About Our Pastor
Humble Beginnings…Out of the rural soil of Pocahontas, Mississippi, Danny Ray Hollins was born to Mr. and Mrs. James Hollins. He is the fifth child of fourteen children. Having been raised with the guiding hand of Christian parents and grandparents, in addition to having a family linage of preachers and teachers, he developed a great love for Christ and the church. He felt early the urge of God toward the Gospel ministry. Taught at an early age of one’s need for a relationship with the Lord, he was saved by God’s Amazing Grace at age eleven and united with Mount Center Baptist Church. There he served in many capacities including the church school and youth ministries, which helped to prepare him for greater work for the Lord.
At that stage of his life, Hollins could often be found trailing his mentor and grandmother, Hattie Harriet Henrietta Crawford McClenty who was an educator for 49 years before she retired. Her love of learning and teaching rubbed off on young Danny Ray, and the spark was soon recognized by his youth director at Mt. Center. As the next Youth Day for the church approached, she asked Danny if he would say a speech for the program and he agreed. Little did he know that she was penning a welcome speech for him to commit to memory and recite, three legal pages long, from and back! Danny Ray accepted the task, despite reservations about his own ability to achieve such a feat.
To the astonishment and delight of the crowd, not only did he meet the challenge of memorizing the lengthy speech, he did so with a style so electrifying that it left an indelible impression on everyone there! He subsequently became a much-sought-after speaker for numerous youth programs, summits and conventions. In 1982, he began preaching and was licensed by the Mount Center Baptist Church, where he was later ordained. This early experience led to varied educational, vocational, and ministerial pursuits, culminating in his first pastoral assignment, Cedar Grove Baptist Church in 1984.
THE PATH TO GRACE
At the young and tender age of 22, Pastor Hollins began his ministerial/pastoral service to the Lord at Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Pocahontas, MS, where he lead full time from 1984 until 2001. Under his leadership, the church experienced tremendous growth in practically every area. Among his advancements for the Kingdom were the building of a new sanctuary in 1988 and a new multi-purpose complex in 1992. These facilities were and still are instrumental in the furtherance of God's work through Cedar Grove, its current pastor and its members.
Pastor Hollins was not satisfied with these structural enhancements. Part of his driving philosophy is ministering to the whole body of Christ. In keeping with that ideal, he instituted numerous ministries to nurture the spirits of the various groups represented in his congregation. The Men's, Women's, Youth, Single's and Couples' ministries, among many others that were formed under his tutelage, continue to thrive and serve the membership of Cedar Grove and the Greater Pocahontas community.
Shortly after becoming pastor of Cedar Grove, Pastor Hollins took the helm of Strawbridge Baptist Church in Utica, MS in 1987. Though a small church, Strawbridge proved to be a great asset to an emerging Hollins and his young family. He continued there until 1990, serving every second and fourth Sunday, until the Lord led him to Pilgrim Rest M. B. Church in Clinton, MS.
Hollins' tenure at Pilgrim Rest began in 1991, and he remained there until 1994. The growth his vision provided was no exception to that which he brought to the other churches he served. As the ministry blossomed, lifelong relationships developed and after three years the church was prepared to erect a new facility. During these years, Hollins remained as pastor of Cedar Grove M. B. Church. However, he felt the spiritual urge of full-time ministry and led Cedar Grove from just first and third Sunday meetings to every Sunday. In October 2001, God imparted fresh vision, and he was led to assume the pastorship of Greater Fairview Baptist Church.
With the arrival of Pastor Danny R. Hollins, the church exhibited enthusiasm and much expectation for the future. Greater Fairview presented Hollins with fertile ground to cultivate the vision God gave him and nurture the minds, bodies and spirits of his new flock. His first order of business was to implement a ministry and flock leader structure to provide the body some stability and organization. Ministries for men, women, singles and couples were established, and out of those came the Men's Summit, Youth Focus Week, the Leader's Conference and Women's Conference. The church's Love Banquet came later, as well as the Dance, Scholastic Achievement, Prayer Band and Health and Awareness Ministries. A mid-week bible study/prayer meeting, IMPACT, was set in place, along with the Future Development Organization, and the foundation was laid for Hollins' plans for the future.
With the infrastructure in place to unite the body in fellowship, Hollins shifted his attention to the next phase of his vision, which included a community focus component. One way of accomplishing this was through active partnerships with other community-oriented institutions, like the partnership with Jackson State University's Continuing Education Program, which established GFBC as a satellite learning facility. Always the forward thinker, Pastor Hollins established a 501c3 non-profit organization called the Greater Fairview CDC (Community Development Corporation) to facilitate additional efforts and provide a vehicle by which to procure much needed funding. Several grants were awarded to and programs were born out of this entity, including a GED program, GFBC Financial Bootcamp, and the Health Care & Community Day. In keeping with his philosophy that the strong, spiritually-enriched black male is the cornerstone of a thriving black community, Hollins established the Fairview Community Boys' Institute, Boys to Kings, and Boys to Kings Summer Camp. Hollins was also instrumental in providing relief to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, organizing the Katrina Relief and Adoption program, and housing a displaced family inside the church's Spann's Hall facility.
Under his inspired leadership, the church grew spiritually, numerically and financially, but Hollins' vision was just beginning to unfold. In 2010, he executed the next stage and broke ground on the property to become known as Greater Fairview Village. The purpose of the Greater Fairview Village was to affect people in every aspect of their existence. The mission, like Jesus', was social and evangelistic and involved preaching the gospel of salvation to the poor and all people; teaching a variety of skills to those who are blind to it; providing healthy solutions to the broken-hearted; and, liberating those who are oppressed. The first step was the construction of the Multi-Purpose Facility in 2012, which housed the Fairview Learning Academy and the Fairview R.O.C. (Recreational Outreach Center). With Pastor Hollins at the helm, this great undertaking was able to bless the kingdom of God through various educational and fellowship opportunities, spiritual enrichment conferences, and community activities.
A New Calling
However, God required an even greater exercise of faith and sacrifice for Hollins and by 2013, the Lord had moved on Hollins’ heart that it was time to launch out into the deep with his ministry. He began by simply giving Sunday morning inspirational messages at 1110 Grand Avenue, the former location of Pearlie Grove M.B. Church. These back-to-basics fellowships blossomed, and on the first Sunday in March of 2014, Grace Inspirations was officially organized as a church, with Dr. Danny Ray Hollins as its founder and Pastor.