by Chris Peoples
ADRIAN, MI – The seeds of this story’s blossoms were planted during the summer of 2020, long before the fruition was realized. It is only possible through the outpouring of God’s grace upon our church.
I was serving as an associate pastor yet believed God had called me to serve as a lead pastor. This calling became stronger and stronger. So, we began to pray for what God might have for our family.
We felt a strong sense to stay in our community and possibly plant a church. For more than a year, my wife and I asked God to lead us to a core group of people who were open to planting a church with us. We wanted that group to value expository preaching and to reach the community – in our current school district.
Meanwhile, every day I drove by a church building that appeared to be vacant. I began to pray, “God, if there is a church there, and the pastor is ready to retire, I would go there.” This was a continuous prayer for many months.
In April 2021, I received a phone call from the Baptist State Convention of Michigan (BSCM) office. “Chris, would you be willing to consider a church in your current community? I cannot tell you which church, but the pastor is retiring, and I would like to give them your resume.”
It didn’t take much time for me to know which church we were talking about. It was the church I drove by every day. The church I prayed for daily. The church that had a core group of people who valued expository preaching. The church knew they needed to reach the community if they would continue to operate as a church. God had answered our prayer, although differently than we had asked. That is how God operates at times, is it not?
Six weeks after the former pastor officially retired, the church voted to call me as their next lead pastor. Six weeks. Let that sink in for a moment. God was so intentional about what he was doing that he allowed an unthinkably short vacancy. I am forever grateful for this opportunity.
The first time that I preached at Trinity Baptist Church in Adrian, Michigan, there were seventeen people in attendance. On Easter Sunday, there were fifty-two in attendance. We had students gathering in the building. We had children running out of the auditorium to be taught by our children’s workers. We had babies crying in our building. Every piece was beautiful, and we deserve none of it. Jesus Christ gets the glory for all of it.
I have been asked how we are growing. What is our secret recipe? Often, my response is that we pray for God to increase our territory. My second response is that we want our community to know that we exist and care deeply for them. We attempt to show that care in tangible ways.
We hosted a summer party and gave away backpacks, free food, and provided entertainment for the whole family. We handed out custom bottled water at our local fall festival. We partnered with a local coffee shop, and bought coffee for teachers to show our appreciation for them. We hosted a nativity with live animals, cookie decorating, and free food. We hosted an Easter party. Each event has introduced us to new faces in our community.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Peoples serves as the lead pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Adrian, Michigan. He has been married to Bridget for twenty-five years. They have four children. You can contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-263-0345
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