Reverend Elbert Willis was pastor of the Christian Center Church in Lafayette, Louisiana, and was a missionary to many nations across the world. Over the last 44 years of faithful ministry service, Pastor Willis authored 66 books which have been printed in numerous languages and spread to over 106 countries. His ministry currently has offices in Australia and Africa. He had sought to bring the Gospel to the nations even up to his last days. His most recent mission trip was in September 2008, in which he ministered to the people of Ukraine. Countless people across the world have been touched by his ministry and will one day walk the streets of gold with him.
|November 26, 2008, Reverend Willis passed away in Lafayette, LA with family at his side.
Please feel free to share your memories, thoughts, testimony or condolences.
I am sincerely sorry for your loss!
Thank you pastor Elbert from Ukrainian people for your ministry, faith, hope, for your books. Love and remember you!
I first met Bro. Willis when I was 8 years old. He came to our small Baptist Church to be our next minister. I’ll never forget the first time I saw the whole family walk in. Bro. Willis inspired me as a child. He was always faithful, inspiring and dedicated to the ministry. I grew up to marry his son, Barry who has many of his good qualities. Even though life brings hurts and divisions we worked it out. Father’s Day of 2008, God convicted me in Bro. Todd’s sermon on worship and forgiveness. I drove home alone and talked out loud to the Lord for strength and peace to go to Bro. Willis and tell him I forgive him. I physicaly felt God’s presence in the car and felt the peace and strength. I went after lunch and put my arms aroung his neck and said”I forgive you”. He was silent so I said it again and he said.”I forgive you too, let’s put all that behind us.” I said.”let’s start over”. From that day on we became friends once again and he always embraced me when I went to see him. He would say ,”when are you coming back again?. I’m so thankful God granted me the gift of forgiveness and I received it before it was too late. I had no clue what was coming. I already miss him and I am so sad that I wasted so much time. we had so many good time traveling on the road with him and having revivals at the church. The memories go on and on. I love you Bro. Willis and thank you for a wonderful son who is my husband and the father of my 4 children. Love, Gwen
To the Willis family, my deepest sympathy for you here. I know he would not want us to be sad because it’s a celebration. He’s where he’s always wanted to be. There are so many things I will miss about Pastor Willis. I got saved in the Center and learned so much. I will always remember what a true man of God he was and lessons learned.
“We will miss you Pastor Willis.
To the Willis family-we are so sorry for your loss and are praying for you all.”
Barry and family, I am very sorry for the loss of your father and grandfather. Although in the time we have known you I never had the pleasure of meeting your Dad, it does feel as though I know him. You have shared so many wonderful stories about your days back with your father and I could sense and also admired the dedication He had to the Lord and you had for him. I believe that a parent will leave their fingerprint on their children and you Barry are one of the most kind, gentle, and peaceful persons I have ever met. I know that was a great part of your Dad’s doing through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We are here for you for anything you might need. We Love you, Dennis, Cathy, Olivia and Audrey.
I will miss you! You are such a Godly example for your whole family. You gave and gave without ever expecting in return. I know the angels in heaven are rejoicing with you and you are walking the streets of gold! I love you so much.
I had the incredible opportunity to be impacted by Brother Willis in the following way~ At the age of 2, my parents divorced. It was a tearful day, I remember well, when my dad drove away on the Greyhound bus from Crestview Florida. Not sure of all the places he went, but I know that he landed in Lafayette, LA in the Bible College of the Christian Teaching Center with Bro Willis-around the late 70’s. It was there that my dad became spiritually mature under the leadership of Bro Willis. Two years later, my mom and I came to visit and mom and dad remarried-in Bro. Willis’ office. 30 years later, I remember going to church at the Teaching Center and playing the tambourine while my day praised and worshiped the Lord-what a great example for your children to recall. A couple of months ago, my grandmother came in to town from Florida and she wanted to go and visit Bro Willis-we went to church on Sunday and it was sweet. He remembered my dad- and grandmother. He has left such an impact on so many people. Thank you Bro Willis for your commitment to the Lord and His Will for your life- thank you to his entire family for being a vital part in all He did for the Lord.
My prayers go out to the family that God give you strength in the midst of these times.Bro.Willis reminded me of my father who passed when I was 8 years old,a man of strength he was. I am happy for him to be with Jesus but I will morn the loss of a General in God’s Army.Peace be with the Willis family.
My deepest sympathy to the Willis family.
Elbert was my spiritual Father in the Lord. I committed my life to the Lord in 1973 and received the Holy Spirit in his home and was in church and bible college every time the door was open. I never lost the foundations of the word of faith that this strong man of God taught me. Our private conversations were priceless. He was saved through and through.
His dedication to the truth and love for the Lord was bread into me as he sowed the Word with such passion. He was truly given over to the Lord and his life proved it, not just his words. In my trials over the past 30 years, it was Elbert’s teachings that made me victorious. I thank him that his teachings on faith in the unchanging Word of God brought my son back from death because I was taught to never give up because the Word is true.
I owe Brother Elbert so much. Jesus, give him a hug for me! God bless Elbert and his family and all those who have learned and will learn from his teachings in Jesus’ name Amen.
“I was deeply saddened at the news of Bro. Willis’ home-going, but I know he is rejoicing in the presence of our Lord. My heart-felt prayers go to all his family that the Comforter will minister to their hearts and give them the deep peace that comes from knowing God’s wonderful grace and the promise of our eternal home-gathering with Jesus.
Bro. Willis had a profound effect on my spiritual growth and I know that I would not be serving God today were it not for his teaching. I knew him well as a spiritual father, a gifted teacher, an insightful pastor with prophetic input for my spiritual life. He was the apostolic oversight for our time on the mission field in Europe. His teachings have always been an inspiration, his example of living by faith was a spring of encouragement, and his deep trust in God spurred those who knew him to greater heights of faith.
He will be sorely missed in this earth for all his efforts to spread the gospel but his impact will be ongoing in all the lives he touched in ministering the Word by preaching, teaching, cassettes, books and CD’s.
I am truly thankful that he touched my life in such a profound and lasting way.”
We have often said that we treasure the 5 years we spent at the Christian Center sitting under Bro Willis’ teachings. It has gotten us through a lot of hard times being able to trust God and not our circumstances. I know that I can speak for our whole extended family and our spouses (Paul, Brenda, Gary, Beverly, Barry, Susette, Brian, Corey, Bridget, Byron and Babette) that we are truly blessed because from Bro. Willis and his great staff and family, we got our foundation of faith. We look forward to our reunion in the sky one day! Our love to the entire Willis family. Thanks, Bro. Willis!
Our prayers and heartfelt condolence to our beloved family of Dr.Willis, I met Dr.Willis in the year 2000, my daughter and son-in-law helped with the translation of Dr. Willis books, He was my spiritual friend, when we as a family felt depressed he would sing in his own tunes “God can do it” which strengthened our faith in the Lord, His voice is still echoing and we are really going to miss him a lot as we listen to the cassettes our hearts cry out to the Lord and we are going to meet him again in heaven. His Books, teachings and preachings have spread in many villages and we came to hear about many miracles and change of attitude all over. We praise and thank God for his wonderful life and he was a living example to many of us in his faith healing. His stay in our campus can never be forgotten. We pray that the Lord strengthen you all to continue to do his ministry.
During 1972 my dad was given 3 months to live. My sister was invited to a prayer meeting to pray for my dad and she went. She kept going to these prayer meetings and eventually invited me. Needless to say my life was coming apart at the seams. Just divorced my husband and the thought of losing my dad was more than I could handle. Brother Willis was preaching on the fruit of the Spirit and it was amazing. Like a sponge I was taking it in and after the preaching I knew I did not have what he was talking about. He prayed with me afterwards and also prayed for my dad. Daddy lived four more years and had an encounter with God. When he went he was ready and we had peace. My life took a new path and I will always be thankful for God putting Brother Willis in my path. He taught my husband and I bought faith in God. Thank you God for sending your servant into my life because he made a difference for all eternity. Mother, Sister , Dad and my husband and children saved…One life makes a difference. In His Service, Joyce
In 1982 I had the privilege of hearing Rev. Elbert Willis minister in Denver, Colorado. His teaching had the ability to stretch people’s faith. Two years later at the age of 12, my family moved down to Lafayette, Louisiana and began attending the Christian Teaching Center. I was touched by his ministry at a young age and had the honor to work with him for many years. My years of service at “Fill the Gap Ministries” will always be cherished. His faith never wavered and he would stand with anyone, nothing was impossible. No matter what situation I found myself in, he was there to give me his valuable time and ALWAYS offer his unchanging and uncompromising advice. I will always look up to him for his commitment to “Fill the Gap”. His Ministry touched so many lives. Brother Willis was family to me and I will miss him greatly, he was a great pastor, evangelist, mentor and friend.
Brother Willis is proof that a daily walk with God is possible. A quote on his desk creates a unit of conviction every time I read it “You prove the importance of things in your life by the time you spend with them”
Our prayers go out for Mrs. Mary, Lynn and all the Willis Family. We have been under Pastor Willis’ wings since 1982. He always guided us to the right path of life. We will miss him but we know that God is glad his son is home with him..
God has blessed Fill The Gap Ministries because of Pastors uncompromising word of God.
We loved him & will miss him!
“My sincere condolences go out to the Willis family at the loss of Bro. Willis. He is special to me, as I am a “”fruit of his labor.”” I first heard and received the Word of God at the Charismatic Teaching Center in the mid-70s. His powerful teachings and the Holy Spirit produced a hunger for the Word of God that I had never before experienced. I can only imagine the joy he is in now, rejoicing with Jesus!
My thoughts and prayers are with all of the family during this time of loss.
Love, Joanne Mills”
“My heart is saddened by the passing of Brother Willis. He was (is) my spiritual father. I first met him when a teenage friend invited me to visit the Charismatic Teaching Center on West University in the early 70’s. I had only been Spirit-filled a few months, but when I heard Bro. Willis teach, I knew the Lord wanted me to be a part of that church.
Many Sunday mornings I stood with him by the coffee pot in the foyer and asked questions. He always took the time to answer, and backed his answers with scripture. Because of his ministry I grew strong in the word, and that strength has kept me firm in the faith.
There is not enough space and time to tell all that Bro. Willis means to me. I have great love and respect for him and for Ms. Mary. They were a powerful team, though many may not have realized how vital a part Ms. Mary has always played in his ministry. Over the years I have come to think of them as family.
I remember when Bro. Willis preached his mother’s funeral. He came back and told us what a great celebration of her “homecoming” he had been privileged to participate in. Now it’s our turn to celebrate his homecoming. He would not want us to cry though we’ve all shed tears in the last few days. He would want us to rejoice in the knowledge that he is dancing on the streets of gold, talking with Jesus, face to face, and enjoying the presence of friends and family who have gone on before. And he would want us to remember and carry on the message of faith he taught and lived until he closed his eyes for the last time on earth, and opened them again in heaven. I look forward to a reunion with him one day.
I send my love and prayers to you, Ms. Mary, Barry, Randy, and precious Lynn. Thank you for sharing Papa Willis with me. The fruit of his life lives on in people like me. With all my love.
We are so very thankful for the years that we spent under Bro. Willis. Because of the foundation laid in our lives through his teachings we have been able to hold steady during the good and the tough times. We greatly appreciate Bro. Willis and the dedication he had to the Lord. Our prayers go out to Mrs. Mary and all of the Willis family. He will be greatly missed here on earth but we know that he has had a glorious welcome in heaven.
John and Cheryl
“My prayers go out to the whole family. For if it was not for this one wonderful Godly man, I would not have lived a life with God like I have done for the last 25 years. Bro. Willis was the very first pastor I had ever heard preach the word of God and he just put more fuel in my heart and got the flame burning more. I have read almost every book he wrote, followed the words of God through what Bro. Willis had wrote about in his books. I can say today I am one very blessed woman and truly blessed to say without God I would not have lived the life I am living today.
To the family, you will all be in my prayers and I know you are all at peace knowing he is in the house of the Lord rejoicing and singing with him. You all have my deepest sympathy.
God bless, Jessie Matthieu Reyes”
We are so blessed to have been able to get to know Brother Willis in his last few years here on this Earth. God has his own unique way of bringing people together, allowing our paths to cross, for reasons sometimes we don’t understand, but later look back on and see and understand what we didn’t before. Kenneth had met Randy Willis over 15 years ago while living in Mississippi. Little did we know that I, Lynn, Kenneth’s wife, would become the nurse that is taking care of Randy’s brother, Lynn Willis, and mother, Mrs. Mary. And now we feel like we have become part of the family. We love all of you, Mrs. Mary, Randy, Barry, Lori, Angie, and of course Lynn, and Bret, Colin, Stormy, Cara, Ms. Ruth, and all the rest of the family. We will always be here for you, as Brother Willis looks down on us, and laughs. We will truly miss him.
“Our condolences to Mrs. Willis and her family in the graduation of Bro. Elbert. Bro. Willis came to minister to our young church in the early ’80’s and was always a blessing and challenged us in our faith. His life was a living testimony of a believer who disciplined his focus to serve the Lord Jesus faithfully. Our prayer is for the family and the church family to be comforted and for God’s wisdom for the days ahead. For the family: you are now in line for a new promise of God – that God will be to you the father of the fatherless and the husband of the husband-less. Receive our sympathy and prayer.
Bob & Sara Hauselman – Restoration Christian Church in Sellersburg, IN”
We send our heartfelt prayers to the Willis family. Brother Willis will always have a special place in our families hearts. In 1979 in Osgood, In. he had come to minister on healing and our daughter age 9 said she believed that God would heal her eyes and he ask at the end of service if those that wanted to receive healing from the Lord to come forward and she went up and he prayed for her and she received.Praise the Lord! I,m sure Brother Willis is rejoicing today and singing “I have decided to follow Jesus,no turning back.’ We will greatly miss him,but we are so thankful for his STRONG MESSAGE OF FAITH AND THE IMPORTANCE OF READING AND STUDYING THE WORD, but MOST OF ALL OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS. Thank you for sharing him with us all these years and may God give you great strength during this difficult time. We send our prayers and love to you all. In His Love, Ted & Janice Charles
My condolences to the Willis family. I had the pleasure of being his barber for many years. I enjoyed his conversations and vision he shared with me. Rev. Willis prepared himself and many others for that final journey. He touched so many people in a positive way and Rev. Willis thanks for being a friend. You will be sadly missed by me and my father. As you leave for your final journey our thoughts and prayers are with you.
God Bless You Rev. Willis
Our prayers and best thoughts are with you all. I am so sad that we could not attend today to show support for your family. We love you all and are thinking of you.
I had the privilege of being a part of the ministry team of Elbert Willis and the “Teaching Center” for a number of years. Bro. Willis was an inspiration to many to walk and live by faith. His ministry will continue through the thousands of books and tapes circulating around the world. My prayers are with Mary, and the rest of the family.
Ms. Mary, I will remember you in my prayers. Bro. Willis was such a blessing in my life. We sat under his teachings for many years and my faith was strengthened by his teachings, always based on the Word of God. He was so committed to serving God & wanted to tell the world which he did. I will always hold him dear to my heart. Mary, I have so many good memories of the CTC. Bro. Willis anointed 4 of my children at birth and they all looked up to him with love and respect. He will be missed and loved and always remembered fondly. God Bless You and Your Family.
“My first wife and I had attended the “”Christian Center Church”” in Lafayette with our daughter Connie for several years. Connie also attended the Christian school on site.
We moved away several years ago, but I have often thought of the “”Church”” the members as well as Rev. Willis and his family.
I am very sorry to hear of his passing, but I know that he is now with God.
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I know that God will give them strength in this time of sorrow.”
Pastor Willis’s life was to many an example of true commitment to the Lord. So many hearts were changed because of the message of the gospel he was so faithful to take throughout the world.
Personally, he will always remain the one who taught me salvation was a daily walk. That no matter what the circumstances were , God was present to meet the need. To believe with our heart who God really was, what he had accomplished for us, and what He expected us to believe Him for. In our society today it is hard to believe what any one says, but we were always reminded that God does not lie, what He says will come to pass.
Through Brother Willis I learned to forgive those who hurt me or were unkind or wrongfully accuse me. I also learned that it wasn’t the fact if I was right or wrong, good or bad that made me able to receive from God but it was what He had already accomplished that qualified me as acceptable to Him.
I remember when He came to town once a year we would stock up on his teaching tapes for the whole year. If he hadn’t sold them for such low costs we never wold have been able to buy them. Money was not his concern, getting the message out was his priority. I believe his rewards are great for the known and unknown lives he changed just by his bringing the Word of Our God to their ears.
I know he is rejoicing in the presence of Abba and all the beloved saints who have gone before him.
My heart goes out to you, His Family. We surely will miss his presence here. We pray for your strength and comfort of heart during this time of loss. May his lifes ministry and commitment continue bringing the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the ones remaining here .
In His Love , Nancy
My boys went to Christian Center Academy up until it closed. They learned so much and we were all sad to see it go. We just recently started going to church and the boys brought a friend with them. They really enjoyed Pastor Willis, the music and all that it offered. I was very proud of them, of all of us. We are all very saddened that he has passed away at such a early time in his life. We were and still are looking forward to continuing to “build a big, big church”. He was an inspiration to each of us and I appreciate the kindness that he showed to me and my family.