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3:39 PM / Tuesday January 31, 2023

21 Dec 2018

Megachurch pastor defends gift of $200K Lamborghini to wife

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December 21, 2018 Category: Oasis Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Aventer and Rev. John Gray

PSS

The new pastor of a South Carolina megachurch gifted his wife a $200,000 Lamborghini SUV for their eighth anniversary two weeks ago and social media continues to take him to task. 

In an Instagram video taken at the celebration, John Gray, pastor of Relentless Church, located in Greenville, South Carolina, led his wife to a bow-wrapped car and handed her the keys while saying “Lamborghini Urus.” He later acknowledged on social media that he had bought the luxury vehicle for her and responded to criticism of the purchase.

The video of the presentation, which was made on Saturday, December 8th, and was not posted by Gray, was taken down.

“God helped me to make my wife’s dream come true,” he wrote in an Instagram post the following Tuesday night. “Why not? She’s made mine come true!”

Five days later, he was on Facebook Live defending his decision, with tears in his eyes, and said the sport utility vehicle was purchased with “not a nickel, not a penny” of his salary from the church or other church money. 

“My wife has pushed for my dreams and my vision, and she has toiled with a man who is still trying to find himself,” Gray said. “That carries a weight. I wanted to honor her for how she’s covered me.”

Gray, 45, assumed leadership Relentless Church in May, which had five campuses and an active membership of 22,000 from church founder Ron Carpenter, who had been the spiritual leader for 27 years when the church was originally named Redemption Church. Carpenter moved to San Jose, California to become pastor of Jubilee Christian Center, which he renamed Redemption Bay Area Church.

Gray, a Cincinnati native, also remains an associate pastor at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston while taking the lead at Relentless. Gray has control of the assets of the Greenville church, its vision, and the future of its ministry.

Gray said he has saved his money for years and drew on a variety of sources financially, including his second book deal and the fourth season of “The Book of John Gray,” his Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) reality TV show, to pay for the gift. He noted that, on his honeymoon eight years ago, he and his wife were so broke that they had to share a shrimp cocktail.

His wife, Aventer Gray, defended her husband last Sunday in her own Instagram post, saying he gives away cars and furniture, as well as coats off his back in addition to tithing to the church. 

The pastor was lauded weeks before when he invited Relentless parishioners in need, especially widows and veterans, to take money from the church’s donation baskets. The act of generosity garnered worldwide attention.

“I don’t see anyone screaming about how basketball players drive what they do while you paying $$$ to see them play in arenas and on fields,” she wrote on Instagram. “We don’t live for people! We live for God!”

In a December 2017 interview with The Greenville News when he was hired, John Gray defended pastors who drive fancy cars. He said he had few indulgences and one of those was to own a fine car.

“If the individuals that are serving are honorable and they are committed to serving, if they have saved their money and want to do something nice for their spouse — or they want to live in a (nice) home — you’ve got one life,” he said a year ago.

Gray recalled that in February, the couple went to the NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles, and at their hotel witnessed a presentation for the luxury vehicle.

“I saw my wife’s eyes light up,” he said. “She said, ‘This would be a dream,’ and that’s all she had to say.”

While Gray put down a deposit on the SUV, he hasn’t paid it off, and he questioned the criticism he has received. In his estimation, if he had purchased his wife a mid-sized, mid-priced sedan, no one would have cared.

With the income from his other projects, he said he can afford to make her happy.

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