Grace Avenue Church began in January 2010 when Daniel & Jannelle Villarreal and a few friends began meeting on Sunday mornings in the living room of a house in Boerne, Texas. Though we were only a handful of people, our prayers and our goals began with BIG faith…BIG faith to see God do something great in us and through us to touch a city, a nation and our world.
By Easter Sunday of that year 25 people were showing up regularly and by the summertime 50 people were coming every Sunday, bringing their kids, bringing friends and relatives and soon people were calling Grace Avenue “their church.” Many people committed their lives to Christ and were baptized in the Guadalupe River. We saw marriages, friendships and even entire families transformed by God.
At the same time, we began some of our first “Connect Groups” to help disciple people and further the building of relationships. In these groups, people learned the Word of God, found God-centered friendships and Biblical community. At that time we decided to begin sowing financially into other church plants around the city, nation and the world. We began working with ministries and organizations involved in helping people who were homeless, jobless and victims of sex-trafficking. We began supporting mission work that furthered the Gospel in Mexico, Cuba, Africa and locally in some of the poorest areas in San Antonio. That year we held a couple of separate worship nights that were simply focused on a couple of hours of singing and praising God for who He is and thanking Him for what He’d done so far. Those nights drew a lot of people but more importantly showed us that God was using Grace Avenue to touch people all over the city of San Antonio.
Unable to comfortably fit so many people in the house, we moved into a large metal building (…let’s just call it what it is…a garage… ) that could contain everyone. By that time, we began looking for a place to meet in the city of San Antonio. People began giving of their time, their gifts and talents and their resources to help us form a plan and a strategy to make Sunday morning services happen. A leadership team with a “whatever it takes” DNA was formed and the community of Grace Avenue began to dream big dreams that God wanted to do something in this generation through us as a unified team.
After months of searching we found a movie theater to meet in and we stepped out in faith. We built stages and pieces by hand, purchased a small trailer to haul in and out everything we owned. We gathered, borrowed and purchased as much music equipment as we could come up with and then the big day came….On December 5th, 2010 our first worship service was held at the Regal Fiesta 16 Theater off of Vance Jackson near the UTSA district (I-10 & De-Zavala). For the next 12 months, week after week, we worked to equip people to be fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. We started our Sunday morning kids ministry that blossomed into 3 separate ministries (Infants, Tots & Kids). We started intentionally growing the men & women of our church with specific nights/events dedicated to them. We created a church membership so people could officially call Grace Avenue home.
In January 2012, we began our 2nd year in San Antonio with the primary focus being to get our entire church better equipped in knowing the Bible with the nation-wide 6 week small group campaign called “40 Days In The Word.” Our hope is that the next 12 months, people will know Jesus Christ more by knowing His Word more. Our prayer has been and will continue to be that people walk into Grace Avenue and experience the love of God. Not a crowd, a movie theater or a bunch of people…but Jesus Christ Himself, all that He is and all He desires for their life. We want to see lives transformed for His Glory. That’s our story up till now…would you like to be a part of it? We’re just getting started…
JANUARY 2013 UPDATE: Thanks to God’s favor and the faithfulness of the people of Grace Avenue, we are currently searching for a facility to lease. This will enable us to serve a community rather than simply rent a spot for 5 hours every Sunday. We are currently receiving an “Expansion Offering” every 1st Sunday of the month to prepare for our move and offset all the costs involved during our transition. We’re asking everyone to do 2 things: 1.) Pray & 2.) Participate. Pray about an amount God would have you to give consistently and participate at whatever level you decide.