1. A person can only know and worship God after being born again by faith alone in Jesus Christ into the community of the redeemed (John 3; Ephesians 2:8-9).
2. Worship of God in three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is both corporate and personal, changing our beliefs and motivating us to service (Romans 12:1-2).
3. The work of the Holy Spirit through His Word is the catalyst and seal of our redemption (1 Timothy 3:16; John 16:7,13).
4. God's grace is unmerited favor and the basis of spiritual birth and growth (Ephesians 2:8-9; James 4:6).
5. The church, the local community of the redeemed, reflects the unity, diversity, and creativity of God through the identification and use of spiritual gifts (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
6. Prayer is our active evidence of faith, obedience, and utter dependence upon our absolutely sovereign God (James 4:2-3; 1 John 5:14).
7. Jesus established believers' Baptism and the Lord's Table as signs and celebrations of redemption among the community of the redeemed (Matthew 3:15-17, 26:26-29).
Mission and Vision:
Mission: To glorify God by engaging people with the message of hope, and redemption, available to all, who know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Vision: To be a loving Christian community, devoted to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. That others may come to know him.
To be a church that equips believers for the work of evangelism and building the body of Christ. That they may know the truth and contend for the faith.
History of the Church:
In 1849, a few settlers in the Southwest portions of Trowbridge Township desired religious services in their own neighborhood. Services were first held in the Hicks School.
In 1865, the congregation had increased enough to build a house of worship. In 1866, the Trowbridge Methodist Episcopal Church was built and dedicated complete with horse sheds to the north of the building that sits directly across the street from the new building we now meet in.
In 1968, with the merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, the church came to be the Trowbridge United Methodist Church (TUMC).
Many years later, a transition from Trowbridge United Methodist Church to Trowbridge Community Church (TCC) began. This journey was filled with much prayer. There was an awareness that this journey could not be accomplished without the approval and help of God.
"The Church on the Hill," as TUMC was known, had a Bible teaching and preaching pastor named Ivan Niswender from 1981 to 1994. The services were filled with people of all backgrounds, family types and ages seeking to know our Lord better. There was simply not enough room in the building on the west side of 26th Street.
When this pastor stepped down, he highly recommended our next pastor, Gary Wales. Pastor Wales was also a Bible teaching and preaching man who saw us through our move across the street to our present location built largely by volunteers. Neither of these pastors had a strong attachment to the Southwest Michigan United Methodist Conference. We basically governed ourselves.
TUMC member Lorie Hutchens remembers being a delegate to the Conference for a few years during this time. She observed a breach between Bible believers and church liberalism in the conference, a breach that continues to widen to this day.
For a variety of reasons, our move to the new building caused complaining, arguments, gossiping - all Satan's play things causing many attendees to leave. This continued through the next two pastorates of Pastor Tony Shoemaker and Pastor Sheila Baker. These two pastors guided us from our independent ways and brought us back under the Conference control. Our people were not happy. Factions formed in the congregation. As the troubles continued, attendance dwindled until our congregation was very small.
Pastor John Moore was sent from the Conference on a part-time basis to "quell the natives." He did that by loving us, by listening to us without comment and never entering into our dissension. We healed over time and began to love each other again.
After Pastor Moore retired at age 94 in October of 2017, having completed three years of service, the Conference didn't have any candidates to fill the pastoral position. There was a desire within the TUMC congregation to leave the United Methodist denomination. With prayer, God sent us Interim Pastor Greg Carlson in December of 2017. Pastor Carlson preaches a gospel message from the Bible and has led us in worship of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
A delegation from the church, including Lorie Hutchens, Tom Harmon and Scott Gillette, visited the District Superintendent (DS) of the United Methodist Conference. Although the DS was "pained" by the thought of TUMC leaving the denomination to become independent, the TUMC delegation found the DS to be encouraging in regard to TUMC finding its own pastor and retaining its property.
The TUMC congregation voted unanimously to leave the United Methodist Church and become independent. With Scott Gillette leading and the skills of our pastor, a committee was formed to write new church documents. A church constitution, including By-laws, a Statement of Faith, and Covenant were prayerfully created. The committee scrutinized each word and finally presented the documents to the congregation for reading, any insights and their acceptance. The congregation adopted these documents unanimously on February 24, 2019.
Through the winter of 2018-19, there were some Sundays when attendance was down to about fifteen faithful souls. Yet there was an anticipation of what God would yet do with the congregation. During this time, the Conference Trustees visited council members of TUMC. The Conference Trustees came to the meeting thinking that TUMC was disbanding. Their misunderstanding was corrected and they left with the understanding that they would make a proposal for the new independent church to purchase the building and property.
There was a proposal near the end of 2018 and subsequent negotiations. A local Christian attorney, Chris Antkoviak, was an encouragement and legal help to our council members and pastor at that time. The Conference eventually sent us an ultimatum: If our church wanted to separate from the Conference, we could. But if we wanted to retain our building, it would cost us $150,000. The building and property were in legal possession of the Conference. The stated amount for purchase was a shock to the congregation being we had already paid in full for the construction of the building soon after it was dedicated in 2004. The conference felt the selling price was more than fair as the building was estimated at a value far greater than $150,000.
The congregation struggled with the concept of purchasing the building for a second time. Soon after, however, the congregation came to an acceptance of the Conference terms and prayerfully began to search for funds.
On January 1, 2019, the church officially separated from the Conference. Articles of Incorporation were completed with the State of Michigan. Soon after, the old sign near the road was taken down and a new attractive sign for Trowbridge Community Church was put in its place. In the providence of God, many new folks started attending the church. A Charter Membership was formed, including those who had been a part of the church (some for decades) and the new folks who came alongside them. We have an anticipation of how God will use us in accomplishing his mission for our church. We are praying for a "settled pastor" to be revealed to us in God's time.
The Lord has provided financing for the building through private parties who share the vision of the gospel work through TCC. The weekly offerings and church budget have shown the extraordinary blessing of God throughout the transition from TUMC to TCC.
The church elected new officers for the newly formed Ministry Council on September 1, 2019. The first "Covenant Sunday" was held on September 8, 2019 where people committed to the first full year of membership and the Church Covenant.
Our prayers have been answered. Our church has been overwhelmed during this journey by the extravagance of God. He has blessed us with dedicated people, with funds, with guidance through the transition, and with a new name - Trowbridge Community Church.