Pastor John Gray Talks About His Experience As The First African-American Preacher At Joel Osteen’s Church

By Victor Ochieng

While appearing on Oprah Winfrey’s “Super Soul Sunday” show, Pastor John Gray talked about what it was like for him being the first ever African-American to be an ordained pastor at Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Texas. It’s definitely something to talk about since the congregation happens to be the largest in the United States.

“So you’re the first black pastor at Lakewood church,” Winfrey said to Gray during the show on Sunday on her OWN Network. “What does that mean to you that one of the most influential religious leaders of our time certainly in the united states shares that platform with you?”

Gray described the opportunity to preach at the church’s weekly Wednesday service as a great honor.

“I don’t even know how to describe it,” said Gray about his position on the Wednesday service that grew from 2,500 people to 9,000 in attendance per week. “But to be the first African American to literally be on staff and just to weekly speak into the life of the church is a high honor.”

Gray then went on to talk about the things he and Osteen share in their relationship as well as how they embrace their differences and similarities for the glory of God.

“I’m this fiery loud kind of boisterous guy and he’s the sweetest guy in the whole world. If he’s in ‘Friday the 13th‘ he’d still be this guy,” Gray said before mimicking Osteen’s soft spoken southern accent. “‘Jason, don’t stab people, you’re supposed to love people.’ The reason why we connected is because we have different expressions but the same heart.”

The church has evidently been successful and Gray believes that’s so because of the church leadership’s inclusiveness.

“He casts a wide net of hope. Anybody is allowed to walk in that church and find hope and life,” he said. “Every single person that we will ever encounter was created by the same God. I believe that. And everybody has inherent value. And so we were able to connect.”

The pastor is very happy that people keep coming every Wednesday for the service and he attributes that to his authenticity.

“In Houston with traffic Oprah, you can’t even stay saved in the traffic. You have to come to church after all the cussin you do on the highway,” the comedic pastor joked. “You know for 9,000 to come, I believe it’s because they know my heart is pure and I’m authentic in what I share. I believe what I speak.”

Gray has been quite successful in the ministry and it must be his dedication to sharing the gospel that saw Osteen rope him into his church.

The comedic pastor on Saturday had his docu-series called “The Book of John Gray” launched on OWN Network. It premiered on April 15 and is shown on Saturdays as from 10 p.m. ET.

A description of the show states in part, “The Book of John Gray is a dramedy docu-follow hybrid about the life of John Gray and his uniquely humorous way of helping people. John, who is an associate pastor at Houston’s Lakewood Church under Pastor Joel Osteen, is just beginning to achieve success.”