Gateway Church pastor speaks to congregation for the first time since brush with death

The founder and senior pastor at Gateway Church in Southlake is giving back with church members.

For the first time since he became gravely ill, Pastor Robert Morris returned to his congregation.

"When I passed out, my eyes were open and I stopped breathing for about 30 seconds.” Pastor Morris told the crowd. "I just knew when I was about to be airlifted in that helicopter I needed a lot of people praying."

Speaking only with FOX 4, Pastor Morris explained that two torn arteries caused his internal bleeding and at one point said goodbye to his wife and recorded a video to his children.

"When they told us that my blood pressure was too low to register and that they couldn't even feel my pulse that's when I thought ‘this could be the end’," he said.

The response from the public made headlines. Across its 6 campuses, Gateway Church held prayer services. Morris says messages poured in from people in 45 different countries.

“I think I'm alive today because of the medical help that I got and because of the prayers of God's people," said Morris.

After losing 50% of the blood in his body Morris wanted to give back. The church held it's first of six blood drives, one a week, at each of its campuses. Amy Gaston felt compelled to donate.

"There's been times when I've had surgery and you just kind of need it so in order to give back and do that for the community," said Gaston.

Among the first to give blood was Pastor Morris's wife Debbie.

"I could have lost Robert and without somebody else already giving blood he wouldn't have had what he needed so it's a good opportunity for me just to say thank you," she said.

"I believe if the church will be the church and really begin shining the light in our community I think we can change our nation and change the world," said Morris.

As per the doctor’s orders, Pastor Morris will take a break this summer to study and write. He’ll return to his regular preaching schedule in August.