Churches offer a place of reverence for worship, for fellowship and for extended family connections through their love of Christ. Two churches in Kilgore have taken it a step further as they merge together as one to the benefit of both.

The church merger has brought about a new name of Go Forth Baptist Church, easy enough to remember since it is located on Goforth Road and is now a combination of the former Victory Road Baptist and Stone Ridge Baptist Churches.

Pastor John and Mickie Gradberg have been leading the ministry for Stone Ridge Baptist Church for the past 15 years. A few years ago, the church started looking into a possible building program because of running out of space. Funds were not available according to Pastor Gradberg.

He said, “A few months ago, we were approached by members of Victory Road Baptist Church asking if we would consider a possible merger. Their pastor had resigned and they didn’t have enough people or funds on their own to keep their building open. After much prayer and meeting together and working through possible differences, we begin meeting about six weeks ago for combined worship services.

Since then several people have re-committed their life to Christ and several have committed their life to Christ of the first time. We have watched a marriage restored, and excitement built in the church as well.”

The new church body will begin with approximately 150 who are active for the Lord. Go Forth will begin plans right away to add a bigger fellowship hall as well as Sunday school classes to accommodate future growth for the Lord.

Gradberg said, “Everyone is welcome! It does not matter what kind of past a person has had, what their race or color is, or how much money they have or don’t have! The mission of the Go Forth Family is to go forth and be used by God to expand his kingdom.”

The church sits slightly off the road, although the top of the steeple is visible as you near the location. New signs have recently been erected on the former Victory Road church building and by the highway for easier visibility from the road.

The official launch service will be Sunday, Feb. 14 with evangelist David Ring preaching the message beginning at 10:30 a.m.

David Ring is a nationally recognized evangelistic, author and motivational speaker. He was born dead until 18 minutes later he showed the world he was meant to live and to overcome the challenges of cerebral palsy. Since 1973, Ring has challenged thousands of people with his message, “I have cerebral palsy…What’s your problem?” He shares his story of challenges, losses and depression with the ultimate outcome of friendship, courage and triumph. He currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and four children.

If you have never heard David Ring, this is an opportunity you will not want to miss. Go forth Sunday morning and meet this incredible person and celebrate the merging of the two churches to the betterment of one. The church is located at 3800 Goforth Road.

Valentine’s Day is also Sunday. It is the sweetest day of the year in my books. What better way to show your love than to take your loved ones to church on Sunday? You and your families are welcome at all churches; just love one another by wearing your masks. Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our readers.

May His love and laughter fill your hearts and your homes throughout the week. In the meantime, we may be reached at or (903) 984-2593.

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May His love and laughter fill your hearts and your homes throughout the week. In the meantime, we may be reached at or (903) 984-2593.


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