Nearly four months after revealing that he got too involved with politics to the point where it was overshadowing his ministry, Pastor Greg Locke, the internet-famous leader of Global Vision Bible Church in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, announced that he scrubbed thousands of videos with billions of views from his Facebook page to minimize some of the “collateral damage” they caused.
“We took [down] thousands … of videos, took about three or four days, deleted every one of them,” Locke told his congregation in his Sunday message posted on Facebook. “All of them, all the rants. Not because what I said was wrong, but because when I became a man I put away childish things. And I've learned to say things better.”
Locke, who began sharing content on his Facebook page in 2015, became an overnight conservative star after he posted a video on Facebook on April 22, 2016, criticizing Target for its then-new policy of allowing men to enter women's bathrooms and dressing rooms. He is also well-known for his outspoken opposition to abortion and Planned Parenthood.
“I promise you, my word will be for Jesus, not for any candidate. It just won't. So some of you are going to [have to] get past, or at least if you're going to stick around, you're going to have to get past the notion that, because we're coming into an important year, that I'm about to amp things up,” he said.
“I am, but I'm not amping it up on politics. I'm not. I'll still spit in the face of Planned Parenthood and call out baby butchers. I'm not going to compromise to the alphabet community,” he added. “I'm [not] going to lay down the sword. I'm just going to be more meticulous and specialize at who we swing it at.”
Locke said even though in January he spoke at “The Reawaken America Tour,” a politically-themed rally accused of spreading conspiracy theories about vaccines and the 2020 presidential election, he was only there because he had made an earlier commitment to make an appearance.
“We only did that because I'm a man of my word. And we promised them that we would. But we still get so many people that want to interview me about my red-hot political statements,” Locke said. “They're like, ‘Oh, you know, we 'bout to go into 2024.’ And I tell them, I don't care. I don't care.”
Locke said his July 2 message was one of the most difficult he has ever delivered because, “for a guy like me, sometimes humility can feel like compromise because I'm a born fighter.”
For this new season, however, he is convinced he should be pursuing an agenda of “boldness with brokenness.”
“The new season is courage with conviction not courage for the sake of just saying something because I'm Greg Locke and I can get away with it,” he said.
He spoke extensively about his evolution as a preacher who has learned from his mistakes in ministry and teared up several times during his speech.
“I think I had to go through a lot of the politics, and I had to go through a lot of the celebrity Christianity nonsense in the green rooms. I still go to big conferences and all that, but I say all that to say this kind of circle the wagons and bring it to center point.
"I think all of that had to happen because if there is one thing that I think has destroyed the American Church ... [it's] the curse of Christian showmanship,” he continued. “Trying to promote ourselves to be something more than we are has become the detriment of American Christianity. So when we don't feel the Spirit, we manipulate people to feel the Spirit.”
In an interview with The Christian Post earlier this year to promote his film "Come Out in Jesus Name," Locke talked about how he was immersed in deliverance ministry "overnight." And in his recent message, he said the pivot he is making in his ministry is due to being delivered from ego, and misguided advice.
“Let's just be honest, OK? A man's personality can build things big just by virtue of who he is and how he says and frames up certain things,” he said.
“There have been momentary lapses in judgment of when meekness should have been the tool of ministry. But meanness got more amens," he chided his congregants.
"I know we have a lot of people that moved to our church because of my political stance, and I don't minimize that honor. I honor you for being a conservative and, you know, wanting God to turn this garbage around in this nation. I get it,” he continued. “But you do have to realize that those days are done. Deliverance changed the focus of who I am and all of that.”
He explained how God spoke about removing all of his content from 2015 to 2021 on Facebook while he was biking one day. He said he tried to negotiate with God to just move on and let the videos remain on the social platform but, “the Lord said, ‘You will not move forward until you do it.’”
“We've had to work backward to minimize some collateral damage. Not because we were wrong in our position. But because I was wrong in my disposition,” Locke told his congregation, adding that they were all “guilty by association.”
“We weren't wrong in being ticked off. We weren't wrong in the fact that we wanted our voices to be heard and our opinions and our convictions to matter. I think some of it turned egocentric when it became about one loud leader with a microphone rallying the troops in such a way that we developed an atmosphere of feeling more like a political rally when you came to church rather than a glory hub where the power and presence of the Holy Spirit would reside,” he said.
In addition to God talking to him about how he delivers his messages in his ministry, Locke also noted that he has been making connections with individuals who years ago he couldn’t imagine being in the same room with them. He also wants to speak to a larger audience, not just to the people who agree with him.
“Do I want America saved? Yeah, but I want Americans saved because Americans are the key to America. But I want Africa saved; I want Europe saved; I want the world — this is a global vision church, not a local vision church,” he said. “It doesn't minimize anything that I did or said. I thank God for that — for the Trump tour. Right? I thank God for all the trips to the White House. And who knows what the Lord will do. It'll just be a different context if He does it because that crowd needs deliverance.”