Michigan Church: Not Big, but Faithful

First Baptist Church of Trenton prayed for two hours after Sunday orning worship late last year about what to do — disband, merge or abandon its cavernous building. A day later, church members say God answered with a resounding, “None of the above.”

One of the church’s two boilers had breathed its last breath in November 2016. Cost to repair: $35,000. An anonymous giver provided $20,000, but the work hadn’t yet been completed, when in November 2017 the water main broke. The subsequent cost to replace 250 feet of rusted-out pipe: $37,500.

“We have no water and no heat this Sunday morning,” James Jones, pastor since 2000, told the 21 people who had come to worship in the suburban Detroit church.

But a day after the impromptu prayer meeting, the owner of a plumbing company told Jones at the church, “On the way here the Lord spoke to me and said I was to repair this and not charge you a penny,” Jones told Baptist Press months later.

Jones had never before met the plumber. The water main repair at the church that was a former school building, Jones said, would have just about depleted the church’s finances.

“Do miracles still happen? These blessings, I feel, are because our church is not a big church, but it’s a faithful church,” Jones told BP. “Every month we send 14 percent of our offerings to missions through the Cooperative Program, and 4 percent to the [Greater Detroit] Baptist Association, and I believe God honors that.”

Missions

By Jones calculations upon the 60th anniversary of First Trenton in 2017, the church had given in its lifetime $582,000 to missions through the Cooperative Program, and more than $1.2 million to all mission outreaches combined.

Jones is in his second pastorate of First Trenton; he previously led the congregation from 1960 to 1983. During his first tenure, Jones said, he led the church to increase its CP giving from “a little” to 20 percent. Sunday church attendance was about 270. After he left, CP giving dropped to a low of $100 in 1992, and attendance declined.

When Jones returned in 2000 for his second stint as pastor, it was with the condition that the church immediately increase its CP giving to 10 percent raising it more with time.

“Through the Cooperative Program we can have a part in missions all over the world, all over the United States, and be a part of preparing more than 7,000 men and women for ministry, and that’s what we want to do,” Jones said about the Southern Baptist method of churches pooling their mission dollars for greater impact worldwide. “Every Sunday morning when I get up to take the offering, I tell the congregation, ‘When you give your offering today, you’re not only blessing this church, you’re blessing people all over the world.’”

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Source: Baptist Press