Grace Reformed Baptist Church's origin dates to 1963, when a small group of believers purchased land on Buckhorn Road in Mebane, North Carolina, and there built a new church building with seating for approximately 175 people. It opened its doors as Community Baptist Church in October 1965.
In 1970, the pastor became ill, and requested that Piedmont Bible College send someone to fill the pulpit. The vice-president of the college recommended that one of his students, Gary Hendrix, be sent. Although the vice-president did not agree with Gary's Calvinistic doctrine, he acknowledged that the Calvinists were "the best preachers" at the college.
Randy Seiver—another Piedmont student—and Gary filled the pulpit through the spring of 1970. The message of God's sovereignty and free grace was warmly received by many of the church's leaders. When the original pastor of Community Baptist Church resigned in June due to illness, the leadership wanted someone who preached the same truths as Gary and Randy had been preaching. Although he had planned to enter graduate school, Gary accepted the call of the church in September 1970. The church was soon given a new name—Free Grace Tabernacle—to reflect the emphasis of the preaching. Several years later, the church once again changed its name, this time to Grace Reformed Baptist Church (GRBC).
The decade of the 1970s witnessed several changes for the church. In January 1974, thirty-six charter members covenanted together to adopt a new Reformed confession of faith and a new church constitution. In 1976, Charles and Carol Fortner visited for the first time. God had brought the Fortners into the doctrines of grace while Charles pastored in Maryland. They soon became members and Charles began an independent literature distribution ministry under the church's oversight. Charles was recognized as the church's second elder in 1979.
Growth and expanded usefulness characterized the 1980s. GRBC was privileged to oversee the planting of a new Reformed congregation in Roanoke, VA. By 1984, it was clear that God's blessing upon the ministry of GRBC had pushed it to the limits of the small building on Buckhorn Road. New land was purchased, and in 1988 the church moved into its current building on South Third Street. In 1986, the church formally adopted the 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. And in 1989, the church undertook the new ministry of sponsoring the Southeastern Reformed Baptist Family Conference, now held almost every year, in Tennessee.
In the 1990s, GRBC oversaw new church plantings in Rocky Mount, NC (1991), and Bluefield, WV (1998). The decade also saw the joyful addition of two more elders to GRBC. Stu and Beth Johnston and their family moved to Mebane from New York, and in 1991, Stu was commissioned to begin an outreach work on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. In 1995, Stu was ordained and installed as the church's third elder. The church was blessed with tremendous growth during this time, including many singles and couples, many of whom were UNC-Chapel Hill graduates. Others who joined the church had come to understand the doctrines of grace through the Reformed literature they had purchased during Charles Fortner's book ministry in the 1970s. Among them was Andy Dunkerton, who was ordained and installed as the church's fourth elder in 2001.
As it enters its fifth decade, Grace Reformed Baptist Church has renewed its commitment to propagate the Gospel among the children of the congregation, in the Mebane community, and throughout the world. A new education wing and new Sunday School curriculum aid in this goal. The church has renewed efforts to reach out to the community through special events, picnics, Christian concerts, and ministries to the needy and often-neglected members of the city. GRBC also sponsors several missionaries, many of whom take the Gospel to some of the most difficult regions of the world. In all of this, the church acknowledges that all of its work is in vain if God does not bless it. And so it is the church's constant prayer that the Head of the Church will continue to pour out His blessings on the congregation and on these ministry efforts.