Our History

Mike & Linda Smith have been following Jesus together since they first met in the summer of 1987.  Over the years, they have served the church in many roles as worship leaders, youth leaders, church planters, and pastors. 

In the fall of 2009, they started The Ignite Center, a creative community meeting on Sunday nights at Hope Church in North Haven CT before moving to Sunday mornings at the Holiday Inn. Through passionate worship, challenging teaching, and a sense of family, they dedicated themselves to seeing Ignite become a thriving community impacting the world with the love of Christ. Pastors Mike and Linda feel called to be a bridge to the generations, bringing people of all backgrounds together with a united vision to release the love of Jesus throughout our culture. Ignite has always placed a high priority on the Presence of God, the Word, and global missions.

As with most young churches, Ignite went through many changes in the early years.  In July 2012, we changed locations from the Holiday Inn conference room in North Haven to our current location at the Yale Plaza in Wallingford CT.  We loved our years at the Holiday Inn, but don’t miss hauling our sound gear in the 25-year-old van held together with duct tape and a prayer.

In 2015, our church went through another dramatic season of change.  Ignite Church was a name based on Mike & Linda’s worship arts ministry, and it no longer seemed to describe the message of grace we discovered and the sense of family that developed.  After a time seeking the Lord in prayer, the name was officially changed to Grace Family Church.

Although our natural history as a church is quite young, our spiritual heritage reaches back throughout the history of the church. We are not officially affiliated with a larger denomination or church network, but we don’t consider ourselves “independent” or “non-denominational”. We choose not to use "independent" or "non-denominational" as these terms don't suit or satisfy our perspective. We are inter-dependent and theologically connected with the greater Body of Christ. We have a rich blend of theological traditions that make us who we are today.