Matt Austin, Senior Pastor
I was born in 1962 and reared in a Christian home. One night God began to convict me of my sin and I climbed out of bed to speak to my mother about my concerns. She took the time to open her Bible and show me my sinfulness and God’s plan of salvation through the blood of the crucified Savior, Jesus Christ. She led me to pray to God, and I turned from my sin and placed my faith in Jesus Christ alone for my salvation.During my sophomore year in high school, the Lord called me to preach. I met my wife Karen during our freshman year in college and we were married in 1984. After earning a BA in Theology from Bob Jones University, God led me to serve as an assistant, youth and music pastor, church planter, and Christian school teacher/administrator for a combined total of 23 years. In 2009 God allowed me to obtain a Master of Ministry degree from Bob Jones University. Karen and I have two grown children, Jennifer and Kate. I have been at Grace Baptist Church since June of 2007 and I desire to be a fervent witness of the good news of Jesus Christ to the souls of Pelzer, SC and the surrounding communities.
Pastor Austin’s burden for Grace, “In a culture where churches are trying to reach the lost by focusing primarily on cultural relevance, I believe that the clear teaching and application of the Word of God is the method by which the Holy Spirit will save the lost and grow His children.
As Christ prayed for future believers in His high priestly prayer, my prayer is that God will be glorified and continue to build His church at Grace Baptist.”
Kevin Pilgrim, Assistant Pastor Education and Student Ministry
In June of 1993, as a rising junior in high school, God directed a young lady into my life who cared enough about my soul to share with me the gospel of Jesus Christ. Talking to me on the phone for the first time, she lovingly but boldly told me the truth: I was a sinner, condemned already to a Christ-less eternity because of the sin nature I was born with. God convicted my heart greatly during that phone conversation. By the grace of God, I repented of my sin that day, put my faith in Christ, turned away from sin and self, and turned fully to Jesus Christ. It was the grace of God that saved me that day, and it is the grace of God which continually keeps me and helps me to do His will. After graduating from Woodmont High School, I studied Bible at Bob Jones University. In 1998, God allowed me to marry my high school sweetheart, Ruthie, in the first wedding ever held at Grace. God has blessed Ruthie and me with four children: Emily, Stephen, Benjamin, and Bethany. God called us to serve at Grace as youth leaders in 2005. In 2012, under the leadership of Pastor Austin, I received my ordination and became the assistant pastor.
Pastor Kevin on the Godly leaders in his life, “I have been blessed to have three godly men influence my life greatly. The first was Pastor Tom Craig who instilled in me a desire to please God and a passion for those without Christ. The second godly man was Pastor Richard Gray; he married Ruthie and me and was instrumental in God’s call upon my life. The third godly man is still influencing me. Pastor Matt Austin gave me the opportunity to serve while challenging me to grow for the Lord. He has been a great blessing, counselor, and teacher. I have learned much serving alongside Pastor Austin. It is the influence of these men, and others along the way, that has shaped my desire to see families strengthened in Christ.”