It all started with four couples in a living room. Both in 1980 in Baltimore, Maryland and again in 2007 in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania, God moved in the hearts of His people to form a new expression of His love — a place and a family called Grace Fellowship Church.
For over 30 years, Grace Fellowship Church has been a movement of God impacting thousands of people’s lives with the Good News of Jesus Christ. What began as a seed in Baltimore way back in 1980 has developed into an army of devoted followers of Christ, committed to joining Jesus in transforming the world — one life at a time.
The Shrewsbury story begins something like this. After 12 years as a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Timonium, Maryland, Jeff Smith and his wife Tracy were led of God to begin an expression of Grace Fellowship Church in Shrewsbury, Pennsylvania. They envisioned a movement of God’s grace that would reach the lost and heal the wounded throughout Southern York County. They envisioned an army of people who’s lives had been radically transformed by the love and power of Jesus Christ. They envisioned a growing and vibrant fellowship of those who wanted to be used by God to reach others with the Gospel of Grace.
Jeff and Tracy and their three children were joined by three other families; the Franz’s, the Schreiber’s and the McElvoys’s in forming the first Shrewsbury “House Church”. The families dreamed together about the future of a Grace Fellowship Church in Southern York County.
With the blessing of the elders and congregation of Grace Fellowship Church Timonium, Jeff and Tracy cast a vision for this exciting new adventure, and 80 people initially signed up to support them in prayer and organizational matters. The team grew over the year of preparation into 120 people on eight teams working toward the grand opening of Grace Fellowship Church Shrewsbury in the gym of the Shrewsbury Elementary School. On October 14, 2007, there were 289 adults and 65 children in attendance on opening day, and lives began being transformed.
In December of 2007, Kelly Willie joined the Grace Shrewsbury team as Director of Worship Arts. Kelly’s giftedness and the teams which God developed through her leadership brought the Sunday morning experience to a whole new level of worship and Kingdom engagement. The word of this new movement in Shrewsbury began to quickly spread and in short time the congregation outgrew the elementary school facility. New house churches were being born, more and more people were coming to Christ and the Children’s Ministry was “bursting at the seams”.
Once again Pastor Jeff cast a vision – this time to move to a more permanent location where more people could be reached for the cause of Christ. A capital campaign began on May 2, 2008 and the congregation prayed that the Lord would provide the vacant K-mart “on the hill” as the perfect location for the church’s next and permanent location. By the grace of God, and with the assistance of Grace Fellowship Church Timonium, the lease was signed, the building was renovated and our first service “on the hill” was held on October 11, 2009. There were 487 adults, 153 children and 61 youth in attendance on the first Sunday in the new building.
In 2010, local governance was established with a Grace Fellowship Church Shrewsbury elder board and church over-seers, a broader vision for the Youth Ministry was birthed with the arrival of a new Youth Director, and in 2011 a new Director of Operations joined into a continued effort to move Grace Fellowship Shrewsbury to independent status for greater community impact. In April, 2011, Grace Fellowship Church Shrewsbury saw her largest gathering to date with 1,358 people in attendance.
At this time, there are approximately 1,200 people who call Grace Fellowship Church Shrewsbury their church home. With over 250 people in small groups, over 300 people involved in ministry and more and more being added daily to our number, by God’s Grace, Grace Fellowship Church Shrewsbury is recognized as one of the fastest growing churches in America – growing for God’s Glory to make famous the Name of Jesus!