David Lee, church planter and pastor, dies

Mar 15, 2021

By Irene A. Harkleroad

David Lee, pastor of Silver Lake Family Fellowship near Show Low, died Feb. 14 due to COVID-19.

In 2015, at the age of 63, Lee planted Silver Lake Family Fellowship and served as a pastor for the first time. He had a vision for the lost and suffering of the community.

That community stood with him, providing materials and labor to renovate a former post office/country store into a house of worship.

“He poured everything he had into the church,” said Lee’s wife, Nancy. “He told me the last five years were the best years of his life because he got to be a preacher. It was a total love affair. We enjoyed the incredible interaction with our people, other pastors and their wives.”

Known as a kind, gentle, sensitive man who loved God, his church, and his family, Lee was a friend and mentor to many. Two people at his memorial service shared their gratitude for his faithfulness and dedication that resulted in their escape from addiction through the Celebrate Recovery program at the church.

“David had a great testimony of faith,” said close friend and constant encourager, Ken Elliott at the memorial service held on Feb. 27. Elliott is pastor of Linden Hills Family Fellowship near Show Low, where David was a deacon prior to leaving to start Silver Lake Family Fellowship. “The last text he sent me from his hospital bed was ‘Faith not Fear,’” Elliott said.

“God did an amazing work in and through David Lee,” said David Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention. “It was such a joy to see the way God called David and led him to plant the church in Silver Lake. It was a place that others might have forgotten or neglected, but not David! He had a heart for the people there and wanted them to know Jesus the way he knew Jesus. We have lost a great pastor and church planter.”

Keith Henry, retired AZSBC church ministries facilitator and a mentor and coach to Lee, called him one of the most faithful servants of the Lord he had the privilege to know.

Tommy Thomas, North American Mission Board church planting catalyst, shepherded David and Nancy through the planting and growing process. “We did everything he told us to do,” Nancy said. “He was always right!”

Lee retired from the U.S. Navy in 1990 after 20 years of service.

David and Nancy were married almost 50 years and are parents of three adult children: Patsy Adams, Jamie Jones and David A. Lee.

David A. Lee served as youth pastor and associate pastor at Silver Lake Family Fellowship, sharing preaching responsibilities with his father. On Feb. 28, the church voted to call him to fill his father’s pulpit as senior pastor.

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