Joel Osteen broke down in tears Sunday night as he praised John Gray and his wife Aventer before they were formally installed as the leaders of Relentless Church in Greenville.
“John and Aventer are faithful people. They are loyal people,” said Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, before turning away to regain his composure.
“I cry way too easy,” said Osteen, who has worked with John Gray for the past five years while he served as an associate pastor at Lakewood Church.
Each week as many as 50,000 people attend services at Osteen’s church, which meets in the former Compaq Center, previously the home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“John and Aventer have made me better,” Osteen said. “I can truly say that Lakewood is better today because John and Aventer have been there.”
What was previously known Redemption Church in Greenville became Relentless Church last month when John and Aventer Gray replaced pastors Ron and Hope Carpenter. The Carpenters have moved on to Jubilee Christian Center in San Jose, California.
Ron Carpenter returned to Greenville for Sunday’s installation service.
He urged John Gray to “secure you some friends.”
“I have been through a million circumstances where I wish I had one friend,” Carpenter said. “At the lowest point in my life I stopped like a castaway at a four-way stop in the middle of nowhere and I looked through my whole phone and I wept because I had nobody in my life that I didn’t lead.”
He assured Gray that “Ron Carpenter will always be your friend.”
Several other pastors from around the nation spoke at Sunday night’s service.
Pastor Kent Munsey of City Church Chicago presented John Gray with a staff.
“There are going to be times in this new season when you are going to feel like how in the world did I get here?” Munsey said. “You can lean on the Holy Spirit of God.”
Pastor Hart Ramsey of Northview Christian Church in Dothan, Alabama, offered similar advice to Gray.
“You have to trust God in the darkness,” he said.
Pastor Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church in New York City, predicted that Gray will be successful in Greenville.
“I know people are going to saved in this church,” he said.
James Morman, pastor of Christian Tabernacle Church in Southfield, Michigan, predicted that “Relentless Church shall prosper beyond measure.”
Bishop Eric Garnes of Tabernacle of Praise Cathedral in Brooklyn, New York, officiated the installation ceremony of John and Aventer Gray.
Afterward, Aventer Gray said, “I am honored to stand with my husband who has told me that I am ready and now I believe him.”
John Gray thanked his wife for helping him through difficult times in his life.
“Nobody sees the tears and the brokeness,” he said.
He also promised the church’s congregation that “I will be an honorable pastor and I will fight for you.”
SOURCE: Greenville News / Anderson Independent Mail – Kirk Brown