For more information on the congregational meeting including the results of our vote and the casting of lots click HERE
We name and celebrate the ways God has been at work at Trinity this last year:
1. God-centered, Dynamic Worship:
God-centered, dynamic Sunday morning worship continues to be one of our greatest strengths. We began last September in the story of the Exodus, then learned what it means to wait expectantly in hope during the season of Advent, and launched a 10 week church-wide discipleship journey in January focused on being Rooted in God’s Word. All so we might be empowered by the Spirit and sent to be Christ’s witnesses.
We’ve experienced somewhere between 15-20% growth this year in worship attendance as we’ve been averaging (with our college students) around 1,000 people each Sunday, peaking at 1,300.
We praise God for the new people who have joined us, including some who have been disconnected from the church or even unchurched. A few weeks ago we welcomed 24 adults into membership (plus their children). There are many others who see Trinity as their church who haven’t officially joined but are engaged in our life and ministry.
One of our new members said the following: "I have felt 100% accepted since the day I started coming and I never felt that way at another church. I also feel that God and His Holy Spirit are present everywhere here, from the Sunday services to running into other Trinity members on the street."
2.Investing in the Next Generation:
There are currently over 400 college students who worship at Trinity regularly. The majority are from NWC but one-third are from Dordt, and we have some students from NCC as well.
There can be an assumption that college students are only here for worship on Sundays, but we’ve seen increased engagement with students who really see Trinity as their home church, are using their gifts to serve in different ministry areas, and who desire to be a part of the body of Christ. We see this as one of our greatest opportunities: to keep investing in the formation of college students and receive the gift of their presence with us.
Here are some other ways we’ve seen fruit from investing in the next generation:
12 interns in worship, youth and children's ministry over the last 18 months.
22 new babies this past year (and more on the way)! Several families sensed God calling them to adopt. In fact, we have an adoption support group that meets here at Trinity regularly.
Watching our children continue to grow in their relationship with God through Lighthouse Kids (our Wednesday night ministry).
Two of our fourth graders, Dani Pals and Abby Keepers, got a vision to raise money for school uniforms for impoverished kids in Kenya. By putting on a bake sale (with many, many donations from people inside and outside the walls of Trinity), they exceeded their goal of raising $1,000 by hitting nearly $4,300!
10 students (8 middle school, 2 high school) accepted Christ as their savior this year.
10 students professed their faith in Christ and became members.
Turkey Trot raised over $2,000 for the middle school mission trip.
3. Lives Being Transformed:
We rejoice in seeing the lives of our children, youth and college/young adults being transformed. But we know that this call to personal transformation is not just for our children and youth. It’s for all of us! A life of discipleship is about ongoing transformation. And so we celebrate the way that God has done that and continues to do that through our discipleship ministries.
One of the main highlights this past year was our 10 week Rooted experience. 340 people, across the generations, participated in Rooted and many had deeply transformational experiences. As a result, there are so many stories, including the following:
"I want to share with you how much it’s meant to us to bring Rooted to Trinity….We started coming to Trinity and really wanted to find friends, as cheesy as it may sound. We wanted a group of Christian people that could be our “tribe” - the people we reached out to outside of our family."
"Rooted started and we really enjoyed it! This group really helped my husband and I as we went through a difficult time in our lives. I would not be in the place I am now emotionally, physically, spiritually if it hadn’t been for Rooted and our small group."
4. Engaged in God’s mission:
Why are we personally transformed? For what purpose? To join God in mission. This has been in our DNA since the beginning: to be a missional church that is engaged in local, regional and national mission. One of the big highlights this past year has been some momentum around building relationships with our Latino brothers and sisters. We piloted our first Spanish Alpha last fall, which consistently had 20-25 participants. We’re also exploring the possibility of doing a Spanish Rooted. Our Connexiones Team is helping us imagine more intentional ways of doing ministry with the Latino community, including our Suppers for 8 and coming alongside families.
We celebrate all the college students and adult leaders who participated in Spring Service Partnerships (NWC) and PLIA’s (Dordt) this past year. We were able to provide financial support to many students.
Trinity continues to put a high priority on supporting so many different mission partners locally, nationally and globally. We were able to give an additional gift of $25,000 to our mission partners due to the strong financial finish we had in 2017. We also have groups getting ready to leave for both Uganda and Haiti this summer. In addition, there are many individuals who are engaged in national and global mission opportunities outside of Trinity.
5. Growing as a Regional Church:
The makeup of Trinity is changing. No longer are we only an Orange City church. We have 177 non-college folks who worship regularly with us (or are members) who are not OC residents but live in a communities within a 30 mile radius.
In terms of imagining what regional ministry might look like, we want to practice a radical-openness. Beyond just being a church that gathers people from other communities, we want to be a sending church that sends people back to the places where we, live, work and play in our region to be Christ’s witnesses.
Since August Trinity has sent out worship teams to other places 10 times. Locations include First Reformed Hospers, Dover, Granite Church, and OCCS. We believe this is part of the call to regional ministry--to share our gifts and resources with other churches to help support their ministry (to not make it about Trinity).
Both the consistory of First Reformed Church in Hospers and our Leadership Team have discerned the Spirit inviting us into an exploratory conversation about how we might have an even deeper partnership. We’re not sure where this will lead, but we all feel called to take the next step and sit down and talk. That will happen sometime in the next couple months.
This is going to be one of our areas of focus over the next year: discerning and learning what it might look like for us to seek the shalom not just of our immediate community but the larger region.
6. Adjusting our structures to serve our growth and mission:
At our first worship service in our new building, around 500-600 were in attendance. On any given Sunday today, around 1,000-1,200 are in attendance. We have grown 100 percent since moving into our facility five years ago.
While we celebrate this, it also means growing pains. Trinity is no longer a medium size church; we are now (and have been) in the large church category. And that means that we need to adjust our staffing and leadership structures to fit this new size and mobilize us for greater impact.
The staff, Leadership Team, and consistory read an article this past year by Tim Keller on understanding the differences with church size and how it impacts the dynamics of a church. Here are a few of the most important points that are relevant to where we’re at right now:
- Church size transitions are one of the most underestimated challenges that leaders face; it can be harder to move to a church that’s a different size than change denominations.
- When a church reaches the large church category, fewer people need to be making policy decisions, and more people doing the ministry.
- When a church grows, the staff must change their role from “generalists” to “specialists” in a few key areas. Staff also need to shift from being a “leader of workers” to a “leader of leaders.”
- You know you’re hitting a new church size category when you hear some grumbling that goes like this: “Why weren’t we told about that? Who made that decision?”
- When a church grows, it gets more complex and needs to give more intentionality to good communication.
- Trust is essential. The leaders need to lead with transparency, and the congregation needs to trust their intent and competency.
As a result of this growth, we've undertaken a few changes over the last year to "catch up" to our size. We’re piloting a new consistory structure that is designed to match passions and gifts of leaders with ministry areas. So we’ve created different ministry teams, under two main umbrellas (Spiritual Development and Missional Engagement), that have consistory members and congregation at large members on them.
The Leadership Team will continue to function as the primary board of governance, providing the overall direction, accountability and support to the staff as they lead us.
We give God thanks for the way it is going so far. We still have plenty of kinks to work out, but we’ve seen ministries already being multiplied in a way that was difficult under the older structure.
Additionally, we recognize that we are currently understaffed, and the staff we have now are working hard but, as a whole, need more capacity. With the significant growth, we’ve added minimal staff over the years. So built into this new budget are some funds to look at adding some staff positions or developing already existing positions that will give more bandwidth to our current staff and, I’m convinced, increase the staff’s capacity to lead well and empower you, the church, for the work of ministry. The Leadership Team is working on this, and we’ll share more details with you in the next several weeks.
7. Generosity and Stewardship:
A year ago we found ourselves falling significantly behind with giving. There were multiple reasons for this. But we rejoice that we finished 2017 strong with $100,000 excess that was used for more ministry within our walls and beyond our walls.
We continue to be in a financially healthy place. We want to celebrate this! Thank you for the way you are stewarding your gifts (and not just your finances) but your time and your talents! Continue to ask God how he wants you to grow in your generosity.
Some of you are giving sacrificially right now, and regardless of the amount, that sacrifice is making a difference. Others of us may know that we could do more. Consider stepping out and increasing your giving, even if by even 1 to 2 percent. Not only will this have an impact on God’s kingdom work through Trinity, but you will find yourself growing in your own relationship with God.
Online Giving: Online giving offers a great opportunity to remain consistent with your giving. However, it means that the symbolic act of physically putting your offering in the plate is lost. If you are someone who misses the tangible act of giving, we are pleased to offer little blue cards available each Sunday for you to pick up and put in the offering plate. On the card we've provided a space for you to share something you are thankful for, and on the back you are welcome to share any prayer requests that will be held in confidence with our staff.