Leading the Church of the Cross

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Pastor Jeff Gravis is the new leader for the Church of the Cross in Haughton. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

Haughton’s Central Assembly of God welcomes new pastor

The 199-foot cross towering over Haughton and U.S. 80 is a point of pride for the Church of the Cross, and its new Pastor Jeff Gravis.

“When I preached here in 2017, I had no idea that one day I would be coming here to pastor,” Gavis said. “When the opportunity presented itself, I was reluctant. I struggled with it a lot for a long time. But I sensed the clear direction from God. This is the direction the Lord is leading me, God very clearly spoke to my heart about pursuing it. So when the door opened, we stepped through it.”

Gravis was raised in Evadale, Texas. As a child, he attended the First Assembly of God Church in Evadale, giving his heart to the Lord at the age of 14. In 1991, Pastor Jeff was baptized in the Holy Spirit at a youth service held at First Assembly of God in Silsbee, Texas.  

It wouldn’t be long after this that he began to minister as a Sunday school teacher, as well as the student leader of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship on the campus of Lamar University, in Beaumont, Texas.  

On July 22, 1994, Jeff married Julie Segrest. They have been blessed with two sons, Christopher and Nathaniel. Pastor Jeff graduated in 1997 from Lamar University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History.

In 1995, Jeff received his credentials with the Assemblies of God. At the end of the same year, Jeff and Julie were welcomed onto the ministry staff at Silsbee First Assembly.  There they would serve in various capacities until they would be sent to plant New Beginnings Church in Evadale.

In 2004, Pastor Jeff led a group of 16 adults and 10 children to start New Beginnings Church.

Being faced with an opportunity that was both humbling, exciting and guided by the Lord, Pastor Jeff and his family took a leap of faith and moved to Bossier this year so he could guide and heal the congregation of Church of the Cross as their new pastor.

The church has been in flux after former senior pastor, Andy Harris, was arrested on drug charges. Harris resigned from the church a short time after his arrest.

During that time, Pastor Jeff says he prayed for the church with no further motives.

“When everything happened here, I just prayed for this church. I wasn’t praying to be the pastor, I was just praying for the church,” he said.

However, now that God has led him to lead this new flock, his immediate goals for the Church of the Cross are to bring healing and strength to the body.

“My main goal is to preach Jesus, try to bring healing, strength and restoration to this church,” he said. “As time goes on, we will see what direction or course we need to take.”

To his new congregation, Pastor Jeff says that the best is yet to come.

“God’s not through here and He’s going to continue to do great things. We’re going to see the Lord do his wonderful work here in this church, in this community, in this area,” Pastor Jeff said. “I believe there’s nothing but good ahead.”