During a 1972 revival led by Evangelist Frank Peoples at the Boyce United Methodist church in his home community of East Liverpool, Ohio, Bill Bailey became a follower of Jesus Christ. He recalls that when the alter call was given, as he was making his way forward, he heard a voice in his head telling him, “No, this is not what you should do, don't do this; get out of here!” But he persisted. After prayer for salvation, when the weight of sin was lifted by the grace of Jesus Christ, Bill recalls that he, “felt the energizing lightness of this new life.” From that night to the present day, he has been thankful that God saved him from a destructive lifestyle.
Bill had no Biblical foundations at that time, so his pastor encouraged him to begin memorizing scripture. When he began working in the steel mill, Bill used much of his free time to memorize whole chapters of the Bible. The Holy Spirit blessed him with an excellent memory and an insatiable thirst to understand the Word of God. Bill, had often thought that he would like to own a nightclub someday, but it wasn't long until he sensed God's call to a public pastoral ministry.
While serving in the United States Army, Bill began his graduate education at the University of Alaska. He later attended Kent State University in Ohio. After becoming a Christian, he enrolled at Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles, California. At Azusa he learned to place great value on the Bible's original languages of Hebrew and Greek for accurate interpretation. He later continued his Bible study at Geneva College,PA.
In August, 1975, at age twenty-six and unmarried, Pastor Bill was appointed Pastor, of the Sunnyside Free Methodist Church. The Sunny Side church had a long history. It was established in 1901. As Pastor Bill tells the story, “When I saw that old Sunny Side church building sitting at the top of a hill with thirty eight steps straight up to the front door of that well worn building, I thought I might just refuse this assignment.” "I was dumbfounded!” Thankfully, the Lord impressed upon his heart that this was indeed a Divine appointment. In just weeks, the church began to thrive, especially after a series of revival services which were lead by his now good friend, Evangelist Peoples. During the revival, the church was packed and people stood on the steep steps outside to hear the Word of God. It was a great time for Bill and his new flock.
In the summer of 1976, the growing congregation took a huge step of faith to purchase an unoccupied church building at 401 Second Street, in the city of Monongahela. In 1977, after much hard work and overcoming many obstacles, the Monongahela Free Methodist Church was born and continued to grow in membership.
Recognizing the needs in the community caused by a declining economy, Pastor Bill began a Community Food Pantry in 1986. This “labor of love,” managed faithfully by gracious volunteers from the MonFMC congregation, has provided food, fellowship and a reminder of God’s love to 150 - 200 families for twenty five (25) years now and continuing.
A recent addition to the ministry of Pastor Bill came in 2008 when the congregation made a commitment to support a half hour radio broadcast that he named Journey by Grace. These preaching based programs are now heard on two local radio stations every Sunday and continue to be totally funded with contributions from the congregation.
Under Pastor Bill's teaching, the Mon FMC experienced steady growth. They were continuously remodeling their older church building and their need for a larger facility with more parking became a constant focus of prayer.
In 2010, by the providential leading of the Lord, the congregation moved to its current location on Rt. 51 and Journey by Grace Church was born; a church that would answer Pastor Bill’s challenge to be, “The convinced and convincing people of God who provide a place of worship for generations to come."
Pastor Bill’s constant theme for over 35 years has been, and will continue to be, “Salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ Jesus alone.”
Pastor Bill has a deep conviction that the word of God must be carefully taught from a grace perspective, in order to equip God's people to live as more than conquerors in this present age. To the present day, his “journey by grace” has touched the lives of many… As Wes Large, who has been in the church since Pastor Bill’s first Sunday says, “Bill has been obedient to God’s word.” “There are those who tried to entice him to other ministries, but he has steadfastly refused them to remain our Pastor for 35 years and counting.”
Pastor Bill often reminds us, “ You are worth a Son to God!”
Tom Ravasio is a Mon Valley native who comes from a large family of nine brothers and sisters. At the age of 22 Tom met the Lord Jesus Christ and a radical change was evident in his life. He immediately began to serve the Lord through his local church and then served two years with the missionary organization "Operation Mobilization" on their ship "LOGOS". That experience took him to over 20 countries through Central and South America, the Caribbean Islands, and the eastern coast of the United States and Canada. Following this, he entered Trinity College of Florida, earning a Bachelor's of Theology in Pastoral Studies and continued his studies at Dallas Theological Extension Campus in Tampa Bay.
Tom is also a licensed Pastoral Counselor through the National Christian Counselors Association. God used Tom's childhood passion for horses to inspire him to open the Shekinah Western Ranch Camp in Charleroi, PA, which he directs during the summer months. (www.shekinahranch.com) Tom is also an author of the end times children's series, "Lord of the Horses". (www.lordofthehorses.com) Tom and his wife, Karen have three daughters and three grandchildren.
Brian Smith was born and raised in a small town just east of Little Rock, AR. Brian has served the Lord from a young age, never perfectly, but perfectly under God's amazing grace. After graduating high school in 1998, he attended FIRE School of Ministry where he met his amazing wife, Evie. After one year of school, Brian and Evie were married. In 2001, they both graduated with AA in Practical Ministry and Brian was hired by the school as Associate Youth Pastor.
Since then, Brian has served in staff and lay positions in ministry and now joins our staff as a full-time Youth Pastor. Brian's scope of ministry is wide, ranging from worship, drama, administration, helps, teaching, preaching and graphic arts, but his main ministry passion is for youth. Brian is joined by his wife of 12 years and their three children, Hayden (8), Jael (5) and baby Caleb. Brian and his family love spending time outdoors, or taking road trips and exploring the countryside. Since arriving here in the Pittsburgh area, Brian has become a Steelers fan...GO STEELERS!
Nicole Bagan has been a part of the Journey by Grace Church (formerly the Monongahela Free Methodist Church) for her entire life. She was born and raised in Monongahela. Nicole is Pastor Bill’s daughter and counts that as a blessing from God. She graduated from Elizabeth Forward High School and went on to graduate from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. At that time in her life Nicole had plans to move near family in the Los Angeles area, but the Lord had other plans. That summer she met her husband to be, David Bagan and after a time of courtship they were married in 2002. After marriage they lived in the Seattle Washington area as David finished his tour of duty in the U.S. Army, being stationed at Fort Lewis Washington. They have since moved back to the Mon Valley and now have a son Luke, who is four years of age. They currently have made the Belle Vernon area their home. They also are huge Pittsburgh sports fans and enjoy spending time with family and friends watching games and teaching Luke to be a diehard Pittsburgh fan.
Nicole loves being a part of the Journey Church and serving wherever she can. She has known the Lord from a very early age and is very excited to see the great work God is doing in her Church.
Heather Goodwin has been a member of Journey by Grace for over 14 years and has served actively leading children's ministry. As Director of Christian Education, Heather oversees the programs for toddlers through 5th graders, including a fully staffed nursery on Sunday during the 10:45 Contemporary service and Journey Kidz Children's Church. On Wednesday evenings she directs the Kidz Connected Ministry, a part of the "Campus Ministry" JOURNEY by Grace offers to provide something specific for everyone from toddlers to adults.
Heather's goals are first, to make the time all children spend with us the best hour of their week and second, that every child would experience the love of Christ in a way that meets them exactly where they are. She knows that God has great things for the smallest in His kingdom and great blessings for those who teach them.
Heather became a Christian as a child. Her passion for children's ministry started when she was very young helping with Bible School. Now she directs the JOURNEY by Grace "high energy" Vacation Bible School that welcomes all area children.
Heather, her husband Bill and 5 children, William 19, Anna 17, Miles 15, Nicholas 11, and Maxwell 4, live in Charleroi, PA.
"But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus-the work of telling others the Good News of God's wonderful kindness and love."
Pastor Bill Bailey: email@example.com
Pastor Tom Ravasio: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastor Brian Smith: email@example.com
Secretary Nicole Bagan: firstname.lastname@example.org
Children's Ministry Director Heather Goodwin: email@example.com
WebAdmin Daniel Critchfield: firstname.lastname@example.org
JOURNEY by Grace
4803 State Route 51 N
Belle Vernon, PA 15012
Tel: (724) 823-0070
Fax: (724) 823-0586
Realife Student Ministries
Journey By Grace Facebook
Shekinah Ranch WebSite
Free Methodist Church of N.A.