Gilbert Earl Patterson was born September 22, 1939 in the parsonage next door to the Church of God in Christ in Humboldt, Tennessee. He is the son of the late Bishop William Archie Patterson, Sr., and Mary Louise Patterson. He is the brother of the late Elder William Archie Patterson, Jr.; Evangelist Mary Alice Patterson Hawkins; Tennessee 4th Jurisdictional Supervisor of Women Mother Lee Ella Patterson Smith; and Evangelist Barbara Patterson Davis.
He was saved in May of 1951 at the age of 11 at Holy Temple church of God in Christ, 1254 Wilson St., Memphis, Tennessee where Bishop W. A. Patterson, Sr., was Pastor. At that time, a revival was being conducted by Elder Johnny Brown. n May of 1952, the Patterson family moved to 1695 Chicago Boulevard, in Detroit, Michigan. While in Detroit, at the age of 16, Gilbert Patterson received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost on Sunday night, September 16, 1956 at his father’s church, New Jerusalem Church of God in Christ, 7361 Linwood Avenue. One month later, the Lord called him into the gospel ministry. He preached his first sermon on Tuesday night, January 22, 1957. The sermon text was Isaiah 59:9; his subject was “We Wait For Light, But We Walk In Darkness.” He was licensed by his father in March of 1957 and was ordained by Bishop J. S. Bailey on August 28, 1958.