Our History

Rev. Russ Grace First Baptist Church was originally organized on June 6, 1975, by the late Rev. Linwood F. Russ with three family members; wife, Blanche A. Russ, son, Linwood C. Russ and daughter, Audrey. The first business meeting was held on June 18, 1975 with twelve persons in attendance. Brother Furman Burton was appointed Church Clerk and Sister Bertha Booker was appointed "Mother of the Church". On June 22, 1975, the first worship service was held at the Pastors home with (20) visitors in attendance including his (3) family members. The first public worship service was held at the J.B. Passmore Elementary School Auditorium on June 29, 1975. During this worship service, (6) visitors united with Grace First Baptist Church.

By December 1975, the membership had grown to 83. The members resolved to purchased property for a church building and on May 23, 1976, it was resolved to build the church on the purchased property. By that date, the membership had grown to (94). On June 22, 1976, Pastor Russ and (7) trustees signed a contract with Berlee Lumber Company to build a single story structure at 2510 Observation Drive, San Antonio, Texas. On December 15, 1976, Pastor Russ and (118) members moved into the new Church Building. On July 2, 1977, an extension was built to the Church and named "Fellowship Hall".

By 1979, the membership had grown to (257) and additional property was purchased, paved and made into parking lots. August 1981, Grace purchased two lots across the street from the church. One of the lots had a building on it which was renovated and used for Sunday School classes and a Day Care Center. In 1985, Grace purchased property for storage of Church owned vehicles. On March 14, 1985, Grace First Baptist Church was incorporated.

On May 17, 1986, Pastor Russ died from a massive heart attack. Associate Minister Eddie McCrary, Sr. was appointed as Spiritual Leader until a new pastor could be selected. The church had grown to (449) members.

Rev. BrasfieldRev. Aaron Brasfield, Jr., from the Second Baptist Church of Seguin, Texas was called February 1987 and installed as Pastor of Grace First Baptist Church on June 4, 1987. The Church was blessed with continued growth and accomplishments. On September 16, 1987, it was announced that the church had purchased two additional lots immediately south of the church property for $20,000.

Groundbreaking ceremonies for our present edifice was held on Sunday, March 20, 1988 and on the February 16, 1992, the membership moved into the present Sanctuary. The site was dedicated by Pastor Brasfield and Deacon Thomas L. Hatchett, Sr., Chairman of the Deacon Board. The ribbon cutting ceremony was conducted by Pastor Brasfield and assisted by Sis. Blanche A. Russ. During Pastor Brasfield's administration, the Fellowship Hall was renamed The Linwood F. Russ Fellowship Hall.

In 1996, Rev. Allen M. Ford joined Grace First Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Aaron Brasfield, Jr. On January 5, 1997, Rev. Brasfield preached his last sermon as Pastor of Grace First Baptist Church.

Rev.StarksOn January 19, 1997, Rev. Dr. Walter L. Starks, became Interim Pastor of Grace First Baptist Church. Dr. Starks was officially selected as pastor on October 13, 1997 and later installed on December 14, 1997. He is a Bible Scholar, Teacher, Community Leader, Organizer, Builder and a Man of God. Under his leadership and administration, Grace First Baptist Church continued to pursue the original dream and press forward with its growth and vision, including being very instrumental in the upward trend in the church’s financial blessings.

Under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Walter L. Starks, on October 15, 2000, Rev. Allen M. Ford was licensed to preach the Gospel and ordained on December 19, 2003. Rev. Dr. L. Starks announced his retirement as Pastor of Grace First Baptist Church to be effective on December 21, 2008.

On December 22, 2008, Reverend Allen Ford became the Spiritual Leader of Grace First Baptist Church. On April 10, 2010, Reverend Allen Ford was overwhelmingly selected as Pastor of Grace First Baptist Church and formally installed as the fourth pastor on May 16, 2010.

Rev.FordUnder the leadership of Rev. Ford, the Linwood F. Russ Multipurpose Center project was completed and management of several multi-million dollar projects to include opening a new Healthcare room and breaking ground on a new parking lot. Several upcoming projects additions to Grace First Baptist Church are a Pavilion, new playground for children and an additional building for Children's Church, Senior Citizens, a library, and food bank.

With guidance from the Holy Spirit, Rev. Ford has installed (11) new deacons, established a Women's Ministry, Grace Embraces Ministry, Intercessory Prayer Ministry, Leadership and Men's Retreats started, Senior Connection Ministry organized, Young Adult Ministries re-established, and our global, short term missions increased.

Spiritual growth has led to an increase in membership to over (800) members and attendees. Rev. Ford led by the Holy Spirit continues to preach and teach the word of God so that we can "Building Strong Families through the Word of God".