Our Story

Grand Avenue Christian Church is a group of followers of Jesus Christ, who are trying to grow an authentic, and growing community. We want to stress growing in love, faith, and hope in relational environments. GACC is a place where we can come with our story and connect together with the story of Jesus Christ through relationships, Bible study, prayer, worship, and much more. If you want to follow Jesus or want to know more about what it means to follow Jesus, this is the place for you. We desire to be a place of good old Southern Illinois hospitality and grace.

GACC began its existence in 1959, primarily through the work and prayers of Oden and Rema Brown.  From the beginning, the church sought to reach out to the Southern Illinois University college students and be their “home away from home.”  Accordingly, the church was named the South Side Christian Church, because the church sought to locate its building on the south side of Carbondale next to the university.

In the beginning, a temporary meeting place was found in the Community Center at a cost of $6.00 per Sunday.  Later, the church learned that there was no suitable land to purchase on the south side of town.  So they purchased land on the west side of town and renamed the church Western Heights Christian Church.

By the close of the first year, Western Heights Christian Church had 43 members.  In 1961, the church leadership sought to construct a building to accommodate the new church.  They put together a master plan to be built on one and a half acres of land, Phase One called for building a fellowship hall that would seat 160 people.  It would be the temporary worship sanctuary until the next phase could be built.  However, the next phase was not built as planned.

Years later, after looking for land to purchase to support the growing church, Western Heights moved to a new location on the east side of town in 2005. This land was on Grand Avenue and the church was renamed Grand Avenue Christian Church (GACC).  Over the last six decades, GACC has seen many triumphs and tragedies.  But through it all, the Lord has been faithful to his people and the church has grown from hopeful beginnings.

Our Mission

The very first church was given a mission by Jesus:  "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).

That's been the mission of the Church for 2,000 years and it is our mission today.  We see mission like a compass; it's the direction you are headed no matter present circumstances and obstacles.

Our mission is to glorify God and make disciples. That's at the heart of everything we do and think -- we are a community walking together and working together to live like Jesus.
 
These are our values:
 
Glorifying God (not ourselves)
Discipleship (to follow Christ whole-hardheartedly)
Scripture (it's authoritative for us)
Gospel-Centered (the Gospel transforms us)
Authentic (we don't have it all together)
Relationships (God calls us to meet needs)
 
These values help to form our vision, which is to see southern Illinois transformed as we remain faithful to Scripture and build Gospel-centered, authentic relationships.

What To Expect

What should I wear on Sunday mornings?
When you come to Grand Avenue, you will see all styles of dress.  Many people dress casually while others choose to dress up a bit more.  People typically wear nice pants or jeans, but may dress up a bit more on special occasions like Christmas or Easter.

What is available for my kids?
On Sunday mornings we offer Sunday School classes for children age 3 through 8th grade at 9:00 AM.  High Schoolers have their own Sunday School at 9:00 AM as well.  During the 10:15 AM worship service, Children's Church is available for children age 3 through 4th grade (they will spend part of the time in the gym and part of the time in the auditorium).  Nursery is available for infants through age 2 during both hours.

What is the Sunday worship service like? 
You can expect to sing a few worshipful songs of a "blended" musical style -- both traditional hymns and contemporary choruses -- followed by a time for communion (the Lord's Supper) and quiet reflection.  Our service then moves to a Scriptural message and a time of invitation.  We try to keep the length of the service to one hour, though on some Sundays there may also be a baptism for new believers or the welcoming of new members.

Do I need to wear a name tag?
There is no expectation for guests to be publicly introduced during the worship service or for guests to have to wear a name tag, so please relax and enjoy our time of worship and instruction.

Do I need to bring a Bible?
If you don't have a Bible, we have Bibles available under the seats for you to use during the worship service, and each Sunday School classroom has Bibles in it as well.  If you need a Bible for your own personal use, we can get you one.  If you want to use a Bible app on your smart phone, that's okay.


Where should I park and where should I enter the building?

There are two driveways onto our property from Grand Avenue.  Using either one, drive all the way back to find our main parking lot.  You should enter the building through the glass doors positioned below a large protective overhang on the south end of the building.  Handicap parking is available closest to that entrance.  While you may see some other doors on the east or west sides of the building, please use the entrance on the south side.


What kind of church is GACC anyway?
If you are looking for a church where we all look the same and act the same and think the same, you won't find it here.  Our church is a diverse group of people of all ages, from all walks of life, and of varying levels of spiritual maturity.  If you are looking for a church of differing people that is generally characterized by unity as we each attempt to live our Christian lives by seeking God's truths as found in the Bible, we hope you will find it here.