The story of Grace Fellowship is filled with God’s loving, providential hand, guiding, meeting needs, and growing a unified community of faith. As with any story, details can be lost, but here are some highlights to provide insight into our journey thus far.
- 1994: Grace Fellowship begins with five families as a church plant – a new work in Northern Kentucky out of an Evangelical Free Church from Milford, Ohio. These families met early-on in homes, praying for God to move and bless this new work.
- 1996: Brad Bigney becomes the first full-time pastor, moving his family from South Carolina to Northern Kentucky. Early on, Brad and the leaders establish a focus to not be a program-driven church, but to give primary attention to four core values:
God-Focused Worship. The congregation is the choir and we celebrate God’s greatness, holiness, and the good news of Jesus.
Orthodox Bible Preaching and Teaching. God’s Word is treated as absolutely sufficient and authoritative for faith and practice.
Small Groups are central to how people grow best in their walk with God as they build community and do life up close to one other.
Biblical Counseling as intensively focused discipleship, believing the Bible has real answers for life’s most difficult struggles.
These four core values gave birth to what is referred to as the “Big Rocks” that guide the church to this day.
- 1997-2002: Grace Fellowship meets on Sundays, worshipping in a variety of locations… mostly in schools. New people continue to come in spite of not having a building. The church grew deeper in fellowship and broader in numbers. In 1997, a piece of property on Gunpowder Road, then a rural road on the edge of Florence, was purchased to build a building.
- 2002: Grace Fellowship moves into their own building and within two weeks had to transition to two services because of the growing attendance – from 500+ to more than 800 people.
- 2002-2011: Grace Fellowship expands educational space and moves to three services to accommodate the new believers God adds to the church. In this time, the biblical counseling ministry expands to become an ACBC Certified Training Center, student ministry gains momentum, and small groups increase, spreading out in locations across the region. Grace sends our first missionary overseas and the Elders begin to ask, “what would God have for us next?”
- 2012: Grace Fellowship becomes a multi-site church, launching a second campus in Newport. Peter LaRuffa is sent from Florence to be the Campus Pastor and more than 150 of GFC’s faithful go to establish this new work.
- 2014: Grace Fellowship moves the Newport Campus to a new location in Fort Thomas, creating a centralized office for this Campus.
- 2015-2017: Attendance at both campuses increases in numbers. Fort Thomas Campus adds a second service to meet the attendance needs.
- 2018: With weekly attendance approaching 2000, support for substantial missional work both locally and internationally, GFC begins plans for a third campus.
The story of Grace Fellowship continues to be written as we witness what only Christ can do as He uses a variety of people with various gifts who depend on Him to build His church. As a church, we give all glory to God. As Psalm 115:1 says, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Grace Fellowship continues to celebrate, amazed at what God is doing.