In Philippians 1:6, the Apostle Paul assures the Philippian Church that God would finish the good work that he had started in them. We have this same assurance at Grace Church because it was God who started this good work over 30 years ago.
Grace Church was planted in 1988 after Randy and Sarah Thornton received numerous confirmations that God wanted them to start a new church in Moore County. They were “sent” from their home church, Manna Church in Fayetteville, NC and began meeting with a small group in their home. The group expanded and Grace Church officially moved from meeting in their homes to their first church building in 1995 where they met for approximately 5 years.
One of the pivotal points in Grace Church’s history came in 2005. Randy had been faithfully pastoring while also working multiple jobs to make ends meet, raising a family of four children with his wife, Sarah, yet it seemed as if Grace Church had hit a ceiling. For ten years the congregation remained under 100 people and there was a righteous urgency to further expand to reach the lost. After a season of fasting, praying, and fervently seeking God, a new vision and mission was solidified. Randy recounts how he felt God tell him, “I didn’t call you to plant a church, I called you to take the city.” It was at this point in 2005 that the vision of Grace Church was enlarged to reach many more people with the Gospel of the Kingdom. This vision included bringing unity to the body of Christ in Moore County and breaking down racial barriers through events such as March for Jesus and Pastors in Prayer where Randy met with other local Moore County pastors to seek the Lord in unity for their cities.
Perhaps the best word that describes the history of Grace Church is “faithfulness”. This is one of the many reasons God calls His people to remember the former things, as it reminds us of His faithfulness. Grace Church has truly experienced the miracles and the promises of God with a history full of “God stories” that can only be explained by the faithfulness of God. One of those “God stories” came in the 2000 when a door was opened to purchase the old Boot Scootin’ Saloon building and convert it to the new location for Grace Church (talk about a tangible example of “restoration” and “redemption”). Not long after that door opened did God allow Grace Church to continue to expand by building a new worship center in 2008 to accommodate the growing church family.
As Grace Church continued to grow, the Lord also began to stir a new passion for expansion and sending. Many families were sent to plant new churches or to partner with new ministries as part of the new vision to fill various cities and places of influence with the hope and salvation of Jesus. In 2000 Jimmy Currence, former Grace Church Youth Pastor, was sent to plant Grace Life Church in Columbia, SC. In 2005 Heath Caddell, former Grace Church Pastor, was sent to plant Reach Church in Leland, NC. Joe Adams and Brandon DiBianca, who both grew up at Grace Church, were sent to help plant Manna Churches in Colorado Springs, CO and Oahu, HI as part of the military highway church planting initiative. Grace Church has and continues to partner with and support various local, regional, and international ministries and is committed to training leaders and planting churches.
In 2012, Jimmy and Joanna Coxe were commissioned to launch Grace Church’s first multi-site in Seven Lakes, North Carolina. Jimmy and Joanna have been faithful members of Grace Church since 1990 , Jimmy has served as an elder and Joanna has led our children’s ministry and is currently serving in our small groups department. The Seven Lakes campus has been home to a growing number of people who attend from as far Montgomerey County. We are excited to see God’s Kingdom continue growing in the Sandhills region.
The leadership and staff teams of Grace Church continue to grow with a vision of filling the city with Jesus. Grace Church is called to be a house of prayer for all nations and a center of praise and worship. We believe that we are called to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. We’re just getting started and look forward to seeing what God does in the future.