It was late Spring 2003, Stan and Nancy Mitchell were restless in their hearts; something was up. Come to find out about a dozen of their friends were feeling the same way. After more than a few pointed conversations the decision was made to meet at the Mitchell’s house for prayer, brainstorming and heart-sharing. The object of these early meetings was to see if a sense of direction would develop. Over the next few months the original twelve grew into forty and, even more, a vision did indeed begin to come together. The vision, most generally put, was to build a new, Christ-honoring church in the Franklin/Brentwood area. So in August of that same year an elementary school in Brentwood was procured for GracePointe Church’s first official Sunday Service. To everyone’s pleasant surprise, about 130 people met in the school’s cafeteria on hard folding chairs (the same ones we would sit on for the next almost six years!)
Our earliest commitment was to settle an ideology which we believed was faithful to God and consistent with the historic Christian Church. GracePointe’s leadership chose as a Vision Statement words taken from the very lips of Christ: Loving God, Loving Self, Loving Others. The leaders also settled, after studying the historical church and many effective, contemporary churches, that these three loves have classically been expressed via nine chief streams of emphasis (for a fuller description, see “What We Believe”). These three loves and nine streams were from the beginning our ideological foundation, framing everything we have done and still do.
By January of 2004 we had outgrown the school’s cafeteria and moved to its gymnasium. In the ensuing years a staff of paid and unpaid (money that is) people steadily grew creating many systems of congregational care. The stories of the joys and heartbreaks we shared in the five years and nine months we sat on those hard chairs are too many to tell. Suffice it to say, an elementary school was turned into a house of God and a living-room dream transformed into a community of people who deeply loved God and were striving to love themselves and their neighbors in healthy, honest ways.
From the very beginning GracePointe’s leadership knew it was our responsibility to ultimately move this fledgling congregation to a permanent location. After several years of searching, fits, starts, disappointments and hopes, in late 2007, 23 beautiful acres of land, less than half a mile south of Cool Springs’ Brentwood/Franklin border were purchased by the church. On the back of immense financial commitment and sacrifice, the funds and financing were secured for the building of our present facility. After a year of dirt-moving, rock-blasting, steel-erecting, pavement laying, etc. etc., in April 2009, our church family celebrated its first Sunday at our new campus.
During the first year of our life in the new facility many things changed: new staff were added, we wrestled with an unforeseen recession and we experienced significant growth.
While all of that is exciting, even more heartening is the fact that the foundation, resolve, and ideology of that living-room group has not changed. If anything, the dedication to that early vision has only deepened. Our resolve as a church community to Love God, Love Self and Love Others has coalesced a group of Christ-followers into a very special family we affectionately call GracePointe.
Obviously these few paragraphs can’t possibly capture the full picture of who we are, where we’ve come from and where we’re going, but hopefully they give you a sense of our rich, love-filled story. And hopefully, they will cause you to come and see, and even better, become a part of the story that is GracePointe.