The late Jimmie W. Martin and Alice S. Martin started preparing for the ministry in the early 1970’s after receiving Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Desiring to grow in God’s Grace, they became a member of Gaza Missionary Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana and began serving in the church to help spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Lord began dealing with them about what He had called them to do. After much prayer and seeking God’s direction, they were led by the Holy Spirit to become part of Evangel Temple Assembly of God. As they began to fellowship, they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to walk with God on a different level.
In 1978, the late Bishop Jimmie W. Martin became the Associate Pastor at Evangel Temple Assembly of God. In 1980, he became the Pastor of Evangel Temple Assembly of God. After serving there for a while, the Holy Spirit began speaking to him about starting a Ministry. At the time the Lord spoke to him about starting a ministry, they were unsure about what to do and how to do it. However, when God commissions you to do his will, he will always tug at your heart until you seek Him for the plan, and that is what they did.
As they both surrendered their lives to the Lord more and more, He began to birth a Vision into their hearts about launching out into the deep by faith to help the hurting people in the world.
On Wednesday, March 11, 1981, Divine Grace Temple was founded by the late Jimmie W. Martin and Alice S. Martin with eight more people and two Bibles. Matthew 19:26 was the scripture the Lord gave them; “But Jesus beheld them and said unto them, with men this is impossible, but with God, ALL things are possible.”
The first worship service was held in their home at 1635 Bartholomew Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70117. From that small beginning, the Lord continued to use and bless them to reach the lost, share his unconditional love, and minister to his people in a miraculous way. Although their beginning was small in numbers, they experienced that God does not count numbers, but He make numbers count.
While spending quality time in the presence of the Lord, the late Bishop Jimmie W. Martin was given a vision of a church building and the Holy Spirit directed him where to go to find it in the lower ninth ward. The church had yellow and white bricks, and it was vacant and not in use. In July 1981, we began to rent the church building in the lower ninth ward at 1447 Benton Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70117. The Lord opened the door for us to purchase the property in April, 1982. As we continued to grow in membership, God blessed us to purchase the property at 1433-35 Benton Street, New Orleans, Louisiana that was adjacent to the church. We used that building to house the Children Church as well as use it for the Fellowship Hall.
The last worship service was held in the old church buildings on May 29, 1994. Construction of a new sanctuary began on June 3, 1994, and we dedicated Divine Grace Temple new sanctuary on February 5, 1995.
Even though we experienced Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005 that destroyed the church contents and the other properties, God had proven his faithfulness to us. Yes, that was a setback, but because of God’s mercy, grace and goodness, we launched a comeback.
Excitement was in the air as we prepared to launch a new beginning to rebuild a new sanctuary on approximately 7 acres of land at East LA Highway 30 in Gonzales, Louisiana. The Lord graced Apostle Alice S. Martin with His wisdom and supernatural favor as she embarked this new venture to rebuild the church. On September 27, 2008, the Ground Breaking Ceremony took place, and on Saturday, October 10, 2009 at 728 East Highway 30, Gonzales, Louisiana 70737, we dedicated Divine Grace Temple’s new sanctuary.
We reached another milestone in the history of Divine Grace Temple, and completing this assignment marked a memorable occasion in all of our lives. We have always known that the Lord had great things to accomplish with us, in us, and through us, and we were able to accomplish what many felt was impossible. However, we kept the faith in God and did not become weary in well doing in spite of trials.
God has given us an awesome task to undertake that will impact lives in the community, surrounding areas, and all over the world for generations to come. This certainly will be a time to see God’s supernatural power manifested at a level we have not seen before. We continue to walk by faith as we engage in fulfilling God’s purpose and destiny for our lives, take care of Kingdom business, and bring Glory to His Name.
The Lord has done tremendous things for us time and time again, and we know He is faithful and He can be trusted. We will remain focused as we stand in faith for the manifested promises of God to come to pass in the years ahead.