The Lord Jesus Christ has blessed the Temple Family with two amazing Pastors who serve as shepherds of our souls. We thank the Lord for Apostle Dr. Gentle L. Groover Sr. and Bishop Kenneth Groover.
Apostle Dr. Gentle L. Groover Sr.
The Man with the Caleb Spirit…
The Lord has given Bishop Groover the vision to lead the people of God to new levels in Christ. He has a “gentle” spirit and a special gift of speech that allows him to transfer his positive sense of direction to people both young and old. He uses his magnetic personality and demeanor to reach young people and serves as a drawing agent to Jesus Christ.
Our humble shepherd was born on Saturday, November 26, 1932, to the late Mr. Richard & Mrs. Hattie Groover. He is the youngest of his siblings. He attended the local schools in Greenville, Florida and the Community College in Madison, Florida. He went on to receive his Doctorate of Divinity from the University of Alabama. In November 2014 during his 51st Pastoral Anniversary, Apostle Groover was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Saint Thomas Christian University.
Before joining the Church of our Lord, Gentle Groover was a steward in the Methodist Church. He was convicted by the sanctified lifestyle of his sister, Mother Evelyn Hadley, and others. He ascertained that if he would ever make it to Heaven, he had to have what they had. One Monday afternoon, Mr. Groover arrived at Mother Hadley’s home and noticed Dr. Gilbert Smith and his assistant, Elder Joseph Smith of Miami, who were in town for an Old Fashioned Tent Meeting. He thought to turn around, but it was too late. They had already noticed him approaching. He pulled forward and the group encouraged him to go inside for the Noonday Prayer Service. They told him, “We won’t be long”. He went inside and felt the presence of God like never before. He returned on Tuesday and on Wednesday was filled with the precious gift of the Holy Ghost and was baptized in water in Jesus Name.
The next several years of Brother Groover’s life prepared him for his acme in Jesus Christ and his future in the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. He accepted the Lord’s call on his life and began his upward journey of propagating the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1962, he was called into the Ministry. Minister Groover proved himself to be faithful and was appointed to assist his Pastor, Elder Samuel Greene in Greenville. Minister Groover was sent to establish a church in Jacksonville (approximately 120 miles away) which stemmed from the relentless efforts of his sister, Mother Catherine McNair, a praying woman of God who opened her home for prayer. Bishop Henry Ross, the State Bishop of Florida, ordained Minister Groover an Elder in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ in 1965. In 1967, Elder Groover was appointed as the District Elder of the Northern District of Florida.
In October 1976, District Elder Groover and the Church Congregation suffered a great loss when the Lord called his dear wife and Church Mother, Vivian Lucille Groover, from labor to reward. Although he was in great pain, he remained faithful to the Kingdom Work. In November 1978, Pastor Groover married his present wife, Sister Shelly Rose McGee Groover. Pastor gained three sons, while Sister Groover gained seven daughters and six sons.
State Bishop Ross recommended District Elder Groover for the office of Junior Bishop in 1980. In 1983, Junior Bishop Groover was consecrated Bishop and soon after Bishop Ross led the state in a new direction by dividing it into regions. Bishop Groover was appointed to serve as Diocesan Bishop for the North Florida Mississippi Diocese.
During the 1984 International Convocation, Bishop Groover was elected as an Apostle and in 1985, to the Board of Apostles. He was now a part of the governing body of the International Organization working closely with our now Chief Apostle, Bishop William L. Bonner.
The Lord directed Apostle Bonner to initiate the Presidership Training period for the Board of Apostles. Through this, Bishop Groover served along with Bishop Wilbur Jones as Co-Presider of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ from August 1994 to August 1995. During the 1995 General Convocation of the Church Body, Bishop Groover was elected as the new Presider of the COOLJC. From 1995 – 2001, Bishop Gentle Groover Sr. served as the Presiding Prelate of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. After serving 2 terms, in August 2001, the Chief Apostle of the organization appointed Bishop Groover as his Executive Assistant.
Bishop Groover’s Apostolic history began many years before his elevation to lead the international organization. He has pastored the Greater Refuge Temple in Jacksonville, Florida since its inception in the early 60s. The church has served as a beacon to thousands who have passed through its doors. He also pastors numerous other churches within the state of Florida.
He has worked diligently with the Apostle to Foreign Missions to help build churches and schools in Liberia, Ghana, India and other countries. He has also sponsored Missionary trips to supply aid.
Bishop Groover has crossed denominational lines to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has also shared the Gospel Message by way of radio and television. Over the past thirteen years, his television ministry has blessed countless numbers. As a result, many local pastors refer to him as “the Preacher’s Preacher.” We are certain the number of souls touched by his “Message of Hope and Deliverance” will not be known until we get to glory.
His ministry of “helps” and “compassion” is apparent in his countless visits to the hospitals to offer prayer for parishioners, friends, and many people he has never met. He has opened his home to those who are less fortunate. He is a strong proponent of pre-nuptial counseling as well as couples counseling after marriage and is credited with keeping many homes intact.
In the community, Bishop Groover has served on various governing boards to help facilitate safer environments and better living conditions. Many lives have been changed and influenced by his dynamic preaching, teaching, wise counsel, exemplary lifestyle and character of integrity.
Bishop Groover was recognized by Who’s Who in the Community and is listed in the directory. He is also celebrated as Pastor of the Month in numerous magazines.
Bishop Groover’s love for the Lord is expressed in his love for people and for God’s Church. The central tenet of his ministry revolves around his commitment to prayer.