OVERVIEW

As we look back at the history of Grace Church, we see God’s faithfulness as the vision has grown and developed over the years. This past December we celebrated the completion of one decade of our 30 in 30 vision!  As we enter 2023, we again see God opening up another chapter of vision that we are calling Through All For All. We believe that the opportunities present in our community have the potential to impact the next two decades of ministry for the Norton Campus. Scroll below to learn more about the four year initiatives of partnerships, pipeline, property and parenthood!

Join us for an in person vision meeting

Sunday January 29th @ 9:30, 11 and 7

Sunday February 5th @ 9:30, 11 and 7

No need to RSVP

GIVE

MAKE A COMMITMENT

Make a pledge to give regularly over the next couple of years to the Through All For All initiative. Fill out the form below to let us know and then begin giving when you are ready. 

GIVE A ONE-TIME GIFT

If you would like to give a one-time gift that goes directly to the Through All For All projects, you can do so here:

I’D LIKE MORE INFORMATION

If you have any questions or are interested in exploring alternative giving options, our finance department can help make the arrangements.

Contact Monika Kirbawy at mkirbawy@graceohio.org.

MORE INFO

Partnerships

A tithe was a practice in the Old Testament where the Israelites gave 10% of the crops they grew and the livestock they raised to the tabernacle/temple. (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). A tithe was not all they gave as various yearly offerings likely accounted closer to 23%. The New Testament continues the expectation of giving, but rather with a standard of generosity. As a church family, our desire is to give away the first 10% to gospel centered partnerships around the world. Over the course of these 4 years, we would like to support Restore Addiction Recovery, Shoulder to Shoulder and Feed My Starving Children.

SHOULDER TO SHOULDER

In 2000, John and Rachel Reaser became self-supported missionaries in what they thought would be a short-term project. After working for six years to help plant a church in central Mexico, they became challenged with a great need to come alongside national Mexican pastors of new, young, or struggling churches. They provide mentorship, training, encouragement, counseling, resources, and accountability. In this way, through partnership and relationship, they have become an integral part of helping these churches become strong and successful. This short-term project has turned into a lifelong passion to establish and edify churches in Mexico.

We are excited about what God is doing through the ministry of Shoulder to Shoulder (STS) Mexico and the many ways that Grace Church has been involved in the development of this mission! As they boldly move forward by faith into their next chapter, they believe that God is leading them to plant a new STS base in the city of Durango Mexico. Durango is similar in size to Mazatlán with 700,000 people. It is 2 1/2 hours away from Mazatlán, up into the mountains. They believe that the close proximity will allow collaboration between the bases for this first expansion. The expansion of STS will mean that the Mazatlán base will become a training center for missionary teams, preparing them to launch new STS bases around the world. This will require more space at STS Mazatlán and they plan to purchase a nearby property that will allow them to move their offices and add space for teams at the training center.

RESTORE ADDICTION RECOVERY

Restore Addiction Recovery is a long-term, residential addiction treatment and recovery program that is Christ-centered, biblically based, and clinically-supported to transform the lives of those struggling with drug and/or alcohol addiction. In 2020 a 15,000 sq/ft, 60-bed facility opened to men struggling with drug and/ or alcohol addiction with a deep desire to change. Grace Church of Greater Akron gave significantly towards the construction and opening of the facility. During the Norton Campus’s Big Picture Project, we funded the Kitchen at the Restore facility. Since it’s inception in January 2021, Restore has seen 98 men accepted into their program. 8 graduates have completed the full 12-month program with 100% having secured full-time employment.

FEED MY STARVING CHILDREN

Every year, millions of children die from preventable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and undernutrition. Hunger is still causing nearly half of deaths in children under 5 years old. From this data, we estimate at least 6,200 children die each day from causes related to undernutrition. This is heartbreaking.

Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) believes hope starts with food. As a Christian nonprofit, FMSC is dedicated to seeing every child whole in body and spirit. FMSC works with food distribution partners that stay with communities for the long haul, empowering them to move from relief to development.

FMSC meals are developed by food science and nutrition professionals to supplement nutritional needs and reduce problems with malnutrition. Nutrition allows children to grow, thrive and develop to their full potential.

Since 2010, the Norton Campus has hosted FMSC Mobile Pack events. MobilePack events provide a unique volunteer experience as people of all ages and walks of life join together for one cause: to feed starving children around the world. Over the past decade.

Pipeline

Grace College and Seminary

At Grace, we’re committed to investing in leadership development. The greatest need to fuel and sustain the movement of the church is not more money or people, but more equipped and engaged workers/leaders. We intend to direct substantial energy and resources to the continued growth and development of Grace Church’s Internship/Resident Program as well as our 360 Intern-ship Program designed to energize and equip our high school students to be on mission for Christ. Grace College Akron offers a 4-year Bachelor of Science degree in Biblical Studies. In the fall of 2021, we began offering seminary classes for students who are pursuing Master’s level Christian education at the Norton Campus.

Internship Program

Our Internship Program exists to develop next-generation leaders for the 30 in30 vision and offers fully accredited ministry degrees through Grace College. This is the largest opportunity for new leaders to get their feet wet at one of our campuses and be trained for full-time ministry. Funds raised through this campaign will allow us to support our current interns and expand the future program.

Resident Program

This program combines three basic elements of discipleship in a dynamic and interactive curriculum. First, students will be trained in the Bible and earn a Seminary degree. Secondly, students will develop competency by applying their academic training through Ministry Leadership opportunities under the close guidance of a pastor or director. Thirdly, students are encouraged in the growth of character and coached through the practical aspects of Christian life. We currently have two full-time residents.

360 Internship Program

The 360 Program is aimed at high school students creating intentional opportunities for equipping, discipleship, and ministry experiences. Our desire is to raise up an army of Christ-followers who are not only grounded in the Bible, but wholeheartedly love God and passionately engage in His mission to reach the world around them – this will be our greatest legacy. Ten Norton Campus students participated in this program in the summer of 2022.

Residents

Ethan Taylor

My favorite part about my residency is having so many gifted and wise leaders pouring into me, and that I get to do something that matters. The Pastors and Directors allow us the opportunity to do ministry, and dive into the deep end. I truly get to work with an amazing team.”

Garret Hursh

What I love most about the resident program is that I get to learn how to do ministry and serve God’s people through a medium that I am extremely passionate about! I am so blessed that God placed me here at Grace, and that I get the chance to grow closer to him through leading others and spreading the Gospel!”

Interns

Jonah Hall

Aubreigh Myers

Logan Cross

Samantha Ashenfelter

Ministry Assistants

Grace Sommer

Joe Ritchie

Property

Our desire in this initiative is to literally pave the way toward the future. We recognize that our park-ing lot is in serious need of attention. For those interested in specific detail, we have identified three distinct sections of our parking lot based upon past endeavors. Below is our overall recommended plan to appropriately address our parking lot for years to come.

PAVEMENT AROUND THE CHURCH:

The church property was developed in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. Asphalt was laid approximately 90 feet west of the west parking lot building entrance and south of the building. Test borings in this area generally indicated 3 feet of medium dense or stiff clay fill over soft soils. Little to no solid asphalt pavement was present in the cores. This area will need to have a full depth replacement (4 inches of asphalt).

SOUTHWEST PARKING LOT:

The southwest parking area was a gravel parking lot that was constructed during the development of the church facility 1990’s. Asphalt was placed sometime in the mid to late 1990’s, according to histor-ic aerial photos. Test borings in this area generally indicated soft to medium stiff soils directly below the asphalt pavement. Little to no solid pavement was present in the cores. This area will need to have a full depth replacement (4 inches of asphalt). The pavement subgrade in this section will be un-stable during construction. Additional cost to stabilize this subgrade should be anticipated. This area will need a full depth reclamation to provide a stable surface to support pavement operations.

NORTHERN PARKING LOT:

The northern parking lot section was paved around 2004 with asphalt pavement. The western region of this section was grass and woods. Test borings in this area generally indicated soft to medium stiff soils directly below the pavement. At least 5 inches of solid pavement was present in the cores. We will plan to resurface this pavement section. The standard resurface is 1.75 inches of asphalt over a layer of chip/seal. The chip/seal helps prevent reflection cracks.

Parenthood

The purpose of Grace Church is to ignite a gospel centered movement by knowing it, living it and giving it away. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ. This purpose is what drives us individually and corporately. The 30 campuses in 30 years vision is accomplished only by God’s Holy Spirit doing immeasurably more than we ask or imagine and by resilient disciples who commit to make disciples who make disciples. Looking back on our past helps pave the path forward to our future!

BARBERTON BIBLE CHURCH (1944)

In 1944 a Pastor by the name of Richard Markel and a small band of people, decided it was time to make a move because the denomination they belonged to was not preaching the gospel. He resigned and a handful of people moved with him to Edgewood Park in Barberton where they formed the Barberton Bible Church. This handful of people became the seed out of which would eventually grow Grace Church.

1st BRETHREN CHURCH OF BARBERTON (1958)

As you can imagine this small group of people struggled to survive as a church but they never quit. In 1958 they became part of what is now known as the Charis Fellowship. On October 27, 1958 the 1st Brethren Church of Barberton was born with 11 charter members.

3970 CLEVELAND MASSILLON ROAD PROPERTY (NORTON, OH 1959)

With no permanent home, in 1959 they purchased land at 3970 Cleveland Mass Road in Norton for $15,000. This group of people met in a cheese factory in Norton while the ground was prepared and the building constructed.

CHURCH GOES SELF SUPPORTING (1971)

Up until this time they had been financially helped by other outside organizations until 1971 when they decided to go self-supporting as they grew and more people were introduced to this message of the gospel! This was a move that was marked by sacrifice and generosity to invest in something that would outlast them.

PASTOR BOB COMBS ARRIVES

In 1973 a short and good-looking pastor (Pastor Bob) became their pastor. He provided incredible leadership and vision and a determination to accept people where they are to take them where they needed to go. When he arrived the average attendance was 64 and by 1977 it had increased to 148.

EXPANSION PROJECTS (1973)

By 1981 our church family had outgrown their facility and needed to build a larger auditorium, restrooms, and a place for offices. Ground was broken on May 23, 1982. In 1988 as the church continued to experience growing pains the people decided to make another investment and add educational space, a gym and a kitchen. They broke ground in 1991.

BATH CAMPUS IS LAUNCHED (2000)

In the fall of 1999, Fairlawn Grace Brethren sought to partner with Grace Church after facing serious struggles and a lack of leadership. Pastor Jeff Bogue was called as the pastor along with a number of families from Norton in January 2000.

MEDINA EAST CAMPUS IS LAUNCHED

Similar to the origin of the Bath Campus, Shepherd’s Grace Brethren Church in Medina approached us about the possibility of becoming our third campus. In 2012, the Medina East Campus launched with Pastor Tony Livigni and hundreds of others from Grace Church begin a new work on the Eastside of Medina.

BARBERTON CAMPUS IS LAUNCHED

For years, Grace Church had recognized a void of evangelical presence in the area and sent people from both the Norton and Bath Campus’ to begin this new work. The Barberton Campus publicly launched on Easter of 2015. The Norton Campus continues to serve as the parent of the Barberton Campus.

THE MORTAGE HAS BEEN PAID! (2017)

SUNDAY EVENING SERVICE IS LAUNCHED (2017)

GYM AND LOBBY RENOVATION (2017)

Continued growth at the Norton Campus meant that some adjustments needed to be made to our building. One of our values is that we do the best with everything we have. Previously our lobby served as a pinch point on Sunday mornings creating an intimidating setting for guests. In the midst of the Big Picture Project, we choose to make the space accessible to our gym by creating openings into our gym wall thus creating our café experience.

AKRON EAST CAMPUS AND TOWN CENTER ARE LAUNCHED (2017)

2017 was a big year for Grace Church. One of our very own pastors, Jonathan Carey was leading a small church in Ellet when he and his elders courageously decided to become a campus of Grace Church in order to make Jesus make sense to more people.

COUNTY LINE CAMPUS IS LAUNCHED (2018)

About 17 miles to the west is the town of Sterling. This is the town where our very own Bob Combs was a pastor in his early 20’s. Through a series of events that we could have never orchestrated, this became the location of our County Line Campus. With 179 Grace Church households in the vicini-ty, knowledge of a younger demographic that exists near Sterling and an offer of a debt free church building we launch the County Line Campus with Christian McAllister as their campus pastor.

GATHERING POINT IN SOUTH CAROLINA IS LAUNCHED (2020)

THE HUB IS DEMOLISHED (2021)

OFFICE AND STUDENT SPACE RENOVATION (2022)

FAQ

WHAT IS OUR GOAL WITH THROUGH ALL FOR ALL?

We want to invite all of us who love and follow Jesus into His vision for His church.  Our hope is…

  1. Through All of Us a movement of prayer might ignite so that we could be a part of what He is doing not simply what we can do.
  2. Through All of Us a culture of discipleship might stir that invites people in our lives to follow Jesus as we follow Jesus.
  3. Through All of Us a mindset of investment would erupt that lives in a way that although people may never remember our names the name of Jesus would be famous FOR ALL GENERATIONS!
WHAT IS THE FINANICAL GOAL OF THROUGH ALL FOR ALL?

Our goal is to raise close to 2 million over the next 4 years to fully fund the four areas in Through All For All.

PIPELINE: $680k – $780k

PROPERTY: $800k

PARENTHOOD: $120k -$220k

(sub) TOTAL: $1.6m – $1.8m

TITHE (PARTNERSHIPS): $160k- $180k

TOTAL:  $1,760,000 – $ 1,980,000

WHAT IF WE RAISE MORE OR LESS THAN OUR GOAL?

Each of our areas can be scaled according to the generosity of the church. If we raise more, we will be able to allocate more to each area. Likewise, the projects can be scaled down to be good stewards of our resources.

HOW MUCH WILL BE ALLOCATED TO MINISTRY PARTNERS?

One of the values of Grace Church is that we actively seek ministry partnerships.  We work purposefully to maximize impact for God’s Kingdom through strategic partners. Grace Church cannot go it alone, and we will leverage strengths of diverse organizations and churches to pursue the movement to which God has called us.  Ten percent of dollars committed will be shared with ministry partners.

IS INVESTING IN NEXT GENERATION LEADERS A HIGH PRIORITY?

Just as a portion of every initiative will go to launch and fund new campuses, a portion also helps to fund our intern and resident program. Investing in future leaders will always be a priority in our vision to plant 30 campuses in 30 years.

WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND PARENTHOOD?

Grace Church currently has eight Campuses.  Within those eight campuses, two of them are what we consider parent campuses: Norton and Bath.  What that means is that they take primary responsibility in funding, coaching, and providing support to their children campuses.  As a campus matures, they become self-supporting.  Norton has the privelege to parent the Barberton, County Line and Gathering Point (South Carolina) Campuses of Grace Church.

We hope you’ll find that Grace is somewhere that you can feel comfortable to explore faith, ask questions, grow spiritually, and connect with others. And most importantly, of course, we hope you connect with God!