Grace Fellowship Church

Our History


HISTORY OF GRACE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH 1993-2013

     Grace Fellowship was founded out in 1993 of a passion for the un-churched and the under-churched.  Several of our founding members felt a calling to invest in outreach in our community, and explore the use of a contemporary worship style.  With prayer and monetary support from Calvary and Faith CRC churches in Pella, this group took a step of faith to explore the idea and started meeting on Sunday nights at Central College.  After a year and a half of only evening services, Grace Fellowship became “official’ as Pastor Peter Kelder was hired and regular Sunday morning services were scheduled in the Spring of 1995.  Because of its founding beliefs, Grace Fellowship has become a beautiful tapestry of members from a broad range of denominations and backgrounds.

     The “Wild Side of Grace Fellowship's” outreach movement has recently continued the enthusiasm for our core value of reaching un-churched and under-churched individuals. We have used this as the basis for community activities where we offer unexpected, undeserved gestures of love and kindness (free tickets, free oil-changes, pens/paper/etc. for college students) with the purpose of showing Jesus’ love in real and practical ways.  Wild Side of Grace Fellowship events are done by a small group of church members on a regular basis, and as larger activities with opportunities for the entire church to be involved.

     A major milestone in solidifying Grace Fellowship's purpose was our ability to construct our own church building.  This was a major undertaking in many ways.

  • First, it proved our body’s commitment to Grace Fellowship and what it stands for, as we asked members to pledge funds matched by a generous local business owner to support constructing our own facility. This required sacrificial giving and tremendous faith from our members.
  • Second, constructing a facility required clear vision for where Grace Fellowship was going. We needed to be good stewards of the funds blessed to us by making sure our facility would accommodate not only today’s needs, but those several years into the future.
  • Finally, this project required stamina. Many leaders and resources were utilized in developing and cuddling plans for the building, leaving fewer leaders and resources to maintain the day-to-day activities. During a time of great internal focus, we had to challenge ourselves to not lose sight of our larger vision and stay active in our quest for reaching people for Christ through our programs and community involvement.

     The realization of this milestone was the Sunday morning we all walked from our old building to the spray-painted outline of where our new building would stand. We stood in what would be our new worship center and praised God for the wisdom, guidance, and resources required to make this dream a reality.  As the building was constructed many of our members, young and old, covered the internal structure with favorite bible verses and promises of God’s blessings for the future. 

     What a blessing in 2005 to celebrate ten years of ministry at Grace Fellowship! We have been blessed and privileged to experience Grace’s growth from start-up to a thriving, established church.  During our tenth year, there was both celebration and heartache.  Early in the year, our leadership team and Council revisited and revised our mission/vision statement with the input and approval of the congregation. This was an excellent reminder for our body to connect who Grace Fellowship is and why we exist in the dense landscape of churches in Pella, IA. Many people have joined the church over the last ten years and hadn’t been part of the definition of our vision and mission, so this was a good opportunity to re-engage them with our purpose.

     Following this, a phase of angst set in as Pastor Kelder informed us God had another calling for him and Ruth to pursue. During Pastor Kelder’s final month at Grace Fellowship we shared many celebrations…we officially celebrated our anniversary, had the pleasure of witnessing the profession of faith of eight young men, welcomed three new members, and baptized both an adult and a child into God’s kingdom.  The Kelder’s served us wholeheartedly for ten years, which made them a part of the family that was hard to lose, and they will always be held in special honor as our founding pastor & family. 

     The ministry continued to thrive, even though the church was without a Senior Pastor.  In 2007 Roger DeWaard was installed as our pastor.  Roger had been serving as our interim preacher. He was from Pella and had gone through a leadership training program at another local church.

     God leading us to call Roger as our pastor seemed to be a reflection of what Grace Fellowship was about: willing to try and be something different. After serving for nearly four years, Pastor Roger resigned and returned to previous career.

     Since then, Grace Fellowship continues to maintain a vibrant ministry to the un-churched and under-churched of our area.  Jeff Scherer was our interim pastor from October 2012 until August of 2014 and on September 1, 2014. Pastor Don Ridder joined us to lead us through our journey as we Reach Up, Reach Out & Grow Together!