ANTIOCH -- A vibrant church that serves the community has big plans for the future.
Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch, which recently relocated to a new multi-million-dollar campus on Oakley Road, currently serves 1,000 members in three weekly Sunday services and a biweekly Saturday service.
The church outgrew its former location on Sunset Drive. The new sanctuary seats 500 people, up from 350.
Grace Bible has plenty of room to grow on its sprawling 10-acre property. The church building and Touch of Grace Bookstore reside on one acre. Church leaders envision adding a gymnasium and classrooms for sports and educational programs and services, a child development center and affordable housing for seniors and families, the Rev. Kirkland Smith said.
Grace Bible wants to be a light and blessing to the community, Smith said.
"We do not want to be just a church, but a ministry and a hub that is a place that helps people," Smith said.
"The church is not a building. I want people to identify that the people here in the church care about the community, and that we want to help meet the spiritual and physical needs of individuals."
The Antioch church has roots in Fremont and Newark.
A good number of families worshiping at Family Bible Fellowship in Newark were from Antioch, Tracy and Fairfield.
In 2002, Smith and several dozen people at Family Bible felt called to plant a new church in Antioch.
"I felt God say this was our home and to build a ministry out here," Smith said.
Grace Bible has several programs during the week, including a prayer ministry and recovery group meetings.
The church actively finds opportunities to bring neighbors together.
The church recently distributed Thanksgiving baskets to families in need and hosted an annual fall festival that provides free food and entertainment to the community.
"It's not just having good food or a good atmosphere," Smith said, referring to what attracts people to his church.
"People are attracted to the Lord. Jesus is the Bread, and He's the one that feeds ... God has blessed us with the ability (to share with the community) and allowed us to have a nice and welcoming environment."
Building partnerships with city, community and school leaders is key to strengthening and building up the community.
Smith said he looked forward to collaborating on service projects and programs with Antioch Middle School and Delta Bay Church of Christ, a Pittsburg church that relocated to Grace Fellowship's former building.
"There is no limit to what God can and what God will do with Grace Bible," Smith said.
Melissa Moy is a freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch worship services
When: 8, 10 and 11:30 a.m. Sundays; 6 p.m. second and fourth Saturdays
Where: 3415 Oakley Road, Antioch
Info: 925-522-2017 or visit www.gbfofantioch.org