The History of GVBC

According to the dictionary the word com-mu-ni-ty \ko-my-nat-e\ n. means, “a group of people with a common characteristic, belief or interest.”

 

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In the Beginning

in 1994, there were and still are many good churches in the area. Each had its own distinctives and appeal. But there was no “Bible church”. This is important for you to know because so often churches are formed as a splinter group of another church that split due to internal conflict. We were not formed that way. The church was an intentional start-up, offering independent Bible church distintives. Some people like that.

Here’s how it happened: back in early winter of 1995 the elders of Grace Community Church in Tyler, Texas were asked if they’d be interested in helping start a daughter church “up north” in the Garden Valley community. They said yes.

Next, a meeting was called locally for those who might be interested in being part of a new start-up. At that meeting, we determined that critical mass was adequate, and through prayer and seeking God’s good pleasure, we made a three-year agreement with Grace Community: they would provide initial funding as well as pastoral care; their elders would be our elders for those three years; and if we’d meet at night on Sundays, they would send a pastor each week to preach. We took all this as God’s blessing, and believing He would be pleased, we said yes.

In the Beginning

in 1994, there were and still are many good churches in the area. Each had its own distinctives and appeal. But there was no “Bible church”. This is important for you to know because so often churches are formed as a splinter group of another church that split due to internal conflict. We were not formed that way. The church was an intentional start-up, offering independent Bible church distintives. Some people like that.

Here’s how it happened: back in early winter of 1995 the elders of Grace Community Church in Tyler, Texas were asked if they’d be interested in helping start a daughter church “up north” in the Garden Valley community. They said yes.

Next, a meeting was called locally for those who might be interested in being part of a new start-up. At that meeting, we determined that critical mass was adequate, and through prayer and seeking God’s good pleasure, we made a three-year agreement with Grace Community: they would provide initial funding as well as pastoral care; their elders would be our elders for those three years; and if we’d meet at night on Sundays, they would send a pastor each week to preach. We took all this as God’s blessing, and believing He would be pleased, we said yes.

First Meeting Place

Where to meet? That’s was a good question. And as is our practice, we went first to the Lord in prayer, and He opened up a door of opportunity. We held our first official service on a Sunday night at Kaleo Lodge, about 6 miles north of the present location. From there we moved to a room at Garden Valley Country Club—still meeting on Sunday nights. When that opportunity ended, we met at the former Last Days Ministries campus (it was later Teen Mania). In 1996, the good folks at Union Chapel Methodist Church on Hwy. 110 let us use their sanctuary. Remember that up until now, a pastor from Grace Community Church had been driving up and preaching each Sunday evening.

Interim Pastor

1996 was the year we engaged our first full-time pastor (Greg Brandenburg), and the pastors from Grace Community Church no longer made the run from Tyler each Sunday night. Greg’s leadership took us into 1997, and yet a different meeting place. This time it was an auditorium made available by the generosity of Mercy Ships.

Our Own Property

1997 was also a strategic year, because it was then that we received a generous donation of 5 acres and a building. We acquired “the point,” that beautiful green island at the intersection of Hwy 110 and FM 1253 in Smith County. That location gave us a Lindale mailing address (though we’re not physically located in Lindale).

The building was originally built in the 1800’s as the area post office. The joists it still rests on today are the original hand hewn logs. The building had also been a community center, a pizza place, and several other things over the years. But now it is Garden Valley Bible Church.

We had a permanent footprint with a real address, and a sign out front. Visitors no longer had to search for the place we would be meeting that month. You could almost feel the roots starting to be put down. It was good.

Our Own Property

1997 was also a strategic year, because it was then that we received a generous donation of 5 acres and a building. We acquired “the point,” that beautiful green island at the intersection of Hwy 110 and FM 1253 in Smith County. That location gave us a Lindale mailing address (though we’re not physically located in Lindale).

The building was originally built in the 1800’s as the area post office. The joists it still rests on today are the original hand hewn logs. The building had also been a community center, a pizza place, and several other things over the years. But now it is Garden Valley Bible Church.

We had a permanent footprint with a real address, and a sign out front. Visitors no longer had to search for the place we would be meeting that month. You could almost feel the roots starting to be put down. It was good.

Full Time Pastor

In 1998 our founding pastor moved on to take a teaching position at a Christian school, and we called Dallas Seminary graduate Bob Smith as our pastor.

The old “post office” has gone through several rounds of expansion to make room for growth. We switched from meeting on Sunday night to Sunday morning. We did that, by the way, to be more available to the community—and Sunday morning worked out just fine.

Let Us Write You In

We invite you to visit us, try on our distinctives and see if they might be a fit for you. Come as you are, and help us write the next chapter together.