10 Jun

Tribute to Bob Gass January 15, 1944 – June 5, 2019

“I want to get God’s Word into the hands of as many people as possible during my lifetime.”  (Bob Gass)

Our church family were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our good friend Robert Gass at midnight on 5th June following a long illness. He was 75. Robert was saved at the age of twelve under the ministry of Pastor McConnell and, remained lifelong friends with the pastor and our church at Whitewell. It was while attending Devon Parade church that Bob gave his life to Christ during a special service held by Pastor McConnell and Bob’s life changed in every way after that.

Pastor McConnell said this week “It’s hard to believe Robert has gone. He was a character and a great and lovely friend. At the mission where he came to know Christ I recall 33 people in total surrender their lives to Jesus that night, but who would have predicted that Robert would go on to become the spiritual giant he became.”

He preached his first sermon at just thirteen years old, and by the age of eighteen, Bob set off for the USA and, under the tutorship of Pastor Gordon Magee, he arrived in Houston Texas, in 1962 with two sermons, a briefcase, one suit of clothes and twenty-five cents in his pocket. It was here that Pastor Magee took him to his home and mentored and coached him in communication and preaching skills. He soon moved to Bangor, Maine to take over a church which grew to over 1200 families. In 1981 Bob changed course resigning as a pastor to travel across the US as a popular guest speaker and evangelist. Many times, he flew over to Belfast to preach at Whitewell, and we always benefited greatly from his ministry. One of his most profound statements was “ministry is not taught, it’s caught!”

If Bob’s ambition and vision were to put the Word of God into the hands of as many people as possible during his lifetime, then he certainly achieved it by bringing God’s love, hope and encouragement to millions through the writing of the popular daily devotional Word for today.

Launched in 1994, he wanted to give churches a tool that would help pastors disciple their members and keep them engaged with God’s Word daily. Today over 5000 churches each quarter use the devotional, with a reach of 1 million copies per quarter. The devotional is in print, on television, radio and digital platforms in places like Africa, Argentina, Cuba, China, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Nepal, and Russia and currently, influences over 83 million people each day.

Bob has also hosted many TV programmes including “The Breakfast Club” and has appeared on numerous other Christian TV networks, especially UCB.

Married to Debbie since 1991, Bob and Debbie have proved a great ministry team. For example, Bob and Debbie shared a deep passion for the orphans of Romania, and over the last 28 years, they built a transition home called the Village of Hope. Through their ministry, they have rescued over 5,000 children from the streets, the sex-trade, and sub-standard orphanages and placed them into loving homes.

Robert Gass has undoubtedly left a tremendous legacy and will be greatly missed by millions and especially by our church family at Whitewell. We would urge everyone to keep Debbie and the entire Gass family in your prayers at this time.