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Gray celebrates 40 years at Mt. Olive

Rev. Dr. Charles E. Gray

Gray celebrates 40 years at Mt. Olive
April 11
03:00 2019

Anniversaries are a great way to look back at memories you have collected over the years. For Rev. Dr. Charles E. Gray, his list of memories is extensive since he has been leading the congregation of Mt. Olive Baptist Church for the last 40 years.

To honor Gray for his service, a gala was held on Saturday, April 6, at the Anderson Center on the campus of Winston-Salem State University. The event featured special guests, singing and dance, as well as a comedian. Bishop Sheldon M. McCarter, senior pastor of Greater Church, delivered the sermon for the event.

Gray was humbled by the day’s events. Thinking back fondly on his 40 years at Mt. Olive, he is thankful for the congregation that continues to support him.

“I never dreamed that the Lord would lead me here for 40 years; this has been a real blessing,” said Gray.  “The only thing I can say is that God has blessed me with a flock that would follow instructions and carry out the vision that God gave me.

“If it wasn’t for the people, I don’t think I would have been able to last for 40 years. Even after my sickness and the amputation of both my legs, when I came back, I thought they would want me to retire, but they said ‘no, there is nothing wrong with your mouth,’ so I kept going.”

Over the years many people have come and gone from Mt. Olive, but Gray said they were there for a reason. “You can’t do this by yourself. God gives you things to do and you can’t do everything by yourself; you need hands, legs and people,” he said.  

Gray thanked his congregation for fighting with him through all his work in the church. He said they respected his leadership and knew he was a man of God and “fell in line.”

“If you stay somewhere for 40 years, you know God has to be in it, but I just credit my congregation for being the type of people that support me and carry out the things I ask them to do,” he said.

“I just want to give God the honor and the glory and I am looking forward to seeing my friends and my family,” he went on to say. “My wife stood by me and my son and granddaughter have been a great help to me.

For Gray, Saturday night was about celebrating the time the Lord has given him and appreciating the friends and family that came out to support him, he said. He said he anticipated shedding a tear or two during the event.

Throughout his time at Mt. Olive, Gray has made a large presence outside of Mt. Olive in the surrounding community. He said his goal was to impact the community as much as he did the church.

“When the Lord first called me to Mt. Olive, I said I was going to try to take the church outside the walls,” he said. “When I was coming along, it was about getting people saved and now it seems like the trend has changed.

“I admit the body of Christ needs to be taught the word of God, that’s good, but we seem to put more emphasis on training the body of Christ than we are on getting lost souls. What’s good in having a strong body of Christ, but people are dying and going to hell. We have all these different conferences, but I haven’t heard anybody having a soul-winning conference, so this is what we need to get back to, getting lost souls back to Christ.”

Gray said he has a goal of saving at least 12 souls every year. He feels if he can accomplish that, his labor is not in vain. “When I open the doors of the church on Sunday after I preach, even if the message has blessed the congregation, if nobody comes down to be saved, I don’t feel like I have accomplished anything,” he said.

Going forward, Gray says he will continue to lead Mt. Olive if his health keeps up and the congregation continues to want to hear his messages.

“When it gets to the point where the church is not moving or progressing, then I’ll think it’s time to say goodbye,” he said.  

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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