Greenleaf begins with Grace and her daughter, Sophia, returning home for her older sister, Faith’s funeral. She makes the driver stop halfway to the house, stating she wanted to stretch her legs a little. The driver is puzzled and tells her how often his own mother came to Cavalry and gave money. Grace gives him some money telling him it not a tip, but a refund for his mother. She and her daughter admire the lake nearby. When they finally make it up the road to the house they are met by Noah, the groundskeeper and head of security for the Greenleaf estate. He escorts them to the big house, Sophia notices the romantic tension between them. At the big house Grace is warmly greeted by her father, Bishop James Greenleaf, who hugs her tightly not wanting to let go. Her mother, Mae, insists she speak to her uncle, Mac. When she greets her mother, the Mae asks her to tell her that she is not there to cause trouble. Grace insists she is not and will only be there for two days.
Later, at the funeral James eulogizes his daughter, stating her death is inexplicable by mortal standards and that God knows better than we did why Faith had to be taken away. Back at the house, the family prepares for dinner. Grace’s younger sister, Charity, insists she has to put on more makeup to outshine Grace. Meanwhile, Grace’s older brother continues to text on his phone while his wife, Kerissa and daughter get ready for dinner. Sophia asks her mother about her history with Noah, but she is too busy trying to reconnect with her maternal aunt, Mavis, on the phone. She promises to come visit her later that night.
At dinner, Kerissa inquires about Grace’s religious life and the church she attends in Phoenix. Grace shocks them when she reveals she is not a pastor there, and only attends church on Easter and Christmases. Kerissa inquires more about her spirituality, believing one is not a true Christian if they do not attend church regularly. Grace tells them she now believes all kinds of trying are paths to God and trying to be connected to everything around them. Mae and Kerissa dismiss her beliefs as nonsense even when her father tries to change the subject. Jacob continues to text on his phone while his wife tries to make a point. Charity tells her father she is ready to lead a sermon of her own. Her father is reluctant, however, feeling she is fine as a minister of music, and preaching to the children at church. Charity insists she is ready and suggests a twelve part message about the seasons of marriage. Everyone, but Grace, laughs off her attempts and ideas. When Grace tries to support her Charity dismisses her. Grace tells them she only wanted to speak up and came to visit to pay her respects to Faith, and that she blames her mother for her sister’s suicide. Mae demands she be quiet and her father ends dinner, and tells her he will see her at church tomorrow.
After dinner, Jacob admonishes Kerissa for attacking his sister. She in turn tries to warn him that she could take his place at the next pastor at their church and wanted to show James how far she had fallen. She then tells him to tell his “side piece” to text him less, and that she will not be disrespected. James and Mac learn that their church will be audited by the federal government to make sure everything is being done by the book. Later that night, Kevin comforts Charity after they watch The Bachelor, he tells her she does not have to make up things to get her father’s favor or outdo Grace. He then asks her does she want to have a baby. She is thrilled that he is finally ready to be a father.Grace takes one of her father’s cars to go and visit her aunt at her blues club. There, they embrace each other warmly and tearfully. She and Mavis catch up, and the latter soon tells her that her uncle, Mac, is still up to no good. A young girl went to the police precinct a few weeks ago claiming he had violated her. A few weeks later she went back and recanted everything. Only Mavis, Grace, and Mac know this. She tells her that her informant is a friend on the police force. Elsewhere, Noah and his fiancee, Isabel, hook up; while Sophia and her cousin snort Rittalin.
The next day at church, Charity leads the praise service. The congregation seems moved. Elsewhere in the church, Jacob’s mistress is revealed to be James’ assistant. They have sex in an empty room in the church. James preaches a sermon about missing an old friend and how good it is to see them after years of being away. Grace realizes his sermon is about her and that it is time for her to return home and right her family’s wrongs. She comes to altar call and is embraced by her father. Their reunion is cut short as he tends to the rest of the newcomers. That night, Grace calls Mavis and asks her can she get the name of the girl Mac hurt. Mavis thinks she can get it from her friend on the police force, but only agrees to do it if Grace pr