In 1985, a small group of people in Sturgis, Michigan began meeting to talk and pray about the possibility of beginning a new church in the Sturgis area. In the hearts of these people was the desire to form a fellowship where they could worship more freely and learn more about a deeper relationship with God through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This group invited Vic Hildebrand, a pastor and church planter from Goshen, Indiana to meet with them. When ten families were committed to this group and its vision, Vic, Ruth Ann and their children moved to Sturgis to begin building a new church. Under Vic's leadership, the group grew to a church of approximately two hundred people.
Spirit-led, inspiring worship became a hallmark of Grace Christian Fellowship right from the beginning. A strong outward looking youth group emerged, drawing many kids from the local high schools. The warm inviting atmosphere provided by the strong families at Grace ministered to others who were lonely or in need. Vic's connections to the world- wide church gave Grace a vision for participating in missions - a strength still present today.
In 1987, shortly after the church began, Ross and Jennifer Gerber and their three kids moved to Sturgis from Ontario, Canada, with the purpose of joining with the vision of Grace Christian Fellowship. Their hearts for short-term missions propelled the church into many mission's trips over the ensuing years. They served the church as Children's Ministry Directors and Ross became the Associate Pastor in 1991.
In 1998, Ross took over the Senior Pastor role at Grace. Since becoming the lead pastor, Ross has built a strong unified team of leaders who lead the congregation with wisdom and grace. By placing key leaders in significant roles, Grace has seen the birth of many strong leader teams in the various ministries of the church. "Grace" is not only a name, but a key element in our approach to leading and serving in the Body of Christ.
Ross' belief that we should enjoy life as we serve God has permeated our outlook and ministry style. We greatly enjoy our times of gathering together, often laughing as we explore how God would have us live and serve Him.
In the year 2000, Grace Christian Fellowship joined Life Links, an international organization of churches, as our overseeing body. We have had relationships with some of the leaders of Life Links for over twenty years. We govern ourselves autonomously through our Elder Board, but look to the men on the Life Links Council to provide accountability and an outside voice.
Presently, at Grace, we have a membership of around 300, with lots of young families and children. Our Youth Ministries, Broadband (College), Surge (Sr. High) and Rush (Jr. High), continue to grow through dynamic Sunday night meetings. Worship is a highlight of our services and continues to challenge us into a deeper walk with God.
We have one service on Sunday mornings and strive to maintain the "family feel" through our "Free Market" Small Group Ministry. Grace continues to build on the foundation laid over 22 years ago - "worshipping God and loving people."