History 2020-04-01T19:38:50-04:00


Grace Baptist West Asheville acknowledges the Divine Providence that placed us on Haywood Rd in 1947 to do ministry in the community of W. Asheville today.

Praise God!  It is an exciting point in the life of Grace Baptist West Asheville.  The Lord is at work here and GBWA is showing signs of spiritual vitality in the city of Asheville that only God can take the credit for.  We are a church revitalization and we’re excited about what God is doing in and through GBWA.

The first service of Grace Baptist West Asheville was held on Sunday, October 26, 1947, at 3:30 p.m. at Anders-Rice Funeral Home, 521 Haywood Road for the purpose of organizing a new Missionary Baptist Church in West Asheville. Rev. Colonel D. Bessinger was called as pastor.  The door of the new church was opened, and at the close of the meeting the membership numbered 222 persons.

The Masonic Hall on Hanover Street was used as a meeting place from November 2 through December 14, 1947. During this time, the church purchased a residence formerly used as Gardner’s Hospital at 718 Haywood Road. The first worship service was held in this building on December 21, 1947.

A three-story brick building built adjacent to the original building was first used on March 6, 1949. In August, 1954, the old building was razed and replaced with a second building occupied on March 6, 1955. An educational building was completed in September of 1962.

This is what consists of our current facilities on Haywood Rd in W. Asheville.

The church has been served by six pastors over the course of its history. Rev. C. D. Bessinger the founding pastor resigned in November, 1958. Rev. C. R. Pierce served as pastor for nearly 28 years from August, 1959 until his retirement on April, 1987.  After his retirement, the church called Dr. J. Derrill Smith who served from November, 1988 until September, 2001.  In November of 2003, the church then called Dr. Wayne Adkisson who retired in 2009.  Nathan Pruett served as pastor from 2012-2016.

GBWA’s lead pastor is now Dr. Branton Burleson who began serving the church June, 2018.  Alongside Pastor Branton is the Pastor of Worship and Families D. Ross Smith who began serving October, 2018.  The Lord has blessed GBWA throughout it’s history but is particularly excited about what God is doing now. Grace has had a history of equipping saints for the work of ministry and hopes to grow in being used by God to train up pastors, missionaries, and believers to serve God wherever he may lead them to go and to be used for his glory.