Family. As Grace Community Church in Minden celebrates its 20th anniversary, everyone talks about the sense of family.
“This church is my life, it is my family,” said Founding Pastor Brian Borgman. “I am thankful for authentic Christian community here and there is no place I would rather be.”
Jean Strachan, a founding member of the church, agrees completely.
“The body of Christ at Grace is not only my spiritual, local family,” Strachan said. “They are my eternal family whom I love and who love me in return.”
If this sounds unique, Strachan insists that it shouldn’t be. She says that this kind of love and community is simply what a church is like.
Grace Community Church has gone through a lot to become this kind of family. A small group of people had a dream of starting a biblically grounded church in Carson Valley and so they began meeting and planning.
The group eventually had their first service on March 6, 1994, at Carson Valley Middle School. The service had 78 people in attendance. But even given that reasonably well-populated number, the first years were marked by constant uncertainty.
“The first year seemed to be filled with numerous challenges, heartaches and strange stories,” Borgman said. “The most vivid memory is probably going Sunday by Sunday, wondering if anyone would return the next week.”
Kary Grabow, another founding member of the church, still counts it as a surprise that a small handful of people made it through those early days. He partly attributes their perseverance to having a common goal.
“[Our family] started at the church even before we had official services,” Grabow said. “But from the beginning it was a close-knit group with a common desire to know, serve and glorify God.”
Borgman agrees that this community has been vital.
“God has brought together a vital, energetic, faith-filled family of believers,” Borgman said. “The Gospel knits us together and motivates us.”
Since those early years at Carson Valley Middle School, the church has also spent 10 years at a warehouse on Industrial Way in Gardnerville until moving to their own building on Heybourne Road in Minden in 2006.
The new building allowed them the stability of not setting up and tearing down seats and a sound system every Sunday. It also allowed the church to open Grace Christian Academy, a K-8 school open to the public.
In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Grace is holding a free conference March 7-9 entitled “Growing Into Christ: Yesterday, Today & Forever.” The conference features two renowned scholars from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., Tom Schreiner and Bruce Ware.
“To have these two men together at our conference is like having LeBron James and Kevin Durant playing at your charity basketball tournament,” Borgman said. “These men are friends and excellent teachers, so I am looking forward to sitting under their preaching.”
The conference is open to all. Details can be found at www.gracenevada.com.