Right before I arrived at Trinity, I remember going to a conference called the “Weekender” at Capitol Hill Baptist Church. I knew what a healthy church should look like before I went, I just wanted to see it played out practically. I remember watching the elder meeting there and realizing what a poor job I was doing in keeping watch over the souls of the flock God had given me. When I accepted the call to Trinity, I honestly knew we could not get to the state of “healthy” without a great work of God, because in all honesty I didn’t even know where to start. Fast forward 6 years – it has been so encouraging for some of our Elders to go to this same “Weekender” conference and to see their reactions. They have come back telling me how what they were observing, we are doing or working toward at Trinity. Nothing I saw was revolutionary, but it was a Biblical approach to membership, church, unity and care. As some of the men at the conference were reporting to me this week, I realized how obvious it is that God is shaping us into a healthy congregation. We are growing into a church body that is devoted to displaying the truth of the Gospel to a lost and dying world… not that we are close to arriving, but in truth we are just laying the foundation. However, it is this passion that made me ask the question… “How did we get to this point?” When I asked that question, I had a lot of responses but in short, they can be boiled down to 2 things:
First, incredible grace! We are a church filled with great sinners, and you have a Pastor who has blown it more ways that you and I combined can count. But, God’s grace has been sufficient. By His grace He has revealed truth to us, He has allowed us to become stronger doctrinally, and He has given us a membership who takes church seriously. He has given this body one of the best groups of men I have ever had the honor of working with. There are so many evidences of grace around us and this could actually cover everything that has gone on in our fellowship. In fact, the second answer will sound redundant. But here it goes…
Secondly, our membership: from our staff to every other leadership and ministry position at Trinity, we have members who look at Scripture and genuinely want a Biblical church. We have members who EXPECT me to preach the Word of God, and not just tolerate it. We have a great number of people who are in the midst of ongoing discipleship with other members, and just about every week as I walk through our buildings, I see members paired off or in groups praying with one another. We have had to change service times, buildings, meeting spaces, and the way ministry is done more times than I can count. This last year or so, it has seemed that nothing has been easy, but it has been beautiful. It has been wonderful to watch God sanctifying us in good ways and in very difficult ways. But, it is always for His glory, which is for our good.
All that to say, we are not even close to where we need to be as a church family, but He’s still working on us. His grace is more evident in our lives. He is shaping our body and we so desperately need Him. But, I do not have to Pastor Trinity, I get to Pastor Trinity! I have the great honor to love and preach to you, and you have loved your pastors well. I am not sure I know how to say it, but just a simple thank you to our Heavenly Father and the sweet members of Trinity for becoming more of what God wants us to be and “hanging in there” with one another through this growth period.