David Gibbs, pastor of GCI’s Birmingham, England church and his wife, Alberta, attended the same school as they grew up. David was a year ahead and in the same class as Alberta’s sister. But Alberta won his heart and in November 2011 they celebrated their 25th anniversary.
David and Alberta have a passion for children. Not only do they have two children, Sarah and Michael, but also for the past five years, they have served as Foster Carers (Parents) looking after very young children until the children are adopted or go back to their birth parents. They’ve had their share of tragedies along the way. “Some of the hardest times in our lives were suffering four miscarriages, two before Sarah was born, and two more before Michael.”
Though both of David’s parents are Jamaican, David was born and raised in the same town he now serves as pastor. Still, his Jamaican heritage was a major influence in his life, often encouraged by his grandparents. “One of my rich experiences growing up was having my paternal grandparents live with us for many years.”
David did well in school, but preferred sports to study. He did well enough to go through college and to this day David still loves to learn. And he has always enjoyed reading.
David’s family started attending WCG when he was about 13 years old. The family had attended a Baptist church and several Pentecostal churches. “Then my Dad started to search and was given some WCG booklets to read, and the rest is history some 37 years later.” David considers his WCG background as a teenager a major influence in his life. “Through my church experience, I have had the opportunity to travel and attend Ambassador College, making friends from all around the world.”
David was ordained shortly after GCI’s doctrinal changes took place. “Because of my college experience, natural leadership abilities and support of the congregation I was ordained an elder. Now I serve as one of three members of the pastoral council.” David is thankful for this council. For many years he carried the responsibility for the congregation pretty much alone. “I am grateful that we now have a council to look after our local church affairs.”
When asked what he enjoys most about being a pastor, David said, “I enjoy helping people. I enjoy preaching. I enjoy good fellowship—mutually encouraging each other with the good news. I enjoy the privilege of people opening their heart to you, and not just within my own congregation.”
David loves being a part of GCI. He has served on the UK board of trustees for a period of time and he loves “the connectedness of people all around the world.” Because of the years in Ambassador College, David and Alberta feel like the United States is their second home. And they love Africa. “We have a close affinity with Malawi especially since Alberta went on a mission project there in 2010 to teach in a school. My best friend was the person who encouraged her to go.”
Working on a gospel radio show was one of David’s most memorable experiences. “I was greatly encouraged by the comments of many listeners who stated what a difference it made. One person said that when I preach it is like my voice and the word blend together. It is so humbling that God has blessed me with so much and given me the opportunity to touch so many lives.” David was also nominated as pastor of the year because of his community work. “I didn’t win,” he adds.
David’s passion is that people know God. “As I draw older my view of a number of things has changed but my constant prayer remains that we will find favor with God and man. Everything we do is influenced by our faith and eagerness to see others do well, whether part of our church community or not, especially to have a relationship with Jesus.”
When asked when he feels closest to God, David said, “When I’m reminded of God’s great love for me and the whole of humanity, I’m encouraged. I mess up on a regular basis but I am forgiven. When I look at God’s people each week and realize that he has called me to pastor them and others outside of the flock, I am in awe and am grateful.”