Dr. David Kenneth Lewis (’73), former assistant professor of Bible and director of Abilene Christian University’s Center for Adolescent Studies, died July 10, 2015, in Grapevine at age 66.
A memorial celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 13, at Lake Highlands Church (9919 McCree Road, Dallas, Texas 75238).
He was born Nov. 23, 1948, in Nashville, Tenn., and graduated from Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, Ind. He married Pam Perry, on April 23, 1970, in Fort Worth.
Lewis earned two degrees from ACU – a bachelor’s in Bible and communication in 1973 and master’s in communication in 1975 – and a doctorate in marriage and family studies from Texas Tech University in 1987.
He joined ACU’s faculty as a part-time instructor of speech in 1977 and became associate professor in Fall 1985. Lewis left ACU in 1996 to re-enter full-time ministry, and has been an executive, business and life coach in Keller, Texas, since 2010. He was adjunct professor of psychology at The University of Texas at Dallas from 1999-2004 and also taught at The King’s University at Gateway Church.
A leading Christian authority on adolescent psychopathology, he originated the concept of huddle groups for mentoring young people in churches, and helped build ACU’s nationally renowned youth and family ministry program. His ministry career spanned 35 years.
Lewis directed ACU’s Center for Adolescent Studies and its annual Youth and Family Ministry Conference. He helped lead groundbreaking research to measure the influence of electronic media upon adolescent spirituality, with findings presented at a 1996 ACU conference keynoted by New York Post chief film critic and best-selling author Michael Medved.
“I stand on his shoulders and give him all the credit for leading not only the growth of a youth and family ministry program at ACU but influencing the development of those at other Christian universities,” said Robert Oglesby Jr. (’81), director of ACU’s Center for Youth and Family Ministry. “He was a great one and will be missed by all of us who believe in the importance of youth and family ministries in our churches. We wouldn’t be where we are today without his leadership and the scholarship he helped introduce in this field.”
He spoke at many conferences and workshops, wrote numerous scholarly articles and co-authored three books – Dying to Tell: The Hidden Meaning of Adolescent Substance Abuse; Shattering the Silence: Telling the Church the Truth About Kids and Their Sexuality; and The Gospel According to Generation X.
Lewis also served in youth and family ministry at Abilene’s Highland Church of Christ and South 11th and Willis Church of Christ, Lake Highlands Church in Dallas and Cross Timbers Community Church in Keller.
While in Abilene, he was a marriage and family therapist at Cunningham and Associates, a therapist and director of religious life for Woods Psychiatric Institute, chair of the Abilene Educational Force on Substance Use, a consultant and teacher for the Abilene ISD, and in private practice as a marriage and family therapist for 13 years.
He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Louise Truell Lewis. Among survivors are Pamela, his wife of 45 years; sons Christopher Lewis, David “Israel” Lewis (’93) and his wife Leslie (Mabry ’93) Lewis, and Jeremy Lewis (’98) and his wife Randie; a brother, Bobby Lewis; a sister, Billy Patton; and two grandchildren, David Caleb Lewis and John Carter Lewis.
In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to Help in David’s Healing Journey at GiveForward.com or online to ACU’s Center for Adolescent Studies (or mailed to Gift Records, ACU Box 29132, Abilene, Texas 79699-9132).