OCU Alumnus Dave Gray Excels at Leading Local Youth
After serving 12 years as the Youth Pastor for the Circleville Nazarene Church, Dave Gray is often asked one question.
“People are always wondering when I’m going to step up and become a senior pastor. To me, I feel like I’m on the front lines,“ Gray said. “It’s very exciting to be in youth ministry because that’s when kids are making faith decisions.”
When Gray first started at The Naz, he was newly married to Becky and there were 12 teens involved in the youth group. Both Gray’s family and youth group has grown. He has two kids Annie, 7 and Gavin, 18 months, and the youth group consists of 100.
“Things began to really increase as teenagers began falling in love with Jesus! Their passion for Him was contagious,” Gray said.
The growth in numbers has been a blessing, but Gray is more concerned with seeing the teens find their identity in Christ.
“The best thing I can do is try to live with them. Be with them when they fall and be with them when they succeed and always point them to the One that have given them life.”
Gray finds mission trips are helpful to those youth while they are forming their spiritual selves. He has led trips to the Bahamas; Nashville; Chattanooga; Toronto, Canada; Steubenville; Cincinnati; Niagara Falls; and Navajo Nation, Arizona.
“The kids do get outside of themselves and develop a sense to help others.”
When Gray was a young adult, he struggled to find God’s vision for his life. It was at an OCU chapel service when he really felt the call to serve the Lord and his people. He graduated in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry. His advice for those going into his field is simple.
“No ministry preparation program can compare to giving God a pure heart and loving others because of that,” Gray said.
Going forward, Gray’s not looking for worldly accomplishments or a fancy title. He simply wants to continue to bear good fruit.
“I always try to compare myself to the tree that Zacchaeus climbed on. I want to be able to lift kids up so they can see Christ.”