Pastor John Gray revealed that he stepped away from leading Relentless Church in Greenville, South Carolina, to work on his marriage and family.
“A few months ago I sat down from leading at Relentless. My life wasn’t in order,” Gray wrote on Instagram Friday. “Church isn’t first. My wife is.”
Along with the lengthy post, the minister shared a professional photo of his wife, Aventer, posing in a gown. He then proceeded to honor her as he has done in times past after rumors of affairs circulated in the media claiming the pastor was unfaithful to his wife of eight years.
“This is my wife. She is from God. She is a life giver. She is a kingdom builder. Her name is Aventer. I met her at church. She was worshipping God through dance. Over time, she allowed me in her life and let me dance with her. She took my ring and said yes and we began our forever journey,” Gray said.
View this post on Instagram
A few months ago I sat down from leading at Relentless. My life wasn’t in order. Church isn’t first. My wife is. This is my wife. She is from God. She is a life giver. She is a kingdom builder. Her name is Aventer. I met her at church. She was worshipping God through dance. Over time, she allowed me in her life and let me dance with her. She took my ring and said yes and we began our forever journey. What my dance partner didn’t know was that I was very much unfinished. I never knew what consistent discipline, planning, leadership, manhood, or personal holiness in action from a man’s standpoint looked like. Living a shadow life, God was unwilling to let me die assuming I was whole. I failed to uphold the holy standard of God in my marriage. And I’m sorry. Although you are the only woman I’ve ever slept with, emotional unfaithfulness is just as wrong. Sin is sin. People want to minimize one sin over another, when it all can get you sent to hell. My marriage forced me to face both of me. Flesh versus spirit. It is every man’s battle. Loving God isn’t enough. Preaching Jesus isn’t enough. Face yourself. Get delivered. Or hurt the ones who actually love you the most. I started intense counseling (personal and for my marriage) in the summer. Scariest thing ever. Most necessary thing ever. I had no one to blame. My life is my responsibility. Admit your wrong. God deserves better. My wife deserves better. The pain I caused her is immeasurable. Seeing her name in blogs because of things I did broke my soul. So since I was the cause of public embarrassment, let me be JUST AS LOUD ABOUT PUBLIC HONOR. Aventer you are a miracle to me. I am sorry for the pain I have caused you. You name should have NEVER come up in any conversation in any negative way with anyone ever. I must do the work to earn your trust. I’ve lived a life I’m not proud of in so many areas, but before I die, I will be the man God intended and the husband that Your heart can rest with. I’ll be the father my kids can be proud of. I’ll be the pastor Relentless can stand behind. I’m in the process and I will stay in it. May the man I am becoming match the vision God showed you. I love you.
He then explained that what his wife did not know at the time of their young love, was that he never knew “consistent discipline, planning, leadership, manhood, or personal holiness in action from a man’s standpoint.” Gray added that he was living a “shadow life” but God was “unwilling” to let him stay in that place of brokenness and allow him to assume that he was whole when he was not.