Pastor Aaron Gray was also introduced to Mars Hill in later 2013 via the Lead Pastor Residency program.
Mars Hill Federal Way
What’s your story?
My parents were saved when I was 3 years old, so my dad learned to read the Bible for the first time as he read me the picture Bible as a child. I was raised in the church and became a Christian at a very young age. In some ways, I have that “boring testimony” that Pastor Mark has spoken of wanting his kids to have. However, my story is also one that is marked by pride. Over and over, God has revealed his grace to me by allowing me to see that I’m unfortunately like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son—self assured, prideful, and trusting in my own good works. It’s only by God’s grace that I’m saved, the same as anyone with a more “scandalous” testimony.
How’d you know you were called into ministry?
When I was a kid, my dad began serving as an unpaid pastor at our church and has been in some form of ministry ever since. One of the things I’m most grateful for is just how much ministry my father included me in. By the time I was 21, I was leading worship, preaching, and leading leaders at the church plant that my family was involved in. I don’t have one specific moment, like Moses at the burning bush, where I knew that God had called me into the ministry. It’s just something that God has built into my DNA since I was very young.
What’s something you learned in your first couple weeks of residency?
At one of our residency trainings, Pastor Dave Bruskas highlighted how important it is for us as pastors to ensure that the people in our care are saved. I know that this may sound simple, but the way that he put it really struck me. In Federal Way, where I serve as a pastor, there are many people who are familiar with the gospel story and who consider themselves to be Christians, but who have never personally walked with Jesus. This thought has now grabbed me afresh, that God has called us all—all Christians!—to pursue and love the people in our lives so that they may become Christians.
What’s a fun fact about you or your family?
My wife is also named Erin (spelled differently), but she mostly goes by Erin Lynn or just Lynn. This makes for some interesting phone calls around the house. We dated for all four years of high school and got married at 18 years old. We recently celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary. Other than salvation, my wife has been the most amazing gift I have ever received from God. We have four daughters together: Mackenzie (8), Delaney (7), Reagan (4) and Hadley (10 months).
In between Delaney and Reagan, God brought a teenage girl named Tristen into our family. Her family was going through a rough season, and she needed a place to stay for the weekend (or so we thought). Tristen ended up living as part of our family for four years. Tristen is now twenty-one, she loves Jesus, is married to a godly man, and recently became a mother herself. It was challenging to parent someone who was only 10 years younger than myself, but God used it to not only to change Tristen’s life, but mine and Erin Lynn’s as well.