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Kyle Lake (June 12, 1972 – October 30, 2005) was pastor of University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, United States and an author and leader in the Emerging Church movement. Lake was killed in an accident while performing a baptism.
Jeffery Kyle Lake was born in Tyler, Texas to David and Shirley Lake. He attended Andy Woods Elementary and graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1990 where he was co-captain of the state runner-up Lee Soccer Team. On May 30, 1998, he married Jennifer Gornto of Clear Lake, Texas. Lake earned a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications and Religion from Baylor University in 1994 before receiving a Master of Divinity degree from George W. Truett Theological Seminary in 1997. Kyle was a member of the Lambda Tau chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity at Baylor University.
University Baptist Church
Kyle Lake was pastor of University Baptist Church, founded in 1995 by Chris Seay and Christian recording artist David Crowder. Crowder is also a main worship leader in the collegiate Passion movement.
Lake closed his sermons with the phrase "Love God, Embrace Beauty, and Live Life to the Fullest," a benediction that is still recited by the church at the end of every service.
Lake was known for his ability to reach out to younger audiences such as the college-age crowd. Many students said they were drawn to his ability to preach the gospel in a way young people could understand and easily relate to their own lives.
He was married, and the father of three children – a daughter named Avery, and twin boys, Jude and Sutton Lake.
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Lake was electrocuted on October 30, 2005 as he stepped into baptismal waters and reached out to adjust a microphone. The event corresponded with homecoming activities at nearby Baylor University and more than 800 people were present when the tragedy occurred. Several doctors in the congregation rushed to Lake when he collapsed, but efforts to revive him were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center around 11:30 a.m. The woman Lake was set to baptize was also rushed to the hospital, but she was not seriously injured and it is believed that she had not yet stepped into the water when the electrocution happened.
“At first, there was definitely confusion just because everyone was trying to figure out what was going on,” Ben Dudley, former community pastor at University Baptist, told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “Everyone just immediately started praying.”
At a remembrance attended by about 1,000 people that night at First Baptist Church Waco, Dudley told the UBC congregation that they would move forward as a church. “I don't know how, when, why, where or what's going to happen, but we will continue as a church in the community because that is what Kyle would have wanted.”
Lake was a big fan of the movies Garden State and Phone Booth, and did an annual sermon series called "God in the Movies." He was also fond of the band Coldplay. On the morning of his death, Lake intended on preaching on Garden State as part of his "God in the Movies" series.
In the spring of 2006, several Baylor University students and friends of Kyle created a short film based on his last sermon titled "Kyle's Film". David Crowder Band and Robbie Seay Band provided the music for the film, which features a montage of artistic images narrated to Lake's last sermon.
- The Kyle Lake Foundation
- UBC Waco
- "Kyle's Film"
- Footprints project: The Legacy of Kyle Lake
- Sermon Downloads
- BBC News Article
- Christianity Today Article
- Baylor Lariat Story
- Does Electrocution happen for a reason?
- Brian McLaren remembers Kyle Lake
- Leadership Blog interview with Kyle Lake
- Rebirth after tragedy: A congregation returns to University Baptist Church
- David Crowder Band interview: A Collision of Life and Death
- Baylor Lariat Story: "Students honor Lake with film"