WATCH: Pastor John Gray Leaving Lakewood Church to Take Over Ron Carpenter’s South Carolina Megachurch

Lakewood Church pastor, bestselling author, and television host John Gray will be taking over as pastor of Redemption Church in Greenville, South Carolina. Ron Carpenter, the megachurch’s founder and current pastor, made the announcement in a video this weekend.

Carpenter said he and his wife, Hope, will be moving to California to take over Jubilee Christian Center in San Jose, replacing the retiring pastor Dick Bernal. He will be gone from Redemption Church in May 2018, after a transition period with Gray which will begin in February 2018.

In his message, Carpenter said he had been considering the change for two years, but only wanted to turn his church over to someone he considered better than himself. He found that person in John Gray. Gray has preached at Redemption Church several times. He, his wife Aventer, and their children will be moving from Texas.


The pastor of Redemption Church in Greenville, Ron Carpenter Jr., said he will be stepping down in May.

“I don’t know any other life,” he said.

Pastor John Gray, a pastor at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Texas, was so excited to take over at Redemption that he practically rode a bicycle to come to Greenville, Carpenter said.

“The Gray family is going green,” Gray said in a video message.

Satellite Redemption campuses in Florence and Asheville will be closing in the near future and a satellite campus in Charlotte will continue but will separate from the Redemption group, which had seven locations including a branch in Puerto Rico as well as an online campus.

The name Redemption will also be leaving, to be replaced under Gray’s leadership.

Carpenter said he will be going to Jubilee Christian Center in San Jose, replacing the retiring pastor Dick Bernal.

“No one has ever unlocked Northern California before,” Carpenter said.

The three churches, spanning the country, coordinated the Sunday announcement.

Pastor John Gray

Gray will start the transition with a leadership conference in February, he will also be doing a New Year’s Eve service at the Greenville campus. He has preached at Redemption before and will be preaching at least once a month until he takes the lead.

It has been a great year financially for Redemption, said Carpenter, who added that he expects to leave more than $1 million from a recent expansion campaign for Gray.

In his sermon, Carpenter said he had been weighing a change for two years, not as a way to get out of Greenville but as a way to open himself and his family up for a new challenge. He used the biblical adage of using new wineskins for new wine, because old wineskins would burst.

Carpenter said he had talked to Bernal, the California pastor he’ll be replacing, and Bernal had hinted at retirement. But Carpenter said he would not have been willing to leave without someone greater than him taking over and he didn’t think he had a shot at the man he wanted, John Gray.

Carpenter said he expected to leave a phone message for the popular Gray, who he knew well but usually couldn’t reach any quicker than a few days.

Gray answered the phone and said he had been told by God about a day earlier that his family would be moving to the Southeast.

“John Gray is Hollywood now, he’s probably at Oprah’s house,” Carpenter joked. “Well, he’s bringing Hollywood here now.”

Gray will be moving his television ministry to Greenville, a show profiling his ministry airs on OWN.

Carpenter founded Redemption “in 1991 with three members and a passion for breaking down the walls of racism, crossing cultural lines, and changing poverty mindsets in their community as well as around the world,” Redemption’s website said.

The church made headlines in September after Hope Carpenter, co-founder and pastor at Redemption, faced backlash over comments she posted on Facebook speaking out against those players who’ve chosen to kneel during the national anthem.

Ron Carpenter issued an apology on Facebook and from the pulpit regarding the comments made by his wife.

In his apology, Carpenter said his wife was very emotional in the aftermath of the comment.

Carpenter said he and his wife “woefully underestimated how racially insensitive” the comments may have been to anyone who feels disenfranchised.

SOURCE: The Greenville News – Angelia Davis and Mike Ellis

(Skip to near-end for announcement)

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