Our Story....... In 1998, a small Bible study group met for the first time at the little Glade Valley Presbyterian Church. This monthly study grew quickly to a weekly fellowship centered on 1 John 1:3. Our love of Jesus led us to share Wednesday evening fellowship in our homes where we focused our studies on the upper room discourse as recorded in the Gospel of John. By 2001, it became evident that the weekly Bible study should become a full-fledged church. On December 2, 2001, Grace Community Church (GCC) held its first service in the drama room at Alleghany High School. The church was thus born of a group of people with many and varied theological backgrounds, but whose deep love of Jesus bound them close. The emphasis on a deep love for, and a pure and simple devotion to, Jesus continues to be the common bond among us. We quickly outgrew the classroom and for a few years rented a building outside the town of Sparta. We moved to another rented facility (the old gymnasium converted to a music pavilion at the former Glade Valley School) when we needed more space. In 2005, God led us to purchase and pay in full for the property on Macedonia Church Road. In the spring of 2007 construction began and we moved into our building in December and paid off our mortgage in 2014.
ELDERS - GCC is an elder led church. Elders are undershepherds: men, called and prepared for leadership by God, who meet the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3. Jesus is the True Shepherd / “head” of the church and everyone else (including elders) form the body. The number of elders vary; their term of service is for life.
Proper biblical government by elders does strengthen the church, and the biblical norm for church leadership is a plurality of God ordained elders. Furthermore, it is the only pattern for church leadership given in the New Testament. Nowhere in Scripture do we find a local assembly ruled by majority opinion or by one pastor. It is the elders who were charged with teaching, feeding, and protecting the church, and it is the elders who are accountable to God on behalf of the church. “The Master’s Plan for the Church” by John MacArthur, page 204
DEACONS - The Greek word “diakonos”, which means “servant”, is translated as “deacon” in the New Testament. In reality, every member of GCC is a deacon (servant). In other words, every born-again believer has received at least one spiritual gift to be used to build up and serve the local body of Christ. GCC has men and women ordained as deacons who also meet the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3 and minister to the fellowship. These ordained deacons are chosen by the elders to be the servant leaders of the congregation and serve The Lord’s Supper. They foster unity and brotherly love in the fellowship, model the vision of the church, and their lives display true servant hood (ex. Jesus washing the disciples feet). The number (and term of service) of active ordained deacons may vary.
SPIRITUAL GIFTS – As previously stated, every born-again believer has received at least one spiritual gift to be used to build up and serve the local body of Christ. As we use our spiritual gifts, the Body of Christ will be edified, unified, and matured. Members are encouraged to discover their primary spiritual gift(s), and use them in the fellowship. As we serve God, His people, and the world through the spiritual gifts bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit, the love of God—the fullness of God—will be demonstrated, proclaimed, and manifested.
SALVATION / BAPTISM – Responding to God’s call through the Holy Spirit to a personal relationship with Jesus is the most important decision anyone can make. You may respond during the invitation to the front or call the Pastor, an Elder or a Deacon, or simply ask a trusted friend how you may receive the free gift of salvation. We strongly encourage Believer’s Baptism, as modeled by our Lord, but it is not a requirement for membership at GCC.
MEMBERSHIP - We welcome members by their statement that they have a personal relationship with Jesus and by transfer of letter from other churches. Anyone interested in joining GCC is asked to speak with the Pastor or an elder.
MISSIONS - We support missions; foreign, domestic and local. Ministries that focus on teaching and training indigenous people have become our focus. South America, Asia and Eastern Europe are some of the areas we support, as well as an aviation ministry in Alaska and a ministry to Thai students at Perdue University. We support Wycliffe Bible Translators and The Gideon’s International in getting God’s Word out. At home, support is provided for Samaritan’s Purse as they minister with disaster relief, Operation Christmas Child and Fellowship Raleigh. Support is provided locally to the Pregnancy Care Center and Solid Rock Food Closet. We grow potatoes on land the church owns and we have a root cellar for crop storage. Other needs are met as the Lord makes us aware of them. Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God has taught us “to find out where God is working and join Him”.
GOD’S WORD – Since we can’t read God’s Word as it was originally written, we must rely on translations. Our members are free to use any translation they are comfortable with, however we encourage a translation over a paraphrase.
TITHING / GIFTS – Members are encouraged to return a portion of what God has blessed them with as an offering to His church. Guest may participate only as prompted by the Holy Spirit, not by compulsion. God loves a cheerful giver.
Some core truths from our original studies of the upper room discourse still guide us. Provision: “Ask and you will receive” John 14:13; 15:7; 15:16; 16:23; 17:10 Unity: “I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you” John 14:20; 15:4-5; 17:11; 17:21 Love one another: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another” John 13:34-35; 15:12; 15:17 Protection: “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name” John 17:11-12; 17:15 Spirit/Christ’s Life: “Apart from me you can do nothing” John 14:12; 14:26-27; 15:5; 15:11; 15:15; 16:13; 16:15 In addition to the Holy Bible, we used the following resources: “Christ in Church Leadership” by Paul Winslow and Dorman Followwill “The Master’s Plan for the Church” by John MacArthur “The Master’s Plan for the Church” audio series by Chuck Swindoll “Now Go Forward” by David Eshleman.