By Brian Blackwell, Message staff writer
OAK GROVE, La. (LBM) – During his first Sunday as pastor of Trinity Baptist, February 2020, Courtney Rainey presented a vision to 75 worshipers that they could reach and baptize 50 people in one year.
Two years later the congregation is on pace to meet that goal, having baptized 24 new believers since January, while now averaging 135 in Sunday morning worship. For comparison, the church baptized 21 people, combined, in 2020 and 2021.
Rainey told the Message that “when they asked God to move in our own lives and the community” that they did not anticipate they would see the results “in such a short time.” “I’ve never been part of a movement like this,” he said. “We are not just going through the motions. Lives are being changed and it’s exciting to see what God has in store for us.”
Rainey said members have embraced a lifestyle of discipleship that has fueled growth, both spiritually and numerically.
Since June 2021, 40 members have met together on Sunday evenings for discipleship. During the week, four discipleship groups also gather for further accountability and encouragement.
Additionally, several groups have seen increased participation compared to February 2020, including children (30, an increase from 10) and youth (also 30, an increase from six).
During the remaining months of 2022, Rainey said the church plans to equip even more members for discipleship and evangelism – with the hope to share Christ in every home within a two-mile radius of Trinity Baptist.
“Discipleship not only includes studying the Word but includes evangelism,” he said. “Our goal is to make disciples that make disciple makers. We want to know Christ and make Christ known.
“If we do what God has called us to do, we will reach a community and change a community for Him,” he continued. “Revival is happening. Through that we will reach the lost in our community.”
Church member Matthew Harper said he is grateful for the spiritual influence of Rainey and other godly men in the church, who have held him accountable and encouraged him to grow deeper in His spiritual walk. Harper previously accepted Christ but was convicted of the need to share his story through baptism on Feb. 20.
“Being at Trinity has truly put me back on the path that God planned for me,” he said. “I have accountability partners that help me stay in His Word and are always a phone call away when I need prayers. Having the church family behind me has made it easier for me to feel confident and bold in my faith to share with the softball team my wife and I coach and help them in their walk with God.
“I’m just trusting God and His will for my family’s life, like Proverbs 3:5 calls us to do. Having the church community always there for me makes it so much easier to stay strong even in the tough times. I’m beyond grateful.”