Pastor In Profile

Name: Pastor Troy Gramling
Birthplace: Adrian, Michigan
Job title: Lead Pastor, Potential Church –

How and when did you come to know the Lord?
I was about 11 or 12 years old at a church revival and it was packed. I remember this time because it was the first time I ever felt convicted. I knew in that moment that if I hadn’t trusted Christ and if something happened, I would spend eternity separated from Him. I remember looking down at my mom and saying, “Mom I need to get saved.” Because I was a shy kid, it was a big deal. I believe it was at that moment that I was doing what I teach others to do,  to trust Christ. And while I don’t remember everything that was said, or what happened, there’s no doubt in my mind that that was the day I put all my faith and trust in Christ.

Pastor Troy GramlingHow and when did you become involved in Life ?
I served in Life while I was in high school. I participated in things like plays and the choir. My parents didn’t really go and see me, but I remember taking myself away from basketball games on television to go to church and to serve in one of those ministries. Vocationally, I remember God tapped me on the shoulder when my wife Steph and I were helping a smaller church with their student Life and I felt God say, “This is what I want you to do with your life.” During that time I was preparing to coach basketball in high school, college and overseas. I felt God said to me, “That’s not what I want for you – this is what I want for you.” Steph and I didn’t know what that meant, we really didn’t know what area, but God gradually began to open the doors in Life .

What is your church/organization doing that is exciting or unique?
One of the things that make Potential Church exciting is that it’s a place of authenticity where we don’t just accept or tolerate but we truly embrace diversity. We embrace people from different ethnic backgrounds, different cultures, but also more importantly, different spiritual places.

We want to give people time to hear God’s Word and experience God’s Word and surrender to it, and to me that’s the most exciting thing. We leverage current technology and do a lot of different things to stay with the culture, but the most exciting thing is to see those who are a long way from God take their next step towards God. I think diversity makes us unique. We are a multisite church with 6 campuses all over the world and just the complexity, challenge and the excitement of that makes us unique. Potential Church is a place you can come and no matter where you’ve been or where you’re going, you will feel embraced.

What is the best part of your job?
Our mission is to “Partner with people to reach their God potential”, so the best part of my job is when people take their next step towards their God potential. I love seeing people grow, people on our staff, our volunteers, the person that walks in for the first time and comes back a second time … that’s growth – that’s a step in the right direction so that’s the most exciting part of my job. As for the vocational part of my job, I love the vision casting, the leading and the teaching … these are the 3 best parts of my job.

If you weren’t doing what you’re currently doing, what would you like to be doing?
Well, if God didn’t call me  into Life, there’s no doubt in my mind I would be coaching basketball. I played basketball in high school, college and overseas. I know I would love to see the guys on the team, in which I would be coaching, mature as basketball players and as people of character.

Do you have a favorite quote or motto?
There’s a couple that come to my mind. “Failure is not an option” is one, and by that I mean we only fail when we don’t persevere. Yes, we may drop the ball, we may make a mistake, but it’s only failure if we don’t persevere and if we quit. Another favorite quote is, “You could either use people to build a great Life or you could use Life to build great people”. This is a play-off from a John Wooden quote which he expressed the same sentiment about basketball. We work really hard to leverage the task of Life to build amazing people – people full of peace, love, joy and passion.

What is your favorite Bible verse or area of Scripture, and why?
Galatians 2:20, because it is the call to die to self. The biggest challenge and the biggest reward of my life is when I died to myself, when I died to my thoughts and my desires. Yet, I’m alive to what God wants, to His peace His joy and His plans.

Besides God, who has been the most influential person in your life?
Dr. John Maxwell. He’s the first person who taught me how to be successful in Life . First, you have to love God with all your heart. Second, you have to lead effectively. He has given me the tools to do both of those.

What is your favorite way to relax?
My favorite way to relax is to travel and to read. I love new experiences, so I love to go and see new places. I also love to read about new things.

What is the most interesting place you’ve visited, and why?
The most interesting place I’ve visited is Israel. Steph and I went there in February for the first time. We got to walk where Jesus walked. That is by far one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced. It’s also interesting to see the history of Israel because it gives me a better understanding of Biblical history and modern history in the Middle East.

What encourages you the most/frustrates you the most about Christians in our society?
The thing that frustrates me the most about Christians is that we tend to be so critical of each other. God puts deep passions and different gifts in each person’s heart. It’s so easy for us to believe that what we are passionate about and what God has put in our heart is what everyone else should run after as well, with the same type of abandonment. I believe that God gives us different passions and that together we are His Church. It’s frustrating for me to see us be critical of others peopels passions, in which God has put in the body of His people. What encourages me is the other side of that. God has put passions and gifts inside of His Church and when we run after Him with a complete abandonment. Its great to see when people give their lives,  resources, time, heart, and they work through hurt and pain, all for the love of Christ. There are a lot of organizations in this world but the Church is an organism; it is alive and it is making a difference around the world.

What is something that God has been teaching you lately?
I think God has been reminding me lately about the cost of discipleship and the cost of maturity. It’s easy to pray that God would change the world, but it’s difficult to persevere and to change in yourself what needs to be changed so that a real change can happen around you. God is teaching me to remain under  His protection and to not try and get out from underneath of what God is trying to teach me through the challenges and difficulties that I face.

Tell us something about your family and/or something about yourself that most people do not know.
Most people don’t know that my wife’s original plan was to be a fashion merchandiser. She has a great sense of style, so she wanted to be a buyer for stores and other businesses.

In what ways do you feel your church has broken down barriers this past year in terms or reaching the unsaved? Are there any out-of-the-box methods you have used, and how have they worked?
This year we’ve seen tremendous breakthrough at our campuses through live music and live worship in our children, preschool and student ministries. The teaching comes from a central location, the Cooper City Campus. We’ve seen thousands of people respond to that and it has truly been tremendous to begin to see the fruit of that. We’ve seen God’s hand on our multisite Life and what He’s called us to do in this country and around the world. Our international campus in Lima, Peru is in another country, they speak another language, but it’s the same message and to me that’s the power of God’s Word and the power of His vision for Potential Church.

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