Subtle, small, and powerful
Sometimes God moves in local churches through large numbers of baptisms or highly attended events, but He often works in steady, common ways that don’t immediately draw attention, said pastor Jason Points.
“I’m incredibly excited about what the Lord is doing here, and at this point what the Spirit is doing is predominantly unseen, but the Spirit is at work in very substantive ways,” said Points, who pastors First Baptist Church in Trenton, northeast of Dallas.
Points has been guiding the congregation to look for the Spirit at work in the small moments, he said, such as changing hearts and moving people closer to His will one step at a time. The church, which began in 1877, has had years of faithfulness—though seldom has something happened that would garner attention.
“The Spirit is doing incredible things in these little everyday moments, and part of what we’re trying to do now is help people see what the Spirit is doing so that they’re energized and refreshed by the work of God in their midst,” said Points, a two-time Criswell College graduate.
Trenton has been a farming community, and for many of its early years, preachers would come through and stay only a year or two, Points said. One of those who stayed a short time was James Truett, brother of former FBC Dallas pastor and SBC president George Truett, who lived in nearby Whitewright.
Only two pastors have served 10 years or more in the church’s history, and just a handful have served more than six years, Points said. In fact, he is the 40th pastor of First Baptist Trenton, having arrived in late 2021 after serving on staff at First Baptist Church in Farmersville.
Despite a high turnover rate, First Baptist Trenton has loved its pastors well, something Points recalls noticing when he preached there one Sunday evening in 2013.
“They are a congregation that is sweet,” he said. “I think they’re a congregation that bears with one another. While there can be conflict, it’s not like we’re having church splits every time there’s a conflict. Over the last 12 years, they’ve been a church where expository preaching is welcomed.”
About 20 years ago, when the Trenton economy was better, the church had about 200 in attendance, Points said. Now they have 82 active members, and the average attendance is 60 on Sundays.
Points is a full-time pastor, and he said his wife’s full-time job with the city of Frisco makes that possible. Although the church’s finances are tight, First Baptist Trenton needs a full-time pastor to lead them where they want to go.
Last fall, the church started its first growth group—basically a community group that meets on Tuesday nights in someone’s home. About 15 people have been attending.
“We have a meal together. We go deeper into sermon application,” Points said. “We use the sermon to jump into what’s going on in our lives and how God’s Word applies in these given circumstances. The point is to grow deeper relationally and spiritually.”
The future is hopeful, Points said, because the church is located on a corridor between two roads leading to industrial areas. “When people want to move out of the city, this is one of the directions they’re moving.”
Even when flashy things aren’t happening and success seems elusive, Points values ministry in a local church because it’s “where God has covenanted His people together.”
“In terms of faithfully serving in a small church, it’s so important because God has given His people various gifts, and the use of those gifts is vital,” the pastor said. “As a result of people using their gifts in the local church, the church can be refreshed and revitalized.”
Part of getting people to see God at work in the everyday moments is tuning them in to the ways He can use the gifts He has given them, Points said.
Though First Baptist Trenton is seeking to reach people now, they’re simultaneously spending time on in-house matters as well, Points said, “so that we can be in a healthier place to invite people into something where they can be known and belong and be fed and equipped to serve.”