Jim Vallet, For the Fernley Reporter
Sunday, July 21 marks the 10-year anniversary of the founding of Grace Baptist Church, located on Main Street in Fernley. Sharing a few shopping center spaces with, among other businesses, a bowling alley and a Chinese restaurant, the exterior of the present church facility is neither grand nor impressive. But Pastor Rick Lynn and his church have come a long way in 10 years, and have big plans and high hopes for the future.
While serving in the United States Navy in Charleston, S.C., Rick Lynn, “…accepted Christ as his Savior and started going to church.” He met his wife Melanie in Charleston, and the two have been married for 37 years. Several years later, Lynn felt the call to serve Christ and matriculated to Ambassador Baptist College in Lattimore, N.C. and he graduated from there. Rick’s parents had retired to live in Sparks, and it was while visiting his parents that the Lynns discovered Fernley. They moved to Fernley in December, 2008, and started the new church in July, 2009.
It has not always been easy. They had bought 50 chairs for the new church and been given some folding chairs from another church. Pastor Lynn remembers that, on the day of the first service, twenty minutes before the service began, “…there was nobody there!” Right after that the doors started opening and they held services on that day for a gathering of more than 100 people. They used every chair they had.
There are five points that Pastor Lynn would like to make with the Fernley community. The first point is that, “We care. Our people are really caring and loving. This is the most unique church I’ve been a part of in that sense.”
Related to that, Pastor Lynn feels that he is more able to, “…reach out and help” than a regular minister because of his background, and that he is willing to do that. This caring and sensitive minister is concerned that people sometimes don’t feel welcome in church because churches and pastors sometimes give an “air of untouchability”, and he wants people to know that he and his wife have tried hard to, “do away with that stigma”.
His second point is that Grace Baptist Church is independent and, “has no denominational affiliation with any denomination or convention.”
Third, Melanie Lynn is very active in her support of her husband and the church, by teaching children, heading up the ladies’ functions and leading the nursery.
Fourth, this church, and its services, is and always will be open to members as well as nonmembers.
Finally, the name of this church has a loving significance to its founding couple. While contemplating a name for the new church he was going to start, Melanie Lynn told her husband that, “The name of this church has to be Grace Baptist Church because it’s only going to be by the grace of God that we’ll get this thing going.”
It appears God shed his grace on more than just America.
The Grace Baptist Church does have a very long mission statement, but Rick Lynn describes his church’s purpose as twofold.
“First, the specific and primary purpose of this corporation is the propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, according to the Bible,” he said. “Second, we are here to help people.”
In order to meet its first purpose, Grace Baptist Church has three services per week: Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. For adults, ministries are available for both men and women. Men have a weekly coffee, and monthly Bible studies. The women meet bi-monthly for a Ladies of Grace meeting, monthly for a coffee fellowship, and host an annual ladies conference. Teenagers have Bible study on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and attend summer camp, as well as monthly activities. Younger children have Children’s Church for 4-year-olds through 6th grade on Sunday mornings, a Patch Club for children 4 years old – 6th grade on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. during the school year, a nursery for very young children to age 3 during Sunday and Wednesday services, and a Vacation Bible School every summer. The church also has a monthly door-to-door outreach to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and is preparing to help another pastor start a church in Spanish Springs.
To help people, Grace Baptist Church:
- Contributes to the Crisis Pregnancy Center;
- Has an annual food drive for the local Food Pantry;
- Participates in the city cleanup;
- and Pastor Lynn serves as the Chief Chaplain for the Lyon County Sheriff Department.
Pastor Lynn also offers many types of counseling, including pre-marital, marital, crisis, and for teenagers.
As impressive as this Church has been to help this community, Pastor Lynn has much bigger plans in mind.
“We own 10 acres of land on Farm District Road which we hope to someday develop into a church campus. This campus would include at least four buildings, including a church, gymnasium, fellowship hall, and offices,” said Pastor Lynn. “We would have a ballfield which we hope to make available to groups like Little League. I would like to have teens and other people come to our gymnasium and play. Church needs to be a big part of community activity.”
Sadly for Fernley, this church campus is, “…a long way off” due to cost.
As Pastor Lynn looks back, he has no regrets, but he is very proud that Grace Baptist Church is now celebrating its 10th anniversary. From a start of scrounging for chairs and not knowing if anyone would show up 20 minutes before its first service, this independent storefront church has grown to a congregation of about 90 people with dreams of providing the entire Fernley community with a place to come together to worship the Lord, minister to others and play. Hopefully, someday their dreams will come true because the fulfillment of the dreams of Grace Baptist Church would benefit all of us, no matter which church we attend.