For this project, I interview three Christian leaders in different churches or parachurch ministries regarding the place of the Holy Trinity in their ministry. I was to briefly identify the denomination and the cities of the persons I interviewed; and ask, “How is the doctrine of the Trinity communicated in your church?” “Do you ever cite the Creeds?” “How does the belief in the Trinity influence your own ministry?” From the leaders answers, I was to synthesize the date to report, interpret, and evaluate the results of the interviews in about 600 words.
For this project, I interviewed the following pastors: SR, teaching pastor at a non-denomination church of 2,000 members in Johnson City, TN; PR, campus pastor for an Evangelical Free church of 2,500 members in Naperville, IL; and BR, the senior pastor at a Bible church of 3,000 members in West Chicago, IL.
Each pastor shared that the doctrine of the Trinity is communicated in a way that is assumed and unintentional. Two of the three pastors do not recall a deliberate sermon or sermon series discussing the Trinity at any point recently. Each church discusses the Godhead in the membership classes and new believer’s classes as well as play worship songs on a regular basis that references the distinct members of the Trinity. Each member of the Trinity is brought up during communion and is part of the baptismal model in each church. Of all the churches I have researched to interview pastors and in general, only BR’s church mentions the word “Trinity” directly in their doctrinal and core beliefs. Other churches do not use the word “Trinity” directly in their beliefs and doctrines, but do reference each member of the Godhead.
The citing of the creeds in these churches is virtually non-existent. Only on rare occasions during a more traditional service did one pastor’s church actually cite the creeds. As I discussed the possible reasons why, it seemed that the creeds are not part of that denomination’s emphasis. Since none of these churches are liturgical in nature is one possible explanation why the creeds are not used. Another observations for the lack of creeds is that while the church tries to be contemporary and culturally relevant, the creeds are seen as old and unnecessary. As the churches try to be open to new believers and remain modern, the creeds become non-essential.
The belief in the Trinity for each pastor is the foundation that their faith is built upon. It is something that God pointed out in each of their lives in different ways but is part of everything they do. Two of the pastors mentioned that every text of their Bible reading seemed to be pointing to the Triune God in some way. As God revealed Himself and the Trinity through Scripture and different seminary classes, their faith began to become more solid. For each pastor, the doctrine of the Trinity was something that was difficult to grasp and understand initially; it required more study and in their learning, each came to a greater knowledge and a more correct view of the Trinity. The Trinity has influenced their normal, everyday life in a way that it reminds them that God is all around them and part of the air that we breathe.
It is interesting how each pastor intentionally tries to bring up each member of the Trinity as they teach, preach and communicate with their congregations. While the word “Trinity” may not be specifically used in their churches, each member of the Godhead is mentioned or talked about frequently throughout sermons, Bible Studies and adult community classes. Unanimously, each pastor’s church is focused on teaching more about the Holy Spirit, His work and His role in the Trinity. From these interviews, while the creeds may be used on rare occasions, the members of the Trinity are being preached, taught and used in sermons, doctrinal statements, communions and baptisms, but there are very few if any direct sermons on the Trinity. The Trinity has greatly influenced each pastor’s life and ministry. It is a part of our very lives and a foundation of our faith.