Pastoring the Suburban Church – California Southern Baptist Convention

Pastoring the Suburban Church

Published May 16, 2023

Since 1916, my Jewish Grandpa lived in San Francisco -with brief stints in the Military during WWI, in Boston, MA, and finally, Hawaii, where he went to die and be buried in the Punch Bowl. He had much to say about his love for California and the Bay area. I, too, have learned to love the state of California, like my grandpa. I open with these thoughts because California generally (and its suburbia specifically) will only experience flourishing kingdom churches when they are built by those who passionately love this state and the people who live here.

A state full of people living in the fog and darkness of sin (and the pain associated with it), can only be prevailed by the love of God’s people boldly sharing the message of Christ’s death and resurrection. God’s love in us prevails when we build significant relationships with those of all races and backgrounds who we work, play, and live life with, as we seek out opportunities to share the gospel with foundational connections we have built.

God’s love will also allow us to meet practical needs in order that the hearts of Californians will be open to our message. At Trinity Baptist Church in Vacaville, we meet needs through our major partnerships with a Christ-centered, free medical clinic, the largest homeless ministry in our area, Alpha Pregnancy Clinic, Food banks, and other ministries that are centered in sharing the message of Christ.

Our suburban congregation is very passionate about corporate worship. We utilize multiple choirs, our orchestra, our bands, our musical groups, and Spirit-filled worship leader to facilitate an atmosphere filled with the glory of God in multiple services to celebrate the powerful presence of a Risen Savior through praise and worship to the King. It is in the atmosphere of God’s living presence where people’s lives are transformed, and the deep spiritual hunger of their hearts is met.

In our suburban context, we are passionate about equipping believers for their ministries. We are unapologetically an equipping church. Sunday morning services, Sunday evening services, Sunday Schools, men’s and women’s Bible studies on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and nine mid-week Bible Studies, along with our cooperate worship, are all centered on equipping believers for their ministries to glorify the Lord. As a result, almost every believer in our church has a ministry, and they love serving.

At Trinity, our people have a great heart for evangelism. Twice a week, we host Evangelism FAITH Training, where we then go out to share the gospel. We also boast of having trained more people in the state of California in the Gideon evangelism training called “Conversations.” This unique training allows graduates to buy Gideon Bibles and give them away with the gospel. We have various large group events during the year that total thousands in attendance, reaching the community with the gospel. We love missions, and by the grace of God, we have been blessed to invest 20 percent of our budget and beyond each year toward missions, particularly Southern Baptist Missions.

All of these endeavors summarize the vision of the suburban church: to exalt the Savior, equip the saints, and evangelize the lost for the glory of God, according to the Word of God, and in the Power and filling of the Holy Spirit of God. When believers are embodied by this vision of the New Testament Church, we will reach the suburbs of California for Christ.