When God first called Preston T. Adams III into ministry 20 years ago, he had a strong discernment that his path would one day take him to the senior leadership of a congregation.
That day has just about arrived, as Adams will become senior pastor of a new church plant, Amazing Grace Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which will open in Indianapolis Sept. 12.
Adams has been well groomed to lead his own church while serving as an associate pastor at Light of the World Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis under prominent Disciples’ minister Bishop T. Garrott Benjamin Jr. Adams was executive pastor at Light of the World, which is the largest African-American Disciples congregation in Indiana.
Adams answered God’s call to become a minister one day in 1990 during a driving rainstorm just after preaching and giving a discipleship invitation at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center, where more than 40 teens, male and female, had responded to the call to become a Christian. Afterwards, Adams said “yes” to God in the center’s parking lot, a feeling so powerful that he doesn’t even remember feeling the rain.
So what made him want to start his own congregation?
“First and foremost, obedience to the will of God on my life and ministry,” said Adams. “I spent a season of serious prayer (years), fasting and discerning how God would lead me to the senior pastorate, something God told me would come to pass when God called me into the ministry. I wanted to be sure it was God and not me. Too much was at stake for me to not discern the will of God correctly. So I prayed, fasted, and waited on God.”
Amazing Grace will be launched on Sept. 12 at the Hilton North, 8181 N. Shadeland Ave. After a onetime service there, it will move to another location. The new church and its launch team members were commissioned at Light of the World on Aug. 29 during the 10 a.m. worship service by Bishop Benjamin.
When he first answered God’s call, Adams thought he would serve as the senior pastor at an existing church. He was attending Light of the World at the time and would eventually join the staff as a computer information systems manager and children and youth minister. After graduating from Christian Theological Seminary (CTS), where he earned a Master of Divinity degree (1996), Adams was ordained as a Disciples minister at Light of the World in 1997. He was later named associate pastor and overseer of the Christian Ecumenical Covenant Fellowship (CECF), with responsibility for assisting the senior pastor and training ministers and laity. In 2005, after earning his Doctorate of Ministry degree from CTS, Adams was elevated to the role of executive pastor, with overall responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day pastoral, operational and financial matters of the entire ministry, and serving as chief of staff.
“God revealed to me five years ago that I was to plant a new congregation,” explained Adams. “God told me to ‘write the vision …’ As I wrote, God spoke and ultimately Amazing Grace Christian Church was birthed to the glory of God. The opportunity to start a new church has proven to be an exhilarating and awesome experience. New churches and new church pastors are totally dependent on God or members. Everything is provided by God, and you know if it happens, it’s all God.”
And that’s exactly what happened when God opened the door for Amazing Grace to have its worship services at Geist Christian Church beginning the following Sunday after the launch. Adams notes: “God moved on the heart of Pastor Randy Spleth and Geist Christian to open the doors of their church in the spirit of Christian love and sincere support to help Amazing Grace start on a solid foundation. More importantly, the Geist and Amazing Grace spiritual partnership shows the power of diversity as a majority Anglo congregation and majority African-American congregation come together for the cause of Christ and the building of Christ’s kingdom here on Earth.” Adams went on to say: “This simply proves just how faithful God really is when we follow his will.”
The new church’s motto is “Amazing Grace Christian Church – Where God’s Grace is Truly Amazing!” Ephesians 4:7 – But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. (KJV) The six pillars of Amazing Grace Christian Church are:
Amazing Grace shares the love of Jesus Christ by:
n Encouraging – those who feel separated from Christ, or those seeking a closer walk with Christ to join us in fellowship.
n Equipping – everyone to face and overcome life’s challenges and to activate their God-given ministries.
n Empowering – all of God’s people to go and make disciples by reproducing themselves and winning others to the kingdom.
Amazing Grace embodies the love of Jesus Christ by its focus on:
Word – preaching and teaching the Word of God.
Worship – lifting up the name of Jesus and worshipping the Lord in spirit and in truth.
Witness – outreach to the community. Our mission is to continually labor outside the walls of the church, telling others about the “amazing grace” of Jesus Christ, and showing people that we care about them. We can do this best by serving.
Adams, his beautiful first lady, Greta, and their three daughters, Patrice, Alaina, and Quinn Michelle, are embarking on an amazing journey. Adams concluded by saying: “We are eternally grateful to Bishop Benjamin and our Light of the World Christian Church family for over 25 years of nurturing, love, covering, and preparation. We are excited about God’s move during this season in our lives and we can’t wait for everyone to come meet grace!”