Grace Baptist Church was founded in 1956 by Dr. Charles Whitfield, who, by God’s grace and as a testimony to God’s glory, continued as Pastor of the church for over 57 years. Pastor Craig Hurley came on as the Assistant Pastor in 2001 and was called to be the Senior Pastor when Dr. Whitfield retired in 2013.
The church began with nineteen charter members who met in a home in Birmingham, Michigan, not too far from its present location at 280 E. Lincoln. In a matter of weeks, the new church family moved its services to a hardware building in downtown Birmingham. Before the year had ended, a deposit had been made to purchase the Lincoln property, and services were moved there in January, 1957. The church building, which had been moved to the Lincoln site from its original location several blocks away, is the oldest church building in Birmingham.
As time progressed, the church family continued to increase as the Lord blessed the ministry. A choir formed, Sunday School classes began, a deaf ministry commenced, and souls were saved. In 1966 a new auditorium was added to the original church building to accommodate the growing church family.
Neighborhood Bible Time, a children’s summer evangelistic meeting, was first held in 1970 with 577 children enrolled, resulting in 236 salvation decisions.
Birmingham Bible Institute (BBI) was founded in 1973. The Institute provides extensive training for Christian workers and laymen in the Bible, practical Christian living, and Christian service. Area pastors serve as faculty members and chapel speakers. BBI has served over 6,000 students since it was established.
That same year saw a significant expansion of the church library, with several thousand volumes purchased. In addition, Grace Bible and Book Store, which is located in the church basement, began offering reference and study materials for sale to BBI students and the church congregation.
Through God’s continued grace and the hard work of a committed membership, the church has grown in number and influence throughout Birmingham and the metropolitan area.