By the early 1980s, the Farmers Branch community had transformed from a rural community to a busy, commercial suburb. The church’s leaders discerned God calling the church to a new season of spiritual growth and change. Prayer became central in the discernment process as the church sought God for wisdom when it came to how to share the message of Jesus Christ with Farmers Branch, surrounding communities and new generations of people. An elder during that time, Ed Bonneau, has been a member and leader at The Branch Church for more than 50 years. He describes the last quarter of the 20th century as “an era of transition from a small, rural church with a legalistic tradition to a more accepting, grace-oriented church.”
In January 1986, the church of 300 people rallied in response to God’s call—not only to give sacrificially to funds for the new building, but also to pray for the community. By January 1988, the church had hired Eddy Ketchersid. Eddy and his wife Verlen came from Houston after a fruitful 30 year ministry there. They embodied the grace and acceptance of lives fully devoted to Christ, and they modeled these values for the church. In August 1988, the church opened the doors to its new building at 3035 Valley View Lane.
The new location symbolized major shifts in the attitudes and aspirations of our church. At that time, we adopted the motto, “We accept you where you are and challenge you to grow in Christ,” expressing the essence of what church leaders saw in the life of Jesus. They wanted to follow His example and create a place where everyone felt welcomed as they were and could encounter Jesus. This brought about even more changes such as new children and youth ministries.