In 2002, three couples felt led by God to plant a church in Thunder Bay for people who didn’t fit into traditional churches. For a meeting space, they rented a church board room, and then a house and, as the church grew, they moved into a college cafeteria for the Sunday services. Meanwhile the founding couples opened a Great Commission School, where students devoted a full year, in residence, to studying the Bible verse-by-verse.
This combination of home church and Bible school planted a deep sense of family, hospitality, and love for God’s story into Grassroots. Early participants helped to grow a culture where people felt free to express doubts, explore risky ideas, and discover new ways of understanding Jesus and God. Most of all they found authentic community: real relationships woven together and tested by the holy messiness of shared life.
Within a few years, the community began to discover and adapt N.T. Wright’s theology, and we began thinking more about how we find our place in God’s Story. This led the church out old paradigms of evangelism or social gospel and into the goal of anticipating God’s New Creation. We still can’t take our eyes of Jesus, but our understanding of God’s mission is so much bigger and more full of colour than it was when we started.
As the church grew and others joined in, the community explored lots of different kinds of ministries: Sunday school experiences, Bible studies, small groups, retreats, talent shows, and acts of love for the wider community in Thunder Bay. This is partly what led to the amazing gift of land and a church building on Balmoral St.— the same building, as it happens, where we first rented in 2002! Full circle.
Throughout all these years, our radical love and tender care for one another stood constant, as the community walked together through life and death.
In 2016, we entered into a new phase of church life when we hired Pastor Keith Jagger to lead us forward. With as special emphasis on Spiritual Formation and Biblical Studies, Keith continues to lead us as a community who wants to explore the leading edges of Christian faith and see our land covered even more by expressions of selfless love and tender care.
Now in our 17th year as a church, we look forward to building further on the gifts and unique passions of our founding families, of our founding Pastor Chris Pacholczak, and of the many who have devoted their time to God through Grassroots.
We long to see people come to faith who may not like traditional church. We want to see God shape us into bright disciples. And we want to take the gift of community and use it to shelter many people who are walking through vulnerable seasons. Check out our Mission and Vision.