Greg McGill walks into the front door of the Trophy Club Starbucks and the baristas and even some of the customers all look up and say, “Hey, Flash!” He loves his nickname so much, he even wears a watch with the superhero’s signature red and yellow logo stamped onto the watch face. And on his Gateway Church nametag, which he wears when he volunteers as a greeter at the Southlake Campus, it says “Flash.”
One of the rules of nicknames is that you can’t just make one up for yourself—someone has to give it to you. He got his years ago while working as a server at the Vaquero Country Club. The wife of a famous person (if we wrote his name, you would know it) asked for some mustard. When he returned with the condiment, she pointed out that she didn’t like how long it had taken him to return, and she jokingly gave him the nickname “Flash.” And being an extremely positive person, he embraced the name and it stuck.
It isn’t a surprise to find out that Flash has worked in some of the finest country clubs in the area for the last 25 years. It’s like he has a commitment to service ingrained in him. In fact, anytime someone approaches the door at the Trophy Club Starbucks, he pops up from his seat and opens it for them with a smile. That’s exactly how he treats his volunteer duties at Gateway. Nobody gets past him without a genuine smile and sometimes even a good joke.
However, you might be surprised to know that he has just come off the most difficult decade of his life. Within two years, he lost his mother, father, and then his wife, Shay, who died of breast cancer in 2008. The losses were devastating, and though Flash tried to stay upbeat, he lost his way.
“I didn’t know it at the time but before my wife died, I was a part-time Christian,” he says. “Our church was in Richardson, and we lived in Trophy Club, so I stopped going as often.” His drinking, however, increased quite a bit, and before long he had a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) conviction on his record. It wasn’t the wake-up call he needed, and he soon had a second conviction. By then, he had made friends with the staff in the DWI court, including the judge. In typical Flash fashion, he made occasional visits to the courtroom just to say hello and brighten the place up with his positive attitude. So when the third DWI conviction came around, when most people would get substantial prison time, the judge gave Flash a break with a harsh probation, saying, “You’ve lived 60 years without anything on your record. Up until then you were perfect.” That was actually the wake-up call he needed.
“I fell on my knees and cried out to God,” he says. “When I look back now at where I came from, God brought me out of that situation.”
Flash began attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and continued working at the country club. On a Sunday afternoon, one of the country club members came in singing the lyrics to “Great I Am.” He asked him about the song and he invited him to come to Gateway. But he was reluctant. He said, “I can’t go to church because I work at 10:00 am.” But when he learned there was a 9:00 am service, he was out of excuses. On his first Sunday back in church—his first time to visit Gateway—Kari Jobe was leading worship and he was blown away by the worship experience and then Pastor Robert’s message. He decided right away to make Gateway his new church home.
After attending for a while, the same member who invited him told him he would be a perfect greeter. Flash looked into it and went to the Guest Experience training. Of course, he was a natural. “The more I got involved, the more people I got to see,” he says. “I love people and I believe God uses me to reach them.” Now Flash has been sober for three years and gives everyone who walks through the doors of his campus a world-class experience. “I am totally committed to my faith,” he says. “I used to talk to God but I wasn’t listening. Now I have my ears open.”
To join a Serve team, visit serve.gatewaypeople.com.