Pastor John Gray’s Relentless Church gave away thousands upon thousands of dollars to members, volunteers, and visitors this Christmas season and plan to continue their giving into the new year.
Gray, a former pastor at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, announced the gifts during the Sunday service before Christmas.
Among the gifts — most of them monetary contributions to help relieve families' financial burdens — Gray promised that Relentless Church would give $10,000 to a family in which both parents recently found themselves jobless with over $6,000 in bills to pay and expecting another child.
Another gift announced by Gray and his wife, Aventer, was a vow that the church would pay rent for an entire year to benefit a churchgoer named Rashad. The Grays also promised to take Rashad to a car dealership after the turn of the year to help him purchase a car. A video of the service shows the churchgoer falling face down to the ground in tears after hearing the news.
“There is an individual who serves faithfully. He is here all the time. I didn’t know until just recently that he didn’t have a place to stay or a vehicle to drive,” Aventer Gray said of Rashad. “But he is always here and he is always serving, and he is always faithful.”
The Grays also announced a gift of $3,000 to one church volunteer who faithfully assists the Relentless worship team. The volunteer recently earned her master’s degree.
“Every time I come to worship rehearsal or preparation, you are there serving, always kind, unbelievable kindness and smile, sweet wonderful spirit,” John Gray said. “We want to bless you and let you know that we are just going to sow $3,000 into you just to let you know that we appreciate you.”
“Is it alright if we sow into our own?” Gray asked the congregation which applauded in approval.
The Grays also vowed to pay the utility bill of a frequent visitor to the church named Sandra. The women, they said, faced an imminent threat of her power being cut off at home.
“Relentless is going to pay your power bill so you can have lights for Christmas,” Aventer Gray said.
The Grays also said the church would help the family of a church security guard who lost all of their possessions in a fire. Additionally, the family is facing heavy medical bills due to multiple heart surgeries. The Grays said the church would pay $2,200 for their medical bills.
“I don’t care how good your insurance is, there is always extra bills,” John Gray said.
The Grays also said the church would help another church member who was involved in a motorcycle accident pay for his medical bills.
Similarly, the Grays said the church would also be helping a member facing eviction and car repossession to get caught up on her bills.
Not all the gifts handed out by Relentless Church were publicized. A spokesperson for Gray told The Greenville News that the gifts totaled $30,000.
As the newspaper notes, the gifts are not the first acts of generosity by Relentless Church. Gray once invited members in need to take money directly from donation baskets. The church also supports a homeless ministry.
The gifts come as Gray recently announced plans to move Relentless Church to another location in Greenville and open a new campus in Atlanta, following reports that the church's lease was being terminated by the building’s owners, pastors Ron and Hope Carpenter.
The Carpenters passed the reigns of Redemption Church to the Grays who re-branded it as Relentless Church. The Carpenters moved to California in 2017 to lead another congregation.
The Carpenters have since accused John Gray of being a “shady man” who is “dishonest” and vowed to take back their church building.
Gray, who has served alongside pastors such as Osteen, the late Eddie Long and Jentezen Franklin throughout his career, defended his reputation when he addressed the accusations before his congregation in December.
“We served [those leaders] with honor and integrity and that should matter to you because God has not led me this far for my character to change,” Gray assured. “And if God can trust me with the largest platforms in this world from Singapore to Australia, to Brian Houston, to Royal Albert Hall in London, to every other place that God has trusted me from the time I said yes to Him at 13 and first preached at 21, then you can be assured that I didn’t come to Greenville to fail God.”