What is the history of this church?

Our story begins in 1979 as a church planting endeavor called Crossroads Christian Community in Brunswick, Ohio. The budding church consisted of approximately 25 believers and was led by Pastors Bob Cohen and Steve Witt. This small assembly was made up of, predominantly, new Christians who were saved through the explosive Jesus Movement of the 1960s and 70s. This spiritual outpouring was characterized by multitudes who were dramatically transformed by the power and reality of Jesus Christ and who longed for spiritual authenticity both personally and corporately. Far from just a religious experience, the infant church believed and practiced a kind of community life that demonstrated Christ’s relevancy to all areas of life. Jesus brought new life to our spiritual experience but also offered a new orientation to family life, law, politics, education, medicine, science and the arts. Meeting in the gymnasium of Edwards Middle School, the fledgling group of 25 soon doubled to 50 adult members – a local church was born!

By 1981 Crossroads Christian Community had developed relationships with two dynamic young gospel preachers and teachers named Larry Tomczak and C.J. Mahaney. They resided in the Washington D.C. metro area and were hosting teaching and worship services that were attracting nearly 2000 young people. These meetings were given the name TAG (Take and Give). Within a short time the huge meetings were dismantled as a fresh understanding of New Testament church life emerged, which emphasized a living relationship with Christ reflected in the practices described in the book of Acts. Thus, bible teaching and preaching, prayer, hospitality, believers baptisms, breaking bread in communion, worship and a pursuit of the gifts of the Holy Spirit were heartily embraced. The many new communities that sprouted from the TAG meetings came to be called People of Destiny International (PDI).

The friendly connection with PDI resulted in a small team of believers relocating from the D.C. area to join the Brunswick church in its mission to reach the lost for Christ and to live in Christian community. By 1981 Crossroads Community grew to 250 members under the newer leadership of Senior Pastor Steve Shank. At that time the church moved its Sunday service to Roehm Middle School in Berea and took the new name of North Coast Church. It wasn’t long before the church numbered 600 believers!

Finally, in 1984, a church planting team headed by Bob Cohen and Jim Lottig was sent out from Cleveland to establish a new church in the greater Akron area.  Tri-county Christian Community emerged and met in Wadsworth at Good Elementary School and then later at Litchfield Middle School. By 1991, Bruce Farley pastored the church under the name of “New Life Church.” When Jim Walter succeeded Bruce as the senior pastor (1996-2010) it was discovered that a prior claim to the churches name had already been made. In deference to that claim the church took the name Covenant of Grace and remains a part of a family of churches across the U.S. (formerly PDI) called Sovereign Grace Churches.

Today, our congregation embraces many reformed doctrines while retaining its original charismatic distinction. The church enjoys a plurality of elders consisting of Jace Hudson (our lead pastor), Bill Ihde, and Bert Turner. Over the years, the path to maturing in Christ has been one full of joys and sorrows, laughter and tears. Looking back, we see how God has faithfully encouraged, redirected, and sustained us. Today, we joyfully press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, striving to make known the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light!