Most of the charter members of Grace Bible Church had their roots in the Nacogdoches Presbyterian Church (USA). In the 1930's and 1940's, the Presbyterian Sunday School literature questioned divine inspiration and the infallibility of the scriptures. Some of the teachers objected to this departure from orthodox doctrine. As a result, a judicial commission from the Presbyterian Church came to investigate the Nacogdoches church. After discussions with the Sunday school teachers, the protesters were relieved of their teaching duties. The following Sunday, the teachers were publicly dismissed from the pulpit and new teachers were appointed.
Soon thereafter in the fall of 1940, thirty-six people who were committed to the fundamentals of the Christian faith organized what is known today as Grace Bible Church. They first met in the basement of the Liberty Hotel, now known as the Gladys Hampton Building. In the spring of 1941, James Comstock, a recent graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, accepted the call as pastor. In March 1942, the congregation purchased a building on the corner of Fredonia Street and Hospital Street, which had been left vacant when the Southern Presbyterian Church that had met there disbanded. James Comstock resigned in October of 1943 to accept the chaplaincy of a Service Center in Dallas, Texas, and he later founded the Shenandoah Bible College of Roanoke, Virginia. In November 1944, Elmer Henderson began his ministry at Grace Bible Church, serving until his retirement in 1968.
Recognizing the need for a larger sanctuary and more adequate Sunday school rooms, the church made plans for expansion. The decision was made to purchase a lot on the corner of Hayter Street and Raguet Street, and a building committee was appointed. The building was completed, and the dedication service was held July 29, 1951. The large bell next to the present sanctuary was moved from the belfry of the old church.
In 1969, a great spiritual revival was taking place on the college campuses of America, including the campus at Stephen F. Austin. Because so many college students started attending Grace Bible Church, two services were held each Sunday morning in the old chapel. Our pastor at the time, John Smeltzer, taught systematic theology on Sunday nights, and these meetings were well attended. Since Stephen F. Austin closed its dining halls on Sunday evenings, several women of the church decided to feed the college students on Sunday nights. The free meals became known as "Lupper", later as "Seminar Ill," and still later as "College Night Out." These were times of fellowship and spiritual growth for the college students. Smeltzer had a tremendous ministry with the college students. At least six students went on to graduate from Dallas Theological Seminary, becoming full-time Christian workers. The Lord has always given Grace a heart for reaching and discipling the generations.
In 1975 GBC began implementing small group Bible studies. Grace had seven small groups that met in private homes and had seventy-five to eighty participants. Grace saw the need to invite new families into the church and the small groups met this need. Over the next several years, GBC sent fifteen students to Dallas Theological Seminary, the most in the nation. Also, the church began and completed a new building on the corner of Raguet Street and Wettermark Street to accommodate the growing congregation in addition to building a new educational complex and Henderson Fellowship Hall.
Missions has always been a large part of the ministry at Grace Bible. Through the years, the church has sponsored many missionaries, hosted mission's conferences and desired to be a church that would install a heart of missions from her youngest to oldest members. Throughout her history, Grace has demonstrated and combined an abiding commitment to the Word of God with a flexibility for growth. In 1993 the congregation grew rapidly. Two services were instituted on Sunday mornings. Small group ministry was again emphasized. The college ministry was expanded and renamed "Crosspoint".
From 2000-2011 the staff included a college pastor, a youth pastor, a worship leader, and a children's education director. The church grew and built a new sanctuary across Hayter Street which seated 650 people, almost doubling our seating capacity. The former sanctuary space was converted to classroom space to better equip and train the body. We continued with two Sunday morning services, and an evening College service and meal.
Through the years the Lord has been faithful as our people have chosen to rest in the authority and sufficiency of the Word of God. We are thankful for our elders who help to provide oversight to our ministries and maintain our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ. We have been blessed to have a staff that consists of our senior pastor, college pastor, family pastor, worship pastor, children's pastor, preschool director, connections director, office manager/book keeper, and a team of college interns. In addition, Grace Bible Church has developed a finance and administrative team, with elder oversight, which advises the elders and staff. We have one Sunday morning service, a Sunday evening college service and meal, adult, youth, children's and preschool Sunday school. Our men’s and women’s ministry include Bible study and fellowship events. On Wednesday evenings we have youth, children's, and preschool ministry programs as well as a home based adult small group ministry. Our youth and children are encouraged to participate as a group in summer Christian camp opportunities like our own Camp in The City. Grace prides itself in being transparent with giving as we believe in being both accountable to the body and ultimately accountable to the Lord as good stewards of His resources. As a church, we participate with and support global, national, and local missions and missionaries.