Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, John W. Gray III accepted Jesus Christ as Savior at age 7 at Bethel Baptist Church under the pastorate of Dr. Wayne Davis. The product of two musically gifted parents, John showed an early affinity for music and was directing the choir at seven-years-old.
After graduating from Withrow High School in 1991, John accepted an academic scholarship to The College of Wooster in Ohio, where he continued to pursue music and acting. His grandmother’s devastating illness during his sophomore year caused John to lose focus on his academics and he flunked out of school. John headed home to seek direction for his next move. He subsequently enrolled in The University of Cincinnati and became part of the traveling Gospel Choir. While home, John heeded the call to the preached ministry on his 21st birthday at Bethel Baptist Church and preached his first sermon that September. His life would never be the same.
Not long after accepting the call to preach the Gospel, John was asked to be a cast member in a touring stage play starring Grammy Award-winning artist Kirk Franklin and The Family. From there, God began to open doors that would allow John to serve God while utilizing the gifts of music, comedy and preaching.
After touring with Kirk Franklin, John’s heart led him to participate in a musical tour whose purpose was to eliminate racism and create equality in the Body of Christ. It was clear to John that God wanted him to be a bridge-builder and that comedy would be a gateway to bring the Body of Christ together.
In September 2000, John accepted his first Youth Pastor’s position at The First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey. It was while youth pastoring in New Jersey that John felt that he had found the call of God on his life: impact youth and young adults with the Word of God through music, comedy and preaching. To this day, John continues to defy description and labels by seamlessly integrating worship, laughter, preaching, exhortation and encouragement into one package.
John uses all the gifts God has given him to reach people with hope, healing, forgiveness and freedom found in Jesus Christ. He has directed, produced, co-produced award-winning films, released two musical albums, a comedy DVD and appeared on the hit TV shows, Sister, Sister and Tyler Perry’s The House of Payne.
As an in-demand speaker, John has traveled the world and shared the Gospel of the Kingdom in his unique way. God has taken John around the world to speak to youth, churches, conferences and camps to say one thing in many ways: Jesus Saves and He loves you with an everlasting love!
John was ordained an Elder at Northview Christian Church in Dothan, AL in March 2010. He currently serves as an Associate Pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas under the leadership of Pastor Joel Osteen.
John is quick to acknowledge that although he is grateful for the places God has taken him, nothing compares to the joy of his life—His wife of 5 years, Aventer, their son, John W. Gray IV and their daughter, Theory Aspyn-Sky Gray.