Senior Pastors Bill and Linda McRay
In late August of 1976, at the age of 35, Bill McRay packed up a Ryder rental moving van and moved his wife and two sons to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma to attend Rhema Bible College, formally Rhema Bible Training Center. He had an impressive resume from a 17 year military and business career, but nevertheless, took a minimum wage job at a self-service gas station and enrolled in Bible School. His wife Linda, before the birth of their children, worked in the trust department of a local bank. She took a job at the local Broken Arrow McDonald’s working the early morning and lunch shifts.
Upon graduation from Bible School, the McRay’s returned to Nashville broke, except for just enough money to rent a small house in Hermitage and to buy a few groceries. Bill took a job at a Firestone Tire store and launching out on faith and a call from God, he and Linda began to plant what was at that time one of the first Word of Faith churches in America. Victory Fellowship Church was born on June 12, 1977. After having services in their living room for the first 15 months, the church was relocated to a former furniture store on Lebanon Pike within sight of the downtown Nashville skyline. It remained there for the next 38 years pastored by Bill and Linda McRay. It was a regional church not a community church. People came from all over Nashville and the surrounding counties. The congregation was a true representation of middle Tennessee spiritually, socially, economically and ethnically. The campus grew over the years, original facilities were remodeled many times, and new facilities were built. Pastors Bill and Linda’s emphasis was on building people and thousands of lives were touched by Jesus and changed to become more like Him. The Lord raised up many ministers from the ranks of the VFC congregation over those 38 years. Today those ministers are pastoring churches, working on church staffs, in traveling ministries, and doing missions work in foreign countries around the world.
Life and ministry unfolds in seasons. The ministry of VFC as a traditional church has come to a close, but the mission is still very much alive in the form of the Armada Network of House Churches, aka, the Acts 2, 21st Century Church. A new move of the Holy Spirit has begun. The former move, known as the Charismatic Renewal and its sub-moves, one of which is the Word of Faith Teaching Revival, has also fulfilled its purpose as a Move of God. The primary purpose of a “Move” of God is the revelation that it carries. The revelation carried by the Charismatic Renewal and the Word of Faith Teaching Revival will never pass away, it will remain throughout eternity. God is not finished with the church. He is still building His Church. The church we see today is not the one Jesus will return for. The church Paul describes in the 4th and 5th chapters of Ephesians is the one He will return for. He will return for a Holy Spirit baptized church. It is a church not only filled with the Spirit, but with a fully recognized five-fold ministry in full function according to Ephesians 4. Every member of the church will be recognized as the ministry gift that they are, fully functioning according to Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 12-14. To this end, Pastors Bill and Linda McRay have dedicated and committed the remainder of their lives and ministry to help innovate, pioneer and build the Acts 2, 21st Century Church. Even so, come soon Lord Jesus!