The groundwork for Grace Baptist Church was laid in the early 1950s when a few missionaries from the Southern Baptist Convention of the U.S. began doing door to door evangelisation work in the small community of Kampong Bahru (just behind the Singapore General Hospital). A small shop house rented from the government was used for holding meetings and as a centre for outreach.
By August 1959, Grace Baptist Church was officially organised with 51 chartered members. In the ensuing 19 years till 1978, the Lord blessed the work in the community which saw a steady growth in the number of families and children coming to personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through the concerted work of teaching and household visitation.
In 1978, the shop house had to give way to the urban redevelopment program embarked by the government. Thus began four years of nomadic existence – renting public auditoriums and other church premises to continue the work of the Lord. But God is faithful, and under the preaching ministry of Rev (Dr) E. N. Poulson, also the founding dean of the Singapore Bible College School of Theology (English), the church began to grow.
By 1980 the church was able to locate and purchase the land at 17 Mattar Road, where the present building still stands. All the funds totalling $1.2 million (a substantial sum in those days) were sacrificially contributed by church members (assisted by a love gift of $50,000.00 from the Southern Baptist Convention). Testimonies abound of how God had answered prayers and moved hearts to give towards the progress payments as they fell due. The completed building was officially dedicated to the faithfulness and glory of God on 22nd January 1983, with every bill paid - a testament to His gracious provision.
The next decade saw much turbulence in the life of the church - many were added to the numbers in the church, but many also left due to theological differences. Through it all, God's sovereignty enabled the church continued to be faithful and humble in simply trusting Him, week by week, year by year. God sent us godly men to pastor us. These include Rev Lawrence Khong, Rev George Kwek, Rev Rick Poolman, Rev (Dr) Tom Chandler, and Rev Peter Lin.
As God has continued to bless the church with more years of growth, He has also provided new leaders to our church to lead and minister to His people, including Rev (Dr) Arnold Wong who relocated from Texas, USA to Singapore. From our midst, God raised up men to be pastors of various ministries, including Rev Desmond Soh, Rev Bobby Lee, and Rev Oliver Chia. We continued outreach to the Macpherson estate has also continued, including efforts to reach our neighboring Macpherson Primary School, holding free tuition for the community, as well as hosting the annual Family Day carnival to bless the community.
Other vital ministries such as the Young Adults Ministry, the Careers Ministry, the Family Ministry and the ENJOY Ministry were also founded in order to best serve the various demographics in the church. In recent years, as God has brought a new generation of members - young, old, families - men and women of all nationalities to make GBC their spiritual home, He has also given the church a new mission: for GBC to be "a disciple-making church that transforms lives with the gospel and love of Jesus Christ".
In 2015, we saw our home at 17 Mattar Road demolished to make way for a new building which would would allow us to be better stewards of our resources and more effective for a new phase of church growth and ministry. We worshipped at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit in St Andrew's Village as we awaited the completion of the new church building.
In 2016, the Lord led Rev (Dr) Ian Buntain to us from Canada where he pastored a Baptist church. An experienced pastor, evangelist and missionary, Pastor Ian was called to come and lead GBC to fulfil its calling to be a disciple-making church. In one of his first few sermons to us, he reminded us that GBC exists for the glory and pleasure of God.
These are exciting times for GBC as we meet to worship God together each Sunday. As one family, we gather around the Scriptures to adore and glorify our God. As we look back on over 50 years of God's faithfulness, we are humbled by all that He has done in us and for us, and we look with anticipation to the future. To this end, we are not ashamed to say that GBC exists for the glory of God.