CTX man becomes pastor after being released from federal prison

Posted at 5:40 PM, Sep 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-17 18:56:12-04

Having a prison record can often ruin a person's chances at a bright future, but one Central Texan is using his troubled past to help future generations.

Gabriel Dominguez is the pastor at Life Church Waco, a fairly new church that's dedicated to connecting people to God in nontraditional ways.

"There's no dress code, you just wear what you're comfortable in," said Dominguez. "I go up there in a hat and t-shirt."

Dominguez said Life Church Waco is a safe space for people just like him, those who have a troubled past or don't fit the common mold. Dominguez was on the wrong side of the law from a young age. He was involved with gangs, dealing drugs and trafficking weapons.

"I felt like God showed me that we have to connect to those people, we have to reach out to them," said Dominguez. "I didn't have anybody who reached out to me."

His bad decisions landed him on Waco's Most Wanted list and ultimately federal prison at age 23.

"I was a part of a community that hurt others but now I'm a part of a community that wants to help other people," said Dominguez.

Shortly after he got out, Dominguez reached out to the senior pastor of First United Methodist Church Waco, who helped him find faith and a new purpose in life.

"I was not like them, they were not like me but they wanted to reach people just like me, said Dominguez. "So I said 'I'll help you' and we got to a point where they said 'well Gabe, we're actually talking about you doing it.'" 

Through the Texas Methodist Foundation, Dominguez was given the opportunity to stand in front of his own congregation, showing others that your mistakes don't define you.

"You're in poverty? Yea. You're a fat boy? Yea. You're an ex-prisoner? Yea. God can use you. That's the best feeling in the world to say. I love to be a part of things that help other people," said Dominguez.

Dominguez has been sober for 20 years and has held down a stable job for last 10 after finding hope in a house of worship. 

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