Suffragan Bishop Ira Combs, Jr. is a native of Inkster, Michigan, born the fifth child of ten children to Ira Sr. and Hazel Combs on March 21, 1958. He attended Inkster High and later East Lansing High where he completed his high school diploma. He then matriculated to Michigan State University where he pursued a Bachelors of Science Degree in Business Marketing. While studying at Michigan State, he was active in numerous extra curricular activities including serving as President of the National Pan Hellenic Council and the Student Media Appropriation Board, the Policy Committee and the President’s Board.
Upon the call of God in his life, Pastor Combs was baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit under the ministry of the late Bishop David L. Ellis, while attending Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. Shortly after, he received the call to the ministry and was sent out to Pastor in 1979 under the auspices of then District Elder William Warren of Christ Temple Church of Lansing. In the fall of 1980, Pastor Combs came to the City of Jackson and founded the Greater Bible Way Temple of the Apostolic Faith in a small building that seated twenty-five people. Also, in 1980, he was united in Holy Matrimony to Kimberly L. Marshall of Detroit, who has stood tirelessly with him in labor and love in the ministry and community endeavors. They are the parents of two children, Sarah and Ira III.
As the church family began to grow, an addition was built to the original structure in 1985 and was dedicated to God by the late Bishop Ross P. Paddock. Before this building endeavor was completed, the house was filled and it was time to build again. In the Spring of 1990, the octagon shaped sanctuary was completed with a seating capacity of 400. In 1994 a Board Room and Pastoral Office was added. In early 1996, new construction included an educational wing (currently Anew Horizon Childcare and Development Center), as well as the I&SC Activity Center that contains Grace Tutoring, Inc., a Library, Ministerial Offices, Barber/Beauty Salon, Women’s Lounge and Classrooms for Christian Education. Having obtained help from God, the vision continued in the year 2000 with the construction of a beautiful, spacious state-of-the-art Sanctuary that seats 1200. The expanded church complex is also the Headquarters of the Executive Offices of Christ Centered Homes, Inc., a human services and housing organization founded in 1989 by Pastor Combs.
As a result of God’s faithfulness, four progressive ministries have been birthed: Greater Bible Way Temple of Montgomery, Alabama (District Elder Timothy Johnson), Greater Bible Way Temple of Bay City, Michigan (Elder Rader Johnson), New Life Outreach Ministries, Bloomington, Indiana (Elder R. Christopher Reynolds), and Jesus Ministries International, Ypsilanti, Michigan (Elder Larry Clifton). In 1987, Bishop Combs founded and established Young Apostolic Students for Christ (Y.A.S.C.) which is a thriving campus fellowship/outreach ministry and auxiliary of the Greater Bible Way Temple. YASC offers a refuge and fellowship for those who have no watch-care, covering, or church while attending Michigan State University or for those who are seeking to know more about Jesus Christ.
An exceptional Bible Teacher, Community Leader, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Suffragan Bishop Combs has received many awards and accolades for his accomplishments. His genuine love for people, concern for the family structure, and ability to motivate and cultivate the human spirit is remarkable. We rejoice as we follow Suffragan Bishop Combs’ vision being continuously fulfilled for overall church growth, outreach, faith-based ministries, and new acquisitions for community development. The Greater Bible Way Temple Church Family is thankful unto God for giving us a pastor after His own heart.