In its fourth year, Brad Pittman’s church was in a good place in a lot of ways. They had stable leadership and great Bible study attendance. The church even outgrew the building they started in and moved to the local elementary school.
But something was off. Pittman, pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Davis Junction, realized the problem was a lack of prayer. “You’re the shepherd; you need to start praying more specifically,” he sensed God saying to him.
“You keep saying you want more salvations, but you’re not praying corporately to see my hand move.”
The church started praying. Pittman and his leadership team set goals about how many people they wanted to come to know Christ. They set aside part of the service to pray for God to work in their community. So far in 2018, five people have come to Christ because someone from the church led them to him.
Davis Junction is a small village south of Rockford. Grace Fellowship is the third congregation with that name to be planted in the last several years, and Pittman’s own spiritual journey is closely connected to the churches. In 2002, on his second visit to Grace Fellowship in Ashton, he came face to face with the truth about his spiritual condition.
“I just realized that I’d been playing games with the Lord for pretty much my whole life,” Pittman said. He came to faith in Christ that day, and later became a deacon at the church. His family was active in the planting of another church—Grace Fellowship in Amboy. It was there he sensed a call to ministry, and after serving as associate pastor, Pittman and his family were sent out to start a third Grace Fellowship Church in Davis Junction.
The church, launched in 2014, now has 50-60 regular attenders. Meeting first in a small metal building that was once a machine shop, now the main worship service is at a nearby school. The church is seeing more visitors than ever. Pittman said his greatest joy as a pastor is when someone in his congregation talks to him about how they’re sharing the gospel with people in their lives.
In the future, he hopes to help more people from Grace Fellowship experience missions outside their community too. He recently returned from a trip to Uganda, and is planning to go back in 2019 to help lead a pastors’ conference. He wants to take people from his church with him.
Many people at Grace Fellowship haven’t been involved in church for a while; others were drawn to the opportunity to be part of a close-knit church family.
One that prays together, Pittman said.
“If we want God to move, as a church, we need to seek him.”