Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
LAKE CHARLES, La. (LBM) – Sutton Trombatore had been curious about Jesus for a while but finally realized his need for a Savior in late 2021.
Soon after witnessing a baptism at Trinity Baptist Church, Lake Charles, in December, the youngster, 6, had an in-depth conversation about salvation with his parents, Chris and Dani, and church staff members. Sutton accepted Christ at the meeting and on April 24 was baptized by his dad.
“I told Sutton that day that he had always been my son, but I now got to baptize him and call him my brother,” Chris Trombatore told the Baptist Message. “There is no bigger reward for a father than getting to baptize your son.”
Trombatore is among 125 new converts the church (which averages 1,400 for worship) has baptized, collectively, every Sunday since Oct. 31. Another 53 have professed Jesus as Lord and are awaiting baptism.
Pastor Steve James said his goal each year is for at least 100 people to decide to follow Christ and get baptized. Since Jan. 2, Trinity Baptist has baptized 99 and is on pace to have its most baptisms (197) since 2012.
James credits the wave of baptisms to the congregation inviting others to attend worship, which many times leads either to a decision at the service, at a pastor meet-and-greet after worship or at an in-home visitation later.
“People ask me all the time ‘What’s the reason for all these salvation decisions and baptisms?’ and I tell them there is no special plan or magic formula,” James said. “People come to see us, we see them, we tell them about Jesus, they get saved. We give God the glory for all of this.”
Student and Evangelism Pastor David Doyle said he is excited that so many lives are being changed every week as they encounter Jesus.
“Our church is fired up about the vision and what God is doing,” Doyle said. “It normally takes years to recover from things like the pandemic, hurricanes and flood. But we have experienced growth during the first year we’re back. All glory to God. With Jesus, the best days are always ahead of us. We continue to move forward as a church and look toward Jesus.”
LIGHTHOUSE FOR HOPE
Trinity Baptist, which sustained heavy damage from Hurricanes Laura and Delta, was a lighthouse to the community during multiple natural disasters in 2020 and 2021, serving as a hub for ministry to hurricane survivors, relief workers and law enforcement personnel.
Disaster relief volunteers with state Baptist conventions from around the country joined workers from organizations and up to 50 Trinity Baptist members each day to use the church as a launching pad for ministry as part of disaster relief efforts. Moreover, local law enforcement teams utilized the campus as a staging area, creating even greater visibility for the church’s ministries within the community.
The church, in March, collected more than $90,000 that was forwarded to Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief, who in cooperation with SEND Relief, has used the funds to purchase emergency food supplies, shelter, transportation, medical care and hygiene kits for displaced Ukrainians. A portion also offset costs for a team that traveled to Poland in early May to minister to Ukrainian refugees.
Trinity Baptist also collected enough medical supplies to fill 28 large boxes (1,337 pounds) that were shipped to Ukraine.
James said the church has long been known as a beacon of Christ to the community, but the disasters since 2020 have given members an even greater chance to show their neighbors the love of Christ.
“People are a little more open since then,” James said. “They see in Trinity a genuine love and compassion for people. They remember the part we played in hurricane relief and being the base church where they could come and get meals and get supplies. We realize we have had a lot of help from the state and outside Louisiana, but people look at Trinity as the place to help them when difficulties arise.”