The miracle of Grace Baptist Church began on a cold Sunday afternoon almost 100 years ago -- December 17, 1916, at 2:00 p.m. to be exact -- when a small group of people met at the old Karns High School to form a church. In that era, Karns was a small farming community 11 dusty miles from Knoxville. Since then, the family of Grace Baptist Church has been through two World Wars, the Great Depression, the turbulent '60s, the Cold War, 17 different pastors, 9/11 and many other challenges. It has been an amazing journey full of blessings.
From the beginning, a growing membership has created the need for an ever-expanding campus and ministries. The "Old Sanctuary," was dedicated in 1957 and was built adjacent to Oak Ridge Highway. Grace's education wing, which is now administrative offices, opened in 1961. The Family Life Center, containing classrooms, cafeteria and gym, opened in 1991.
In 1994, God impressed upon Pastor Ron Stewart the need for a christian school in the area, which Grace opened in the fall of 1997. Since then, Grace Christian Academy has grown into a fully accredited K-12 school with its own campus. Planning for the current sanctuary began in 1994 and required Oak Ridge Highway to be moved further away from the church, which the Knox County Commission approved. The Worship Center, which seats 2,200, was dedicated in the summer of 1999.
Today, Grace has two Sunday morning worship services that are attended by over 3,000 people every week. Easter and Christmas presentations are attended by almost 5,000 every year.