For more than three decades, a Clay County pastor has been operating what he calls a ‘Printing Ministry.’
From the outside, Grace Baptist Tabernacle Church in Manchester appears to be just an ordinary small town house of worship, but looks, as we often say, can be deceiving, and boy, is that adage seems appropriate here.
“God puts a burden on your heart for a particular place or people, and he won't let you get away from it. I knew this is what he wanted me to do,” said J.C. Stevens, pastor at the church.
That calling for Stevens was to begin a printing ministry called Grace Printing on the church grounds in 1975. It started in a modest room with a single machine; today it is fully equipped with around 500,000 dollars worth of equipment, almost entirely funded through donations.
“We've got materials going out to all the lower 48 [states] and Alaska. We haven't sent anything to Hawaii yet, and over a dozen foreign countries,” Stevens said.
He says he publishes and sends out around a quarter of a million works annually in four different languages. They've never advertised, relying exclusively on word of mouth, and the cost to the recipients? Absolutely nothing.
“It has never been a commercial enterprise. We have never charged a red cent for anything we do,” he said.
Stevens’s wife Rebecca has been at his side from the beginning. She says the determination behind her husband's purpose here will never extinguish.
“He's going to stay right here until he dies. No joke. I wake up in the morning, he's on that computer and what he is doing on that computer is laying out work for here,” she said.
It may be hard for many to believe something of this magnitude is possible in such an unassuming location. But that fact alone, however you choose to make sense of it, is what makes Grace Printing so special.
Grace Baptist Tabernacle is located at 1636 Brushy Branch Road in Manchester.