Trinity Bible Chapel: A Church Recommendation to First-Years
Moving out of home and living away from one’s parents for the first time marks a turning point in the lives of many. Especially here at the University of Waterloo, the first week of September is the period of time in which a multitude of first-years (otherwise known as frosh) begin to take their first steps into a brand new season of life. In this fresh chapter of their story, frosh tend to quickly realize that they possess a large degree of freedom and opportunity which they’ve never known before. With all the new choices and possibilities presenting themselves all at once, it can often be a challenge to adapt and prioritize one’s time well.
As Christians, our relationship with God is our top priority and making sure that we set aside time for our faith is of utmost importance for good spiritual health. One aspect of faith that cannot be neglected is the gathering of believers to worship, fellowship, and hear public preaching of the word of God. If you couldn’t tell already from the title, this article is going to be about church, or more specifically, a recommendation to a local Waterloo church.
Hebrews 10:24–25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Being an ex-frosh myself, I can testify alongside many other upper-years that finding and plugging into a new church is hard. After all, choosing between churches means choosing between communities, relationships, and doctrines, as well as opportunities to grow and serve. Combine that with a lack of experience and time, and what you have left for yourself is a bigger challenge than you realize. In the short time of 4 months, it’s not easy for anyone to pick a good church and get plugged in, let alone first-year University students.
What follows next is my personal experience and recommendation of Trinity Bible Chapel: the church I like to call home, when I’m away from home.
Discovery and Initial Thoughts
Over the past years, I’ve checked out quite a few of the other churches in Waterloo, especially the churches frequently attended by those in CCF. Out of all those, the church that I’ve grown to love and decided to settle in is Trinity Bible Chapel. You can call me biased, but Trinity is a church that I would recommend to everyone to at least try attending a few times.
While I am a big advocate for Trinity today, that wasn’t always the case. My first-year self, just a few weeks into Uni, was quite intimidated the first few times at Trinity Bible Chapel. What I was used to back then was a smaller community with a home/family vibe. Since that’s what I was familiar with, I looked for a similar church, where everyone knows each other, and newcomers were quickly spotted and integrated.
Trinity Bible Chapel is not that kind of church. Instead, Trinity is a fairly large church (since the population has more than tripled over the past 2 years) and I’ve found it quite hard to integrate into. The community there is large, yet is somehow still tight, with small groups being super high quality, but also requiring lots of time and effort to get into.
Initially, I was taken aback by the “hard-to-plug-into” community (being an introverted first year is tough), and so I went to check out the other churches. What ended up bringing me back, however, was the preaching. To give you an idea, I’m the kind of guy who loves a good sermon and spends a good chunk of his free time finding them on the internet. I’ve listened to many great preachers, (like Paul Washer, David Platt, John Piper/MacArthur) and I’ve gotta say, Pastor Jacob from Trinity is up there. Coming out of his sermons, it’s rare for me to ever feel un-convicted, and uninspired. What I found there was a passion for the word of God and a power behind the preaching that I have a very hard time finding anywhere else. After a short while in my first year, we Trinity goers started comparing Pastor Jacob’s sermons to slaps across the face, and honestly, I think that’s how it should be. Even if uncomfortable at first, those “slaps” started to grow on many of us over time, and I personally found them to be good for the soul. Those sermons frequently reminded me of what Hebrews 4:12 says about the word of God and the effect that it has.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit
If what brought me back to Trinity was the preaching, then what made me stay and commit was the hearts of those who call Trinity their home. More often than not, you won’t be able to discern the hearts of the people at a church unless you spend a good amount of time attending. The reason behind that is that I think people’s true colours only come out when things get hard. After all, it’s easy to do what’s right when there’s no pressure, and pretty much everyone appears faithful on the surface when there’s no persecution. During the COVID season, when churches were under a lot of pressure and fighting for whether in-person church gatherings were “essential” or not, Trinity took highly controversial stances. Now, I’m not trying to go into whether their stances were right or wrong here, but I mention it because their stance costed them greatly. All of their leaders were charged with exuberant amounts of fines and were even at risk of prison sentences. Despite that, their leadership was unified and steadfast in their faith in God. At that time, what stood out to me was their joined dedication to Christ and perseverance under persecution. These were Christians who proved they were ready to live and die for their faith, and I knew I wanted to go to a church filled with people like that.
Only after I saw the hearts behind the people there, did I finally decide that it was time to leave my comfort zone, and put in the time and effort necessary to plug in. I started talking to people there that weren’t university students, joined a small group, and attended events like prayer meetings or socials. Now, as a fourth year, I can tell you with confidence that I don’t regret committing to Trinity one bit. In fact, my only regret now is that I didn’t get plugged in sooner.
Once I decided to commit to Trinity and put in the effort to integrate myself, I began to experience more and more of the great benefits of being truly a part of a local church. After all, there’s so much more to the Church than a Sunday service every week. As I got more connected, I grew to know some of the older believers there more closely, who were then able to speak wisdom into my life, give me counsel, and pray for me. Going through life with them regularly, I was also able to learn from their maturity and follow their good examples in faith. While that’s just one of the great blessings that I found at Trinity, it alone is already a priceless gift that is severely underrated and undervalued by university students. If you were to ask anyone blessed similarly, you’d likely find the same advice: “go plug yourself into a church, and find older believers to disciple you. You won’t regret it.”
The Church is critically important, yet constantly underrated. You won’t go far in your faith without the Church. Neglect the Church, or leave it low on your priority list, and you’ll miss out on wonderful blessings while suffering the consequences. Choose your church wisely, but don’t sit around too long without making a choice. When you finally end up choosing a church (even if it’s not Trinity), commit to it, plug yourself in, and consider it your family.