HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Gary Bradley has been part of the WHNT family for more than four decades. For a lot of our viewers, Sunday mornings wouldn’t be the same without him.
He moved to Huntsville in July 1979 to lead the flock at Mayfair Church of Christ. He started sharing his message on television the following year. “Every Tuesday night, I would drive up on Monte Sano and we would get started,” he recalled.
Brother Bradley was in the pulpit at Mayfair for 37 years. He’s still on staff, but now consults for other churches “I have these in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, everywhere,” he told me, “But it’s my Tennessee Valley TV family that I love so much.”
He shares the word weekly on “Abundant Living.” “I’ve often said and thanked the people for letting me in their home on Sunday morning because if I knocked on the door, you probably wouldn’t let me in,” he said with a smile, “But I can come in on tv.”
It took a while to build an audience, which continues to grow. “It was my way of reaching the Tennessee Valley and God has blessed it,” he said, “I don’t sing. I don’t dance. I just talk about the word of the Lord.”
During those 41 plus years, there have been humorous moments. “One lady called the office and said Oh, I just love brother Bradley’s teaching and preaching but tell him, tell him that one sideburn is longer than the other one,” he said laughing, “So I hear everything.”
There have also been some not-so-humorous moments, one during a thunderstorm while taping his program at the old station on Monte Sano. “We could hear it raining on the roof. I mean, it was a bad storm and lightning hit the building,” he recalled, “And it blew the lights out and the lights fell down on me and burned holes in my coat. And I came out of that coat like crazy.”
I asked him if he was talking about fire and brimstone. He laughed and said, “That would have been too appropriate, yeah, not now Lord, please.” The TV station bought him a new sport coat to replace the one that had holes in it from the sparks that rained down on him when the bulb in the studio light exploded.
Brother Bradley’s not planning to walk away from the half-hour weekly bible study broadcast any time soon. He sighed and said, “No, no I’m not.” It’s not time yet. “When I think about quitting, I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss it really because I’m touching people’s lives that I don’t know about,” he said, “And that’s fine with me.”
There’s one message that he says continues to resonate with viewers and church members. “In every situation in life, you and I have a choice in coming out that situation either bitter or better,” he said, “It’s up to us.”
He hopes those words can help everyone live an abundant life. “It’s been one of the most pleasant things I do,” he said talking about his weekly broadcast,” You know, there are three things in my life, Mayfair, television, and Cuba. And God has blessed all three of them.”
Just like his television audience, the church congregation grew while he was at Mayfair. There were 600 members at the church when stepped into the pulpit. There were almost 2,000 when he retired from full time preaching.