I have continued to draw from through the joys and struggles of life.

 

 

RRJ: How is your faith in Christ encouraged now as an adult living in Prattville?

 

I have been fortunate to be part of a great church family here at First Methodist Church.  My wife and I got involved in a Sunday School class and met some great people who have shared their wisdom and lives with us.  We have also been able to get involved with our children in church as well, which has been a great blessing.  It is my hope that we can give them the same gift we were given... a solid Christian foundation and relationship with Jesus that will be with them for their entire lives.  That is something that Stacey and I both are committed to, and feel is most important. 

 

The YMCA has really helped me spiritually as well.  Through my involvement on the board and now professionally, I have had the great privilege to get to know a lot of strong Christian leaders in Prattville and to be able to look to them as mentors.  Another way my faith has been encouraged through the YMCA has been through our Men’s Fellowship Breakfast that we started shortly after I came to the Y.  Each month, we have men from various churches who all gather together to be encouraged and challenged in our faith.  It has been a true blessing to be able to hear speakers who have struggles just like me and are saved by grace just like me.

 

 

RRJ: Of course YMCA stands for Young Men’s Christian Association, but that doesn’t necessarily mean living consistently for God’s glory is easier in your position.  Living out your faith beyond the church walls takes intentionality and the Holy Spirit’s power.  How is your Christian faith revealed in your work?

 

Yes, the YMCA does stand for Young Men’s Christian Association, and the “C” is very important here in Prattville.  Our mission statement is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.  At the same time, we are an organization that loves and welcomes everybody, just as Christ showed us through his actions.

 

Your statement about intentionality is exactly right. I believe the devil takes great pleasure in the mediocrity of faith shown by us as Christians, and I have given him plenty of pleasure in my life.  But I draw great encouragement from the fact that more times than not, God didn’t choose to use the most polished person to reveal his glory. I am thankful for God’s grace that allows me to dust off after I fall and encourages me to get up and try again.  I strive to be an authentic person, honest about my faults and quick to ask for forgiveness.  Thankfully, my faith is also inspired by a group of fellow YMCA staff members who are great examples of living out their faith every day.

 

 

RRJ: Finally, I know you’re excited about the new “Field of Dreams” ADA accessible baseball field at the Bradford YMCA.  How did that project come together?

 

Being a part of the group working on the Field of Dreams has been a truly unbelievable experience.  Four years ago I joined Ginger Henry (A Y board member and CEO of Prattville Baptist Hospital), Jeffrey Keith (former Y staff member) and Mr. Bradford to discuss the possibility of an ADA accessible field for Prattville.  Their vision resulted in a community-wide team effort that involved many incredible people. It was so encouraging to see everyone come together to work for something that has the potential to add joy to the lives of a lot of families we have not had the privilege to serve in the past.   We had multiple roadblocks along the way, but God was faithful and I can’t wait to see the first young person step up to bat on April 18th.

 

 

David, thank you for sharing your how your “Faith is @ Work.” It’s clear you love what you do and that God is using you, where he’s placed you, to be a blessing to others for his glory.

 

 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 23 April 2015 18:49
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