(Photo Caption: Dr. and Mrs. Gregory received the 2013 Faithful Service Award from the Independent Fundamental Churches of America International at its annual convention in Orlando.)
Richard I. Gregory, beloved pastor and former executive director of the IFCA International, has reached his lifelong goal: to finish well and to meet his Savior. On Tuesday, July 23, 2013, Dr. Gregory went home to be with his Lord.
After being diagnosed with the illness that ended his life, Dr. Gregory told his doctor:
“I have had the most wonderful life. I’m ready to see my Savior. I’m excited to see my Savior. I don’t like to leave my wife here and my family, but I am just so excited.”
Richard (Dick) Gregory pastored for 57 years in two churches while he was in school and as senior pastor of three churches. He ministered on the boards of several Christian organizations. As a member of two mission agency boards and executive director of IFCA International, he traveled to 28 countries and lectured in 26 colleges and seven seminaries. When his health led him to retire from the IFCA leadership, he and Carol decided to move to Florida. One of their younger grandsons did not understand this “retirement.” So Dr. Gregory assured him that they were not retiring but refocusing to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He provided. In addition to teaching/preaching and singing in the choir at Faith Baptist Church, his “refocused” ministry included serving as interim pastor in four churches.
Dick Gregory grew up in Honesdale, Pa., where he attended the Gospel Tabernacle. He trusted Christ as his Savior at age 10. After high school, he attended Shelton College, where he earned a BA in philosophy, and Faith Theological Seminary, where he earned an MDiv. He received an honorary doctorate from Bob Jones University.
At the end of his junior year at Shelton, on June 9, 1956, he married his high school sweetheart, Carol Ann Schafer. He said of her:
“I have always considered her to be a gift from God specifically designed to be a help meet for the ministry God would give me. Her gifts and disposition complement the areas where I did not excel.” And “She is a faithful wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, and great grandmother. Indeed, she is God’s gift to me and our family.”
Pastor Osborne says the way the two of them interacted was great. After all their years of marriage,
“they truly loved one another.” He also says they “have been outstanding Christian servants to God’s church. I think they’ve been an outstanding Christian couple as an example to both young believers and older believers alike. They have demonstrated a faithfulness to God and His Word and to the Lord’s church for over 50 years in ministry.”
In addition to pastoring, leading the IFCA, and expanding missionary efforts, Dr. Gregory had a career in Christian literature. He edited The VOICE, the IFCA’s magazine, for 16 years and wrote two books, cowriting On the Level: Discovering the Levels of Biblical Relationships among Believers with his son, Richard W. (Rick) Gregory. The book is being used by at least three Christian colleges that train pastors. His second book, Ministry Matters: Shepherding and Finishing Well, answers the question, How do I finish well? He writes:
“The way to cross the finish line victoriously in ministry is to unswervingly seek out and apply biblical principles to your life as you seek above all else the glory of Christ.”
The book lays out many Biblical principles and shares how the Gregorys applied them in their lives and ministry. In its foreword, Rick Gregory writes:
“Faithfulness to Christ was the standard set by the head of our home—whether it was in the public venues at church or the privacy of our family away on vacation. He was the same guy—seeking to remain faithful and to honor the Lord in the way that he lived.”
Dr. Gregory is survived by his wife, Carol; their four children—Debra Ann Love, Richard W. Gregory, Jan Kimbrough, and Cynthia Bullock—and their spouses; 22 grandchildren (counting spouses); and 11 great grandchildren.