Twenty years ago today my lifelong friend, Rick Long, and myself started Grace Church. We were two little twirps in their early twenties who couldn’t find their theological rears with both of their theoretical hands if they tried. But God used us anyway. Neither of us were seminary trained. Rick was a manager at a tire store and I was an ex-roofer who was crashing at Rick’s house. I guess you could say that I was technically homeless and definitely clueless! I had no idea what we were getting into…the ride of our lives!
Starting with 23 people in a friend’s living room (our good friend Brad Holder may he rest in peace) we launched our first service. Twenty years later the church is well over 2,500 people and, most exciting for us, has seen 65% of the congregation come to Christ through the ministries of the church. That is an amazing percentage of new conversion growth! How did this happen? By giving the gospel in every service, every week and inviting our congregation to relentlessly invite their friends, neighbors, family and co-workers out to the church!
Although I resigned almost a decade ago from being the preaching pastor I will always hold this wonderful church close to my heart. Since then, Rick and the elders at Grace have done an amazing job at leading this body of believers into God’s purposes for the church.
Everywhere I go I hold Grace up as an example of how to do church. In spite of an ugly building and a nominal budget this church is rocking the community with the good news and they are unleashing the body of Christ who call themselves Grace Church members to lead the way.
To read more about our crazy beginnings and see the first places that we met in our early years click here.
To Jim, Rick, Bob and the other leaders at Grace I am very proud of you and count it an honor to have been a part of this church for so many years. May your next twenty years be even more blessed!