Pastor Kyle Lake Electrocuted During Baptism Service

October 31, 2005 by

The news is spreading pretty quickly, both in the blog world and in the news, but in case you haven’t heard pastor and author Kyle Lake was electrocuted while performing a baptism service yesterday and died. 33-year-old Lake reached for a microphone while standing in the water. Lake was a pastor at University Baptist Church in Waco, Texas and is survived by his wife and three children.

I didn’t know Lake personally, but I did read one of his two books, Understanding God’s Will (the other, (Re)understanding Prayer, came out earlier this month), and I loved his personal style. He brought a new understanding to that murky concept of God’s will, which becomes even murkier in light of his death.

I’ll be the first to admit that talking about church marketing and death in the same entry seems like a pretty dicey move. But as I think about it, that means our concept of church marketing sucks. Marketing is all about how you communicate, and I can’t think of a time when how you communciate is more important than during a tragedy.

How we grieve is important. Where and if and how we find hope in the midst of loss is important. How we care for the family and those affected by tragedy is important.

God’s will isn’t something I claim to understand (even after reading Lake’s book, which is part of the point), especially on hearing the news of a pastor being electrocuted during a baptism service in front of 800 people. But I do know that when tragedy strikes the one place that is able to deal with it is the church. Not that the church is good at dealing with tragedy, or prepared or well-equipped. I just mean that we have a community built on hope and love, and if you must go through a tragedy, you’re going to need as much hope and love as you can get.

Our prayers are with the Lake family and University Baptist Church.

Update: Christianity Today posted a reprint from Understanding God’s Will, based on Romans 8:28.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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5 Responses to “Pastor Kyle Lake Electrocuted During Baptism Service”

  • Justin Broome
    October 31, 2005

    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
    I have a hard time figuring out how God uses things for the good in and around my life, let alone in others lives. Regardless, I truly believe that God uses all things for the greater good of those who love Him. Usually, that’s not the same as the “immediate good” or “this is what I think is good” but God’s perspective on life is infinitely better than mine, and I trust that He knows what He’s doing.
    Faith isn’t believing God can do something
    Faith isn’t believing God will do something.
    Faith is believing God is doing something.
    ~ Brad Powell

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  • Shawn Raloff
    October 31, 2005

    The way I see it – he is where I would like to be – I am jealous.
    May God be glorified in this tragedy and His graces pour freely on the family and friends.
    And through it all, I pray that people come to faith in Christ – that is what we are marketing after all…

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  • Robert Tilton
    November 19, 2005

    Right on, Shawn! I wish ALL Christians were dead too. If only you were God.

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  • Tony Dean
    November 29, 2005

    I don’t wish to be rude or insensitive – and my sincere condolences to Pastor Lake’s family – but one should question the wisdom of anyone who would stand half submerged in a tank of water with an electrical device in hand and then challenge the Father to “surprise” him.
    Perhaps God’s will in this instance was to remind people how dangerous it can be to behave stupidly.

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  • Jim V
    October 2, 2006

    Pastor Lake’s family is suing the contractor & manufacturer of the baptistry. Apparently the water heater developed a break in the electrical insulation, causing the water to become electrically hot. When he grabbed the grounded microphone, the circuit was completed and the pastor was electrocuted.
    This is a good arguement for the use of isolation transformers or natural gas water heaters.

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