The First Year
I was first introduced to the ministry of Grace Baptist Church in the fall of 2016. After a brief phone call with a friend, I sent my resume to the pulpit committee and the Lord began to knit our hearts together.
February 12th was the anniversary of the beginning of my ministry as the pastor of Grace Baptist Church. Moving to a new town, new schools, new jobs, new home, and making new friends can be exciting, but it can also be a fearful thing.
The first year is a year of transition and learning. It is a year of learning for the church. It is a time of learning about a new family, a new pastor, and a new friend. It has been my prayer that more than anything the people of Grace Baptist Church would learn that I love the Lord, I love His Word, and I love them.
It has been a year of learning for me as well. I have learned many things this past year but I would like to share three specific facts that cause me to look forward with excitement and anticipation of what God is going to do in this ministry.
1. We have a great heritage.
When I was first contacted about Grace Baptist Church I began to research the history of this ministry. I quickly learned that our church has had some godly pastors and a tremendous heritage. Each of the 5 previous pastors has made their own impact on our ministry for which I am grateful.
It was in the late 1950s, Pastor Paul Vincent was led of the Lord to start Grace Baptist Church in Anderson, Indiana. The first service was held at the Anderson YWCA on October 30, 1957. Twelve people gathered for this meeting. The Clark family was the first family at Grace, and were instrumental in praying the church into being. Grace Baptist Church began regular services in the north half of a building at 1417 Brown Street. The other half was a beauty shop. The first day of services at Brown Street was January 12, 1958. Soon the church bought land of its own and held its official charter service on April 30, 1958.
On May 24, 1959 the church extended a call to Pastor James Puz. It was during his pastorate, the first building was constructed.
Dr. Don Camp was the third pastor of Grace Baptist Church. It was under his leadership that the church’s membership grew. During the ministry of Dr. Camp Indiana Christian Academy would become a prominent ministry of Grace. Also, the bus ministry which has been used to impact our community was started and flourished.
Dr. Leigh Crockett became the fourth senior pastor of Grace. Pastor Crockett has implemented many new designated Sundays and activities including hosting a church camp, Wednesday night fellowships, small groups Sunday School classes, praise services, Family Reunion Sunday, gym nights, Sanctity of Life Sunday, ICA/GBC Blood Drive, Civil Leaders Sunday, couples retreat, and Blue and White Sunday.
Pastor Josh Crockett was called by the church on December 26, 2004 to come back to his home church to serve as associate pastor. Later Josh would become the fifth pastor of grace. Through God's grace, the church and school grew numerically, financially and spiritually.
These men along with the countless staff and members of the congregation have faithfully served the Lord for the past 60 years. The fact that Grace Baptist Church has influenced many is evident in our community. I am so thankful for the heritage that we have at Grace and look forward to continuing the work of those before us.
2. We have great people.
For me there is nothing greater than being a part of the family of God and a member of a local church. I have been blessed to be a member of some wonderful churches throughout my life. What makes Grace a wonderful church is the focus on the Word of God and the people that make up the congregation.
We have all heard stories of churches that are not friendly or loving. I am glad to say that this is not the case at Grace Baptist Church. Coming to Grace one will find a congregation that is faithful, caring, and fun to be around. Throughout its history Grace has maintained an atmosphere of love--people that love God, love their pastor, love the lost, and love each other. This is still true today. As with any church none of us are perfect, but there is no place I would rather be than worshipping with the members of Grace Baptist Church. The people of Grace Baptist Church are family.
3. We have a great future.
Our future is great because God is still on the throne. We can rest assured that the God that worked through our ministry in the past is still working today and will continue to do so. He is faithful and that great faithfulness gives us the hope we need to carry on the work of the ministry.
Our future is great because of the people God has brought to Grace. Grace is filled with people that truly want to see God work, but also desire to be a part of what He is doing here in the ministry. God has brought us together and has gifted each of us to minister here at Grace. Whether we are on staff or a layperson each of us have a part in the ministry. God has given us all we need to continue His work here in Anderson.
It didn’t take long for Grace Baptist Church to become home for me and my family. The love that has been shown to us has been overwhelming and for that we are grateful. It is amazing to think that we have been here for a year. We are thankful for all that God has done this past year and we look forward with great excitement and anticipation to see all that God is going to do through the ministry of Grace Baptist Church in the years to come.