“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19
New Direction. A fellowship birthed with, and continuing in, vision. A church on the move.
In June of 1998, a small group of spirit led people who were hungry for growth in God’s word, proposed to hold home Bible Studies on Thursday nights at the home of Rev. and Mrs. Larron Jackson. Just months later, they were led by God to begin holding Sunday worship services and adopted the name Grace Tabernacle Baptist Church (GTBC). The founding members were Sharon M. Gibbs, Gwen P. Henderson, Harriette Williams-Jackson, Reverend Dr. Larron D. Jackson, Pastor S. Garnett Thomas, Mary E. Thomas, Eloise W. Scales, Michelle Williams, W. Isaac Jackson, Durelle Petty, and Mercedes Petty.
In 2003, Pastor Jackson accepted a job transfer to Denver, Colorado. He faithfully commuted back to Delaware from Denver twice a month until God provided a new pastor for GTBC. In August 2003, Rev. Tony Benson and his wife, Virginia were visiting friends in Wilmington, Delaware. During a morning walk, he shared with his wife that God was calling them to Delaware. Although he did not know how God was going to pull it off, he felt confident that somehow a new address was in the works. Tony and Virginia began praying for an open door of opportunity in Delaware. God answered their prayers in November of 2003 with a phone call they received from Pastor Richardson of Christian Stronghold Baptist Church with an opportunity to pastor in Wilmington, DE. Rev. Benson knew God was clearly speaking and that he had to answer. After several meetings, Reverend Benson agreed to accept the call to become the new Pastor of Grace Tabernacle Baptist Church. On Sunday, August 22, 2004, Rev. Benson preached his first sermon as the pastor of Grace Tabernacle. The title of that message was “His Church Shall Prevail”. This was an exciting time and the Church did in fact prevail. Nevertheless, there were several hurdles the church faced, including being forced out of there Bear location.
In 2010, Pastor Benson felt led to pray for help as the church was losing money monthly and was down to $3,000.00. In January 2011, the Lord led a group of seven believers to begin collectively praying and fasting for a new church. By June of 2011, after experiencing Pastor Benson’s teaching in both service and Bible Study, Carlton and Cheryl Gray, Aaron and Renee Johnson, Carlos and Lucinda Ward and Dr. Vaughn Wright joined to help Pastor Benson build the Kingdom of God through his vision at New Direction. Carlton and Carlos became Elders and immediately began working with Pastor Benson. Some of the early efforts were instituting a new constitution, financial system, brand design, web presence, exterior sign, and sound system. Most importantly, the work began on Pastor Benson’s vision for a learning center and Biblical Academy.
God graciously added a diverse group of new members that included couples, singles and families. Pastor Benson and the NDBF family are grateful to God for His faithfulness through the years and for an unstoppable belief in the vision to help people reach their full potential in Christ and to advance His Kingdom through the life changing word of God. We are just getting started. For souls, for God’s glory and his kingdom…we are on the move.
New Direction Bible Fellowship is a purpose-driven ministry that exists to Exalt, Edify, Educate, Empower, and Evangelize. Pastor Benson’s vision is to help people reach their full potential through the life changing Word of God.