HOUSTON (KTRK) —
While weekend services at Houston’s Lakewood Church certainly draw a crowd, it is the Wednesday night worship that has been packing the old basketball arena every week.
Most are there to hear from charismatic preacher pastor John Gray. He recently announced via an Instagram post that he is moving to a church in another state –but that’s not the whole story.
In five years, pastor John Gray has made Wednesday nights at the megachurch appointment worshipping. While many who pack that service were heartbroken to hear he’s taking over a church in Greenville, South Carolina, he has good news for fans.
"We’re not leaving!" said Gray, associate pastor at Lakewood Church. "We’re still going to be at Lakewood for our mid-weeks and for the rest of the year and for the foreseeable future as the Lord with allow," he said.
After spending the past seven years traveling more than 300,000 miles a year, Gray says he plans to devote his ministry to just two locations — Lakewood in Houston and Redemption Church in Greenville, South Carolina.
it’s not the only big change. Gray, his wife and two young children are in their second season of a reality show on Oprah’s OWN network. The family shoots in Houston and this season, much of the focus is on recovering from Harvey.
"After everything we’ve been through in the country that’s been negative, it would take a storm like Harvey to rally us together and remind us of what really matters," said Gray’s wife, Aventer.
"For me, my prayer is that we remember those days right after Harvey when it didn’t matter who we voted for or who we loved or who we’re married to or what we looked like. It just mattered that there was need. We fought for one another, because that’s what this nation needs," Gray added.
Gray sees a larger lesson in his time at Lakewood.
"There is a very rare dynamic between pastor Joel and myself working in a very divided time," said Gray. "A white pastor and a black pastor making the body of Christ the example of how we should handle race relations, build bridges and how we continue to submit and serve together. I think that’s a very important lesson," he said.
Pastor John Gray worships Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. at Lakewood Church.