David Gray

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What does your job involve?

I have the greatest job in the world!  I have been called to help, serve, care for the entire Sterling family. In times of challenge, opportunity, crisis, sickness... I have the privilege of walking with folks in their everyday concerns and crisis.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Carmi, IL.  My father was a Baptist minister and we moved several times during my ‘growing-up’ years.  All of those years however, were confined to central and southern Illinois.  We always called  Mt. Vernon, IL as our home base since my grandparents lived in that area all during my growing up years.

How large is the family you grew up in?

Our family consisted of three girls (two older/one younger) and me...the only son. 

Where and How did you come to know Christ?

During the closing service of a revival in my father’s church, as a nine year old boy, I realized I was lost and needed a Savior...  I made my profession of faith in Christ that day and was baptized a few days later.  I had come under conviction about two weeks earlier in a ‘tent’ revival, where my father was preaching.  My family was very excited and had been praying for me for several weeks.

What was the first job you ever had?

My first “paying” job was while in high school as a carry-out boy in a local grocery store.  I was introduced to work and gaining respect for others as well as how to serve and meet the needs of customers.

Where did you go to college?

I was a wandering  student... overall, I attended about 7 different colleges due to family and re-location challenges.  I finally settled down and graduated from Dallas Baptist College in Dallas, TX.  I then continued on to Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (and graduated), in Ft. Worth, TX.  During some of my college experiences, I was privileged to pastor some greatest, loving and caring church families I have ever known.

 Who did you marry – kids?

My wife, Rosemary, and I have been married for over 20 years and have four children, three sons and one daughter; fifteen grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.  A beautiful and loving family.  All of our children are involved in some phase of ministry  and the ‘grands’ are moving in that direction as they grow.

How did you get into the ministry?

I began my educational pursuits in the field of medicine, and had all my educational expenses covered by a Dr. Friend of our family.  Having grown up in the parsonage really thought I knew what I wanted.  Asked to ‘fill-in’, speak for my father’s minister friend, I agreed to help out.  (Told God I would become pastor if someone saved in the service... 10 year old girl was saved that morning !   How did this happen?   Shortly after that, I surrendered to the call of God on my life for ministry.

Have you ever done any long/short term missionary work?

Yes, as a matter of fact I have been privileged to do two such short term projects.  The first was an evangelism project in Alaska, 30 day project located in King Salmon & Anchorage  (two churches & 2 military installations).

The other project was a 30 day Church Planting project in Mindanao, Philippines.  Our team was permitted to establish almost 300 preaching points and possible church plants.  Very exciting!   

What other churches have you been privileged to serve?

I have been privileged to serve a total of 10 churches as Sr. Pastor and several others as interim pastor.  Of those ten were: 2 in Missouri;  2 in Kentucky  and 6 in my home state of Illinois.     

What has been a turning point in your life/ministry?

I have found real joy in serving in other areas of ministry other than ‘pastoral’ ministry.  I have served 2 Baptist Universities in fund raising ministry;  fund raising for 2 Baptist children’s homes;  Administrator of two social service agencies as well as consultant for church growth and financial development.  This opportunity served me to keep me in touch with the world “outside” the church.  Returned to the pastorate a better educated and more committed servant.

What do you like best about your job/ministry?

I truly enjoy seeing how Jesus can touch and transform lives, inside and outside the church.   I enjoy people and desire to see them fall more deeply in love with Jesus.  I love to walk with folks during times of crisis and  again, renewing their relationship with Christ and telling others of what Christ has done for them.

What has been your most memorable moment in ministry?

Several come to mind... perhaps three are at the top of my list:

  • Serving a church in a growing community and privileged to baptize 80+ persons a year for 5 years

  • Serving a church that had multiple and effective outreach ministries reaching about 100 people weekly

  • Serving a church family that had been told to give their church away... they said no, and have begun to grow into an exciting and faithful church where I serve today- “Exciting Sterling”!!!

  • Do you have favorite Bible verses or passages?

    Yes, Jeremiah 29:11-13; Philippians 4:4-9;  Psalms 92:12 and many more!

    What do you like to do in your free time?

    I enjoy playing golf with friends... working in my yard... fellowshipping with other pastors and friends... spending time with my lovely, talented and gifted artist wife

    If you were not a Sr. Pastor,  what would you be doing?

    Teaching, preaching somewhere, traveling outside USA to do evangelistic work, short term mission.