ABOUT GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH
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Following a community revival, a small group of new believers voted in January 1957 to organize Grace Baptist Church in Liberty, South Carolina. Charter members, Jess and Ida McAlister provided an empty house on South McAlister Road for the first meeting place of the new congregation. The Rev. George Kelley was elected as the first Pastor. In the years that follow, the congregation relocated to its present location on N. Old Pendleton Road. The ‘little church’ as it is now affectionately known was built, followed by a parsonage and fellowship building. Subsequently, the fellowship building was expanded and the present sanctuary was constructed in 1985. Currently, the sanctuary is undergoing renovations.
Although several Pastors have served the congregation, the majority of the pastoral ministry is confined to three Pastors. Pastor Bud Smith served fourteen (14) years; Pastor Clifford Kelley, twenty-one (21) years; and Pastor Jeff Kelley (son of Pastor Clifford Kelley) has served since 2002. The answer to the most often asked question is: “No, Pastors Clifford and Jeff Kelley are not related to the first Pastor.”
JEFFREY W. KELLEY, D.MIN
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“Jeffrey W. Kelley is the Pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Liberty, South Carolina where he was preceded by his father, Clifford W. Kelley, who served there twenty-one years. Under his father’s ministry he served as organist, Sunday School and Bible Institute instructor, member of the Finance Committee, as well as in other ministry positions. Following his father’s unexpected death in November, 2001 he accepted the call to succeed his father.
Pastor Jeff, as he is known to the congregation, is committed to expositional preaching. Serious about serving Christ, his stated goal is to always remain “tethered to the text”
After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Bob Jones University, Pastor Jeff spent a number of years working in a large regional accounting firm where he specialized in automobile dealership and construction contractor accounting including financial statement audits as well as corporate and individual tax planning and return preparation. As the course of his life began to turn toward the ministry, Jeff left public accounting and subsequently held positions as Compliance Officer in an investment advisory firm followed by Controller and Special Projects Manager with a publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).
Subsequently, Jeff earned the Master of Arts in Teaching Bible and the Specialist in Ministry degrees from Bob Jones University and a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) degree with an emphasis in expository preaching at Dallas Theological Seminary. In addition to pastoring, he continues to work bi-vocationally providing Chief Financial Officer and Controller services with a local firm. He is a Certified Public Accountant, a Chartered Global Management Accountant and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants. He served two terms by appointment of South Carolina Governors Carroll Campbell and David Beasley to the Pickens County Water Authority where he served as Vice-Chairman and Chairman. He has also served as Secretary/Treasurer of the International Fellowship of Fundamental Baptists.
Pastor Jeff and his wife Kim were married in 1988. They have two sons, Brendan and his wife Alicia, and Elliott and one granddaughter Audrey Grace.
Pastor Jeff, a lifelong learner, enjoys history, reading (particularly history, theology, and biography) and spending time with his family.