Julius Caesar was famous for saying, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” You will learn from our history that we came, we saw, but we did not conquer. Rather we witnessed. For God conquered in our midst. Our history is based on His work not ours. For it is His Son’s church not ours.
Early in 2008, Pastor Vance and his wife sensed God’s call on their lives to be missionaries and start a new church. After much prayer, searching, being assessed by the North American Mission Board, they felt God sending them to the far corner of South Western Indiana in Evansville. They arrived in February 2012 knowing only three people. In time, they would see and be amazed how God steadily changed that and opened opportunity after opportunity for the Gospel.
Grace & Truth started meeting twice a month on Sunday evening at four for a bible study. We first met at the Central Library on Martin Luther King Blvd. Then we moved to the fellowship hall at Center of Hope Church. Next we met at Anthony’s Heavenly Cheesecake, a local Chicago style hot dog and cheesecake restaurant, on Main St. We were averaging around ten to twelve people during those early bible studies. God then led us to our current location on the corner of East Walnut St and Willow Road. In September 2012, we started meeting in the basement of Willow Road Baptist Church.
We did many outreaches around the city. We started to meet different people here and there. The bible study, which started with four, went to forty people around Christmas of 2012. During the spring of 2013, God led us to baptize two men that God brought into our community. We were blessed with seventy people on Palm Sunday to watch the first baptisms of Grace and Truth Community Church. In the month of April, we added small groups as we launched our missional communities in two homes in nearby neighborhoods.
Then in the month of May, something beyond our expectations happened to our small church plant. The community at Willow Road Baptist Church, where we had been meeting at since September 2012, gave us their building. We never anticipated having a whole building to meet in at such an early time in our history as a church. We then started to meet Sunday mornings at eleven in the sanctuary rather than the basement.
In May, we started to renovate the building. The building that was given to us was established in the 1920s. It needed some renovation especially in the children’s area and the exterior of the building. God provided the funds and the workers to make something old into something new. We were also given the opportunity to erect a new sign during the summer. All the renovation was done to the building in a short three months.
Up to this point, we had not officially legitimized ourselves as a church. A grand opening service or launch service is an important date in the life of church. It is the official first worship service for a church. On September 15th, 2013, Grace & Truth Community Church was launched. God provided a hundred and fifty-two in attendance that Sunday morning. It was a wonderful day to see what God had done in one years time. (You can read an article about it here.)
Since September 2013, we have continued to meet and grow, ebb and flow. God has provided more people to join our community as we grow into one healthy body unified under the leadership of Christ. The history of Grace and Truth Community Church continues to be written.
God creates history rather than men. We are all given the opportunity to simply witness and enjoy Him as He breathes life into dead and dark places. This is our history.