God has brought Greater Grace Temple “a mighty long way.” From the original 3-member congregation, formed in the basement of Bishop Ellington Forbes’ Detroit home to today’s 6000-member mega-church Greater Grace Temple has been on the move.
Bishop Ellington Forbes 1927 – 1962
Yes, it all started with Bishop Forbes, his wife, and mother-in-law. Early on, there great struggles, incredibly lean years when the congregation was forced from building to building. America had just come out of the great depression and money was short. They were often unable to pay the rent, and deep in debt. Yet, like Abraham, they believed God, and walked on by faith. Today, GGT’s brand new, 35-million dollar church and conference center sits on an attractive 19-acre complex known as the “City of David.”
Bishop David L. Ellis 1962 – 1996
God had given the vision for this amazing development to the late Bishop David L. Ellis, Sr. He was a dynamic leader, a highly respected clergyman, and a visionary. Over his thirty-four years as pastor, GGT had seen a tremendous turnaround. He came when the struggling church appeared to be on its last legs. Thousands of dollars in debt, and facing foreclosure. The gas meter taken out of the building and a weekly income of only $135 a week. But God was faithful. The turnaround came and GGT became a spiritual pillar of the Motor City. Yet God would give him a greater vision to build the “City of David”, a place of hope, a refuge for the broken, hurting and the lost.
Bishop Charles H. Ellis III 1996 – Present
Bishop Ellis passed away unexpectedly in 1996. Just before his demise, he would share his vision with his son, Charles H. Ellis III. Little did Bishop Ellis know at the time that he was positioning his son for destiny! Amid the greatest pain of his life, Pastor Charles Ellis proclaimed, “The Vision Shall Come To Pass,” and the congregation stood with him to complete what God had ordained.
The ministry reached new heights under the young and innovative pastor. Membership surged. He was elevated to Bishop and eventually would be elected the Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World. As the pastor of Greater Grace Temple, he would indeed see the God-given vision of his father come to pass. In February, 2002, the GGT family opened the “City of David.” It’s an exciting time at Greater Grace! Yet as Bishop Ellis reminds us to stay tuned as, “There’s always another vision!”