I first met David Worley in September of 2002. My wife Juli and I had just moved to Austin so that I could attend Austin Graduate School of Theology. After placing membership at Brentwood Oaks Church of Christ, Juli and I attended a welcome meeting for new members in the chapel on a Wednesday evening. David Worley was the “shepherd of the month”, so he sat down with us and another new member to share Brentwood’s story and to answer any questions that we might have. I don’t remember much of what he said that evening, but I do remember coming away aware that David had a strong Christian faith and that he was passionate about the church.
A year later, after Brentwood’s youth minister left, Juli and I were approached by the BOCC elders about the possibility of filling in on an interim basis. David was the first elder to speak with us about this possibility, and after we initially turned it down, David and Rayford Walker met with us again and convinced us to give it a shot. In truth, I didn’t feel prepared to take on the responsibility, but David and Rayford reassured us that God often calls those who least expect it. He even quoted Robbie Burns, “And would some power give us the gift, to see ourselves as others see us! It would from many a blunder free us.”
My part-time interim position with Brentwood eventually evolved into a full-time role and I was blessed to serve as youth minister for seven years. Throughout that time, I met with David and Rayford numerous times, often at David’s office, otherwise known as Texspresso. I sometimes would receive one line, or even one word emails from David while he was traveling in such far-flung places as Asia and Russia. I had to work to decipher the exact meaning of these enigmatic messages, but I usually figured it out before too long. In our elder’s/minister’s meetings, David was always a calming presence. He was quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. So, whenever he did speak, it was always worth a listen. Over a decade ago, when our youth center was badly in need of a remodel, David was instrumental in making sure that it got done.
David was in fact instrumental in numerous good works around the world – too many to count – too many to mention. In 2011, while Juli, Ashlyn, and I were living in Dublin, Ireland, I received an email from him with one simple question. “What’s your address?”. I figured, if he’s not in Ireland already, he will be soon. Sure enough, a few days later, a taxi dropped David to our door. He didn’t stay long, only a couple of hours, but those two hours were an encouragement to me and my family. David had taken time out of a business trip to London to pop over to Dublin to encourage and exhort us to remain faithful in our work. I was always confident that David was faithful in supporting us and our work through prayer to the Father.
When we returned home from Dublin in the summer of 2015, it was disappointing to discover that David was battling cancer. We only saw him a couple of times after that, but he remained in our prayers until the end. Just a few weeks ago, I learned that one of my cousins has cancer. I emailed David and he graciously emailed me back with some helpful information. To the very end, he showed care and concern for others. David will be missed, but his legacy lives on. And we can all look forward to seeing him again in the age to come. – Shay