Youth pastor, father, suffers fatal heart attack while working out at local gym

The late Pastor Ryan Carlisle and his family in May 2019.
The late Pastor Ryan Carlisle and his family in May 2019. | Facebook

Ryan Carlisle, a beloved Texas youth pastor and father of two died suddenly last Thursday after suffering a heart attack while working out at a local gym. He was 38.

Carlisle, who also worked for the Longview ISD, served as the youth pastor at Longview Missionary Baptist Church, which announced his sudden passing via the church’s Facebook page last Thursday evening.

“With an extremely heavy heart and no words to express our grief, Ryan Carlisle, our Youth Pastor, passed away this afternoon while working out at the gym. There will be a prayer service this evening at 7 pm at the church. We encourage all our youth, their parents and our church family to attend. Please pray for Bridgit, Ava and Max and the entire Carlisle Family,” the church’s administrative secretary, Jalena Branch wrote.

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The Longview News-Journal said Carlisle went into cardiac arrest while working out at the Christus Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living.  He was rushed by ambulance to the Longview Regional Medical Center.

Rev. Nathan Rogers, lead pastor at Longview Missionary Baptist Church, told the News-Journal on Friday that Carlisle was an exemplary man.

“He was the kind of man all men should watch and learn from the example he set,” Rogers said.

“We could talk all-day about how great of a youth minister Ryan is and how much those kids mean to him, but he made masculinity come off as gentle and tender and that’s the biggest thing about his character that shined through especially with the younger men. They need that type of influence and he was that for them,” Rogers further explained to KETK.

Pastor Ryan Carlisle, 37, died suddenly on June 27, 2019.
Pastor Ryan Carlisle, 37, died suddenly on June 27, 2019. | Facebook

Even though Carlisle has only been serving as the youth minister at Longview Missionary Baptist Church since April, the impact of his work with the young people was evident in their reactions to his death.

 “For me he was like my father figure,” Brian Nino told KETK.

“I saw him as a guidance, I knew that I could talk to him about anything,” added Austin Ellsworth.

Josh McNamara the church’s children’s minister said Carlisle’s passing “was the worst news I have ever heard in my life. I’ve never lost a closer friend than Ryan.”

Cayla Mars, a member of Longview Missionary Baptist Church who is also a close friend of the Carlisle family revealed in a GoFundMe campaign that the youth pastor had no life insurance and funds are needed to cover funeral costs as well as assisting his wife, Bridgit, and children — daughter, Ava, 13, and son, Max, 9.

“The depth of this loss is unexplainable. The pain and anger has shaken our family. There is an immediate need for funeral funds. There is also a need for his family's financial support. Those are the facts and that is the only way I know to speak them. I promised my friend I would bear this portion of her burden for her. I am needing an army to rise up and help!” she revealed.

His funeral service is set for 2 p.m. Monday at Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview.

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