About Grace Community

We exist to teach and preach the whole counsel of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures; that the pride of man might be humbled and the grace of God in true salvation might be exalted, to the praise of His glory; and that genuine holiness in heart and life might be promoted.

We desire to bring glory and pleasure to our Heavenly Father in Christ-centered worship, fellowship and ministry. Our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed us with a loving, caring and giving fellowship with families spread out over five counties surrounding Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

We invite you to worship with us if you are vacationing in the Smoky Mountains or moving to this area!

About Grace …

We are …

  • An evangelical “Founders Church”

  • Built on a reformed foundation reflecting the Second London Confession of 1689

  • Committed to preaching the whole counsel of God through exegetical preaching

  • Practicing plurality of elder leadership with deacon-led ministries.

Our History

Our church began in the mid-eighties as a home Bible study in the Maryville area to meet the need for Biblical exposition that is accurate, detailed, comprehensive, and challenging. Over time we have grown in numbers to have need of a building and a more defined structure, but our emphasis has always been on the spiritual growth of each member of the body.

Who We Are

Our Elders

Grace is led by a plurality of elders who are considered to be true equals.
Each elder is a pastor with varied shepherding responsibilities within the body. The elders direct the affairs of the church through prayer, study and teaching of the Word, and careful communication with the congregation.

Chris Riser

Chris Riser

Pastor/Preaching Elder

Ron O'Dell

Ron O'Dell

Elder/Family Ministries

Andy Smith

Andy Smith


Paul Edmiston

Paul Edmiston


Justin Smith

Justin Smith


Jay Brown

Jay Brown


Our Objectives

The objectives of Grace Community Church help us to clarify, Scripturally, how we will live out the theological implications of our statement of faith. Our ultimate goal is to glorify God in all things, our objectives serve as Biblical guidelines to help us accomplish this.


To promote, encourage, and strive after worship of God our Father and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

God’s Word

To teach and preach the whole counsel of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures; that the pride of man might be humbled and the grace of God in true salvation might be exalted, to the praise of His glory; and that genuine holiness in heart and life might be promoted

Spiritual Authority

To humbly subject ourselves to such spiritual authority as may be placed over us under the headship of our Lord Jesus Christ.


To pursue holiness in our personal lives, in our families, and in this part of our Lord’s body, trusting the Holy Spirit to conform us to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ.


To nurture those entrusted to us in personal discipleship, helping every man, women and child to be fully equipped for the works of service and to have the maturity necessary to recognize and refute error.


To reach out to other parts of our nation and the world in support of faithful missionary endeavors


To undergird our every endeavor with alert, thankful prayer, thereby recognizing our absolute dependence upon the power of God to accomplish His own will.

What We Believe

The most important thing about a church is not the facilities, the programs, the numbers, or the vision. The greatest imperative of any church is the theological principles that lay the foundation for every facet of church life and ministry. A church must have properly understood, firmly held, doctrinal convictions, or it will be swept away into error and cultural conformity.

The Gospel

There is much confusion over the gospel today – yet without a biblical understanding of the gospel no one would ever be converted (1 Peter 1:23, Romans 10:14-15).  Therefore we believe it is essential to get the gospel right as the foundation of all that we do as a church.

Statement of Faith

Our statement of faith outlines the basic Biblical doctrines we hold to. We ask every member of our church to affirm their agreement with these scriptural mandates. We believe these principles to be the essential foundation on which a solid, God-honoring, church is built.

Distinctives of Grace

The distinctives of Grace are those things we teach at Grace that are not explicit in the statement of faith. These include positions on Scriptural issues over which good and godly men may disagree, but we feel are important and Biblically clear enough to be affirmed by anyone who teaches at GCC.

Our Covenant

The church covenant is a commitment that each member makes to one another as to how they will conduct their relationships in the body of Christ. We believe that it is vital for our members to understand and be absolutely committed to the ‘one another’ commands in Scripture. Without this commitment a church body cannot grow properly.

Romans 11:36

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. 

To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Ephesians 1:7,8a

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.

John 14:6

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Romans 3:23

… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 5:8

…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Peter 2:24

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; …

Frequently Asked Questions

Women as ministers

We believe that God’s Word teaches that women have many vital functions in the local church (overseeing women’s ministries, serving the body, bringing up children, teaching women and children, etc.), but are not to be official ministers (i.e. pastor, elder, deacon) within it. This is based on teaching found in 1 Timothy 2:9-15, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.

Church attire

We do not believe that the Bible specifies any particular style of clothing to wear to church. According to 1 Peter 3:3-4 and 1 Timothy 2:9-10, however, women (and by implication, men) are to dress in a modest way. It is not our intent to promote a “casual” atmosphere by refusing to specify a particular code of dress. The worship of the Holy God is not something to be taken lightly and it is left to the conscience of each member of the congregation to wear that which will enable them to worship in a joyful fear of the Lord (which includes love, awe, reverence, and humility).

Elders, deacons

We believe that the church is to be led by a plurality of elders whom the Lord has raised up. The function of elders is to lead, oversee, teach, and shepherd the flock of God under the authority of the Lord Jesus This leadership must come with input and accountability from the congregation. Deacons are also raised up by the Lord to assist the elders in caring for the body of Christ. As mentioned above, the offices of elder and deacon are reserved for men. The central passages that teach this are: Acts 6:1-6, Titus 1:5-9, 1 Timothy 3:1-12, Hebrews 13:7,17, and 1 Peter 5:1-5

Divorce and remarriage

We believe that God hates divorce (Mal 2:16), that marriage is to be held in honor among all, and that the marriage bed is to be undefiled (Heb 13:4). We also believe that our Lord gave two provisions for divorce (Adultery – Matt 5:31-32, Matt 19:3-12; Abandonment by an unbelieving spouse – 1 Cor 7:13-16) and that remarriage (in the Lord) of the innocent party is within the will of God in these cases. Remarriage is also within God’s will for one whose spouse has died (Romans 7:1-3). Additionally, we believe that those who were divorced/remarried before conversion are new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:16,17) and are free to remarry in the Lord or hold church office (elder, deacon).


We believe that music is to be used in worship of our God and that God’s Word presents both singing and instruments in a favorable light (Psalms, Col 3:15, Eph 5:18-19, James 5:13). Music is a tool to express worship, and as such the lyrics of each song must present the truth of God’s Word with absolute adherence to Biblical doctrine and principles. However, we do not believe that the Bible provides specific guidelines as to the style of the music. Therefore we seek to use the giftedness that the Lord has provided in our congregation to play and sing with the purpose of bringing glory to God. We believe that those who lead music are to worship as they play and sing and in this way they are “lead worshippers” in our singing time (1 Cor 10:31). We do not hold to the what is sometimes called the “regulatory principle” of worship as we do not see it specified in Scripture.

Constitution and By-Laws

Our Constitution and By-Laws will provide more information on how our church is structured and how we relate to the governing authorities that have been placed over us. …