James Earl Cray – The Gift, the NFL, and the Answered Call –
Meet James Earl Cray, a gifted, former college football athlete and NFL prospect. This athletically gifted, former Troy State Wide Receiver successfully navigated his way through troubled times and a seven year journey to find his true calling. He grew up in Southeast Georgia, where he was introduced to Apostolic Pentecostal beliefs. As a child, he was never short on confidence. He recalls moments when he would boldly dance in front of large church congregations; never being too bashful to show his love for God and the church. As he entered college at Troy State University in Alabama, like many young athletes, he was hit head on with some very challenging moments. He experienced off the field trouble and dealt with attitude problems. But, throughout all this, he constantly remained faithful and trusted in God.
In 2005, at the age of twenty-two, he spoke at what he considered to be his first sermon. The sermon was held at First Missionary Baptist Church, in Troy, AL. James recalls having so many thoughts and feelings running through his mind. He was excited, nervous, but overall, he was prepared to give the sermon. From that moment he knew that his life would never be the same and that God’s purpose for him was far greater than he or anyone had ever imagined.
James recalls how he answered his calling:
“Throughout my life I always felt as though I had the gift to draw people in. And for the majority of my youth and college years, I thought this gift was to be used in the NFL. In the summer of 2007, after I had finished my collegiate football career and the NFL had short handed me, I moved back to Troy, AL. From that moment, I began to walk in my true calling. Something spoke to me in my conscious mind and challenged me…” At this point, the 5’11 football player stepped out on faith and started New Beginnings Bible Study on the University’s campus. During this period, he completed his Master’s Degree, while conducting bible study classes and working as a campus mailman. James moved on and established James Earl Cray Ministries, a 21st based ministry, designed to stretch the boundaries of tradition through innovative ideas, postmodern #preaching styles, and unprecedented influence tactics.
The call to ministry has proven to be very difficult. “My Call to Ministry has not been an easy journey. In fact it is the toughest, hardest hitting journey that I have faced, but I would not change it for nothing in the world. The journey itself is a reward. To be able to do God’s work and to impact and touch so many of God’s children is gratifying. I truly give all the glory and honor to God!” – James Earl Cray