As senior pastor, Gary’s responsibilities are the overall direction and leadership of Grace Community Church and leadership and oversight of the pastoral staff. Gary breaks his leadership role down into three main areas. The first is vision casting, communicating the vision and direction for our church on Sunday mornings and in elder and staff meetings. Second is the ministry of the Word, teaching and preaching God’s word so people know how to apply it to their lives and can grow spiritually. The third is prayer because Gary believes that the church cannot go beyond its prayer foundation and that people will not pray more than their leaders.
Gary’s passion is that people will encounter the living God, whether that occurs through events, outreaches, church services, prayer meetings, counseling sessions, or ministry times. He wants to see people experience God, not just know about Him but know Him and be impacted by His presence, His love, and His power. Gary also believes that everything God does here among our church He ultimately wants to pour over into the unreached parts of the world. Any church that’s truly connecting with God will have a heart for the lost and missions.
Gary was born in Victoria, TX. His father was a fighter pilot in the Air Force, bringing his family to France, England, Phoenix, Omaha, Madrid, and finally Bossier City, Louisiana where Gary attended High School. He attended college at Louisiana Tech and earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1979. During college, Gary was in leadership with Campus Crusade for Christ, working at Kings Arrow Ranch and participating in a summer missions project to the Palau Islands. Gary then attended Dallas Theological Seminary earning a Th.M. in 1984. Gary led the Cornerstone, at that time a college ministry of Pantego Bible Church, from 1980 through 1986. Gary also led a young couple’s class, singles ministry, and international student ministry. He was an associate pastor from 1986-1987, adding to his existing responsibilities the oversight of women’s ministry, Junior High, and Senior High ministries. Through these years, the Lord had been forming a vision in his heart to start a church. In September of 1987 Gary started Grace Community Church, meeting Wednesday nights in a local community center.
Gary has led our church to support teams of cross-cultural workers in Turkey and Nepal. He was invited by Jackson Senyonga to bring “a word to the church in Uganda” to 80,000 people at an all-night prayer gathering in four soccer stadiums in Campala, Uganda. Gary began gathering Arlington pastors together in 1990 to pray. This led to the founding of Arlington Christian Ministries (ACM) in 1994 at an event where a Covenant of Unity was signed by Bill Bright and ninety-nine Christian leaders from our city. Gary has also trained other local leaders through our staff team, resulting in the planting of Harbor Christian Fellowship in 1999 and Mosaic of Arlington in 2005.
Gary and his wife Tracie met at a Cornerstone College Life Bible study meeting. Gary had a personal, "no-dating" policy regarding the girls in the college ministry he was newly leading as a seminary student at that time. When he noticed this particular girl across the room, he “reevaluated his policy.” They were married in August of 1981. Gary and Tracie have four children, Chase, Chelsy, Chandler, and Chad. Gary enjoys fishing, basketball, and golf.
Pastor Gary posts a daily thought or verse to the Twitter feed, A Word from Gary. Follow to see each one as they are posted!