Derwin Gray

The Pastor’s Role in Planting Churches of Holiness and Unity  

About The Episode

“Planting a church doesn’t start with the people you want to reach. It starts with the God who reached you.” Meet Derwin Gray, speaker, author, and Lead Pastor at Transformation Church. In today’s episode, Derwin gives encouragement to church planters by informing the key characteristics of a New Testament Church, reminding us of the right posture for a church planter’s heart, and challenging us in the areas the church falls short. 

Welcome to Episode 012 of The Unfair Advantage Podcast with Mike Hickerson and Andy Wood.

Insights From Derwin Gray


  • Overflows with the Gospel
  • Overflows with Jesus
  • Overflows with racial reconciliation
  • A multi-ethnic church on mission together


  • You need to have an overwhelming desire for people to know Jesus.
  • When you love preaching more than people, you’re in danger of idolatry.


  • It can be an emotional roller coaster by the hour. 
  • Abide in Christ. The greatest gift you can give your church is your holiness by embodying the Gospel. 
  • Don’t desire things that are going to prevent you from learning how to trust Jesus more. 
  • Smell like sheep. Don’t just preach and leave–that leaves you with a fan club instead of a congregation to shepherd.
  • Read Hebrews 11, and learn what God wants to work in you before you want the external results.


  • People give toward vision that is compelling.
  • Don’t withhold people from the blessing of giving. 
  • Financial giving can be a part of your discipleship. 
  • Where there is grace, giving will follow.
  • Walk in faith. Be accused of asking God to do too much, not too little.


  • This resource and map for the church will help us understand God’s desire for all nations to know Him and adore Him.
  • Our unity lets the world know we are disciples of Jesus.
  • Avoiding fighting for justice is spiritual adultery and demonic. That’s why slavery can outlast two revivals. That’s why denominations can be formed to keep slavery. 
  • Jesus forgives our sins and creates a family with different skins. 
  • “Do not let that which Jesus bled to unite be divided.”


  • Don’t seek to be famous–seek to be faithful. 
  • We need our pulpits to become strong again (not style–but content). Is Jesus the hero of your sermon? People need to leave understanding how lavish God’s grace is.

Episode Links

How to Heal Our Racial Divide

Do ministry together! Three gatherings, nine planters, one cohesive journey. Checkout the Ascent Leader Church Planter Cohorts. Get more information today at:

Who is Derwin Gray?

Derwin met his wife, Vicki, at Brigham Young University. He played for the BYU Cougars football team. They have been married since 1992 and have two children. After graduating from Brigham Young University, Derwin played professional football in the NFL for five years with the Indianapolis Colts (1993-1997) and one year with the Carolina Panthers (1998). During that time, he and Vicki began their journey with Christ and experienced God’s faithfulness and direction as He moved their hearts to know Him and make Him known. Derwin and Vicki began an itinerant speaking ministry in 1999, One Heart At A Time Ministries. Derwin went on to graduate magna cum laude from Southern Evangelical Seminary with a Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree, with a concentration in Apologetics, where he was mentored by renowned theologian and philosopher, Dr. Norman Geisler. Following God’s call on their lives and their desire to shepherd people towards transforming their world through the mission of Christ, the Lord transitioned Derwin from his primary role of itinerant speaker to serving as the Lead Pastor of Transformation Church in January of 2010. Coupling his dynamic speaking style with a shepherd’s heart, his intense passion for seeing lives and culture transformed is both contagious and inspiring. In 2015, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Southern Evangelical Seminary. In 2018, he received his Doctor of Ministry in the New Testament in Context at Northern Seminary under Dr. Scot McNight.


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Quotes From Episode

“Planting a church doesn’t start with the people you want to reach. It starts with the God who reached you.”

“Whatever God calls to you, He’s going to see you through.” 

“Wherever there is a vision, He is the provision to accomplish it.”

“Getting stuff done doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the power of the Holy Spirit.”

“Don’t desire things that are going to prevent you from learning how to trust Jesus more.”

“He dwells in eternity and He shows up when He wants to show up.”

“You cannot have a testimony without a test.”

“Be accused of asking God to do too much, not too little.”

“Do not let that which Jesus bled to unite be divided.”

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