Holy Trinity is a church zealously committed to not allowing busyness, numerical growth, buildings, programming or preoccupation with “success” to trump relationships. A place where guests are warmly welcomed and regular attenders know and are known by others. Where real life-on-life community and discipleship take place. Where people are dead serious about deepening their relationship with the Lord, growing in Christlikeness, loving their neighbors and communicating the good news of Jesus in word and deed. Where everyone chips in, serving others in the power of God’s Spirit with the gifts He gives us. Where compassionate outreach to our community and the world is a natural outgrowth of our gratitude as God’s “beloved ones”.

Deeply rooted in the historic Christian tradition, yet responsive to contemporary issues and concerns, the church is a gathering of broken and blessed people seeking to live lives of faithful discipleship in our fractured, post-Christian world. It weaves together elements of the ancient, evangelical and continuationist traditions into a tapestry of worship, discipleship, fellowship and service.

The worship services observe the ancient four movements that have characterized divine services from the earliest days of the Church (and, before that, the Hebrew people), not in a slavishly mechanical way but as general rhythms informing our time together. The four movements are: (1) Gathering – where we call God’s covenant people to worship Him, following His gracious invitation to join our High Priest and the multitudes in heaven surrounding God’s throne, confessing our sins, celebrating His forgiveness, entering His courts with praise, humility, reverence and gratitude (2) Communing – through song and sacrament, enjoying the fellowship of God and the redeemed community, (3) Listening – carefully and prayerfully attending to God’s holy Word, which nourishes our souls and guides our lives, responding to it in faith, and giving prayerful attention to whatever prophetic words God might be speaking to us and through us, and (4) Sending – Receiving God’s benediction of grace as we reengage our world in the love of Christ and the power of His Spirit, doing the “good works” that God “prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph 2:10).

The services are not a one- (or three- or ten-) person show but involve many different men and women` using their Spirit-given gifts of teaching, exhorting, leading, worshipping, praying, prophesying, etc. We discover the depths of God’s Word together. We hear testimonies weekly of what God is doing in and among us. We offer prayers for those needing it at each service for salvation, physical healing, emotional healing, etc. Holy communion is celebrated weekly. Select liturgical elements—responsive readings, scripture readings, traditional prayers, the Apostle’s/Nicene Creed, benedictions, etc.—guide our worship in responsiveness to the Holy Spirit.

Our worship is embodied, using the whole of who we are in grateful adoration of who God is, working against a purely rationalistic, cognitive or intellectual approach to God. Raising our hands, kneeling, prostrating, bowing, making the sign of the cross are common expressions of awe and love in Christian worship and welcomed here.

The church follows the course of the liturgical calendar, which essentially retells the story of Christ each year, helping us to “retrace His steps” as part of our own spiritual journeys. This is not a rote devotion to an inflexible model but a general pattern of living that helps us imaginatively participate in the biblical narrative.

Our name, “Holy Trinity” expresses the centrality of the triune God in our individual and corporate life. God—Father, Son and Spirit—is the source, means and end of all existence (Rom 11:36). “Holy Trinity” seeks to preserve the mystery of God’s beauty and holiness in its infinite wonder, without reducing God to manageable size. We are deeply aware that everything we are and do grows out of the being, plans and actions of the blessed holy Trinity.

Salvation isn’t a legal fix to avoid hell; it is a matter of being taken up into the loving embrace of the Father, Son and Spirit, sharing with them the affection, laughter and life they’ve shared from eternity past, having the substance of our beings transformed in the process. But salvation doesn’t stop with us. We are chosen and called to “image” Him to the rest of creation, re-presenting Him to those around us in compassion and truth. As we live out His love, righteousness and grace, we demonstrate to the world what He is like, sharing with others our time, possessions and selves in love, just as Jesus gave Himself in love to us.

Holy Trinity is one new expression of the Body of Christ in Chico. We do not imagine it to be the only expression nor the “best”, but merely one that authentically grows out of both the Biblical story and God’s unique calling on us as a localized expression of His larger body. Holy Trinity celebrates and supports all our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the city as they faithfully preach the Gospel and represent Christ in word and action.

Our Distinctives

God is infinitely beautiful, and knowing Him face-to-face (Hebrew: panim el panim via yadah, “to know with a deep experiential knowing”) as Father, Son and Holy Spirit is more satisfying than all the world’s pleasures combined and is worthy of our diligent pursuit and highest value. This is the Main Thing. And, in any endeavor the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

The Holy Spirit is in the business of transforming the whole of our lives into the image of God. We therefore help each other to grow and change continually in ever greater likeness to Christ, each of us exercising “disciplined grace” by implementing those time-tested spiritual disciplines or “habits of the heart” (prayer, bible meditation, fasting, confession, fellowship, the sacraments, etc.) that have been historically shown to promote lasting life change.

All evangelicals are implicitly Trinitarian but few are demonstrably and consistently so in dogma and practice. In our thinking, doctrine and daily lives, we honor and adore the three members of the blessed holy Trinity—Father, Son and Spirit—in both private devotion and public worship, singly and together.

We do not allow other things, even good things—acts of charity, the gifts of the Spirit, political involvement, prolife and other worthwhile movements—displace the centrality of the Gospel of Christ, which is at the heart of God’s call on the Church. This has happened to many evangelical churches over the years. We remain Gospel focused, holding up Jesus as the one Mediator between God and humanity, the only way of reconciliation with the Father through the Spirit by His inexpressible grace. We preach and practice this grace, avoiding all forms of legalism, and seek to live lives of reverent devotion to Him. We engage in works of compassion as natural expressions of our calling, not in competition with our proclamation of Christ.

We are committed to being biblically faithful and evangelical in the truest sense, though because the term “evangelical” has taken on negative connotations and political overtones in our day, it is probably best to avoid its use. We are deeply committed to embracing God’s Word as a priceless gift that has resident power to transform our character, inform our minds and guide our decisions. It is authored by humans moved by the Holy Spirit of Truth who now lives within us, leading us into God’s truth.

We seek to have our eyes continually open to where God is at work in the world around us so we can join Him in what He is doing. We trust the Spirit to guide and empower the church to do His work in His ways and in His timing. We place a high value on hearing from Him through prayer and discernment, exercising all the gifts of the Spirit (including the more overtly “supernatural” ones like prophesy, healing and miracles) for the building up of Christ’s body and the salvation of the world. In this sense we might be considered “charismatic”, although that term is identified with a distinct mid- to late-twentieth century phenomenon that features some teachings and practices we do not endorse.

We don’t allow busyness, programs, and numerical growth to displace our “first love” for God and others. We do not create programs except when necessary and lead by God’s Spirit. We organize for and around people, developing and maintaining only enough organizational structure to function efficiently and effectively to fulfill the vision God gives us.

We care deeply about continually reaching new people with the Gospel of Christ. But we are committed to not growing so larger that people get lost in the process. So, we find ways to remain intensely relational. Encouraging everyone to be part of a Home group is one answer. In the future, as we grow, we will need to start new, semi-autonomous services or commission new church plants that replicate the DNA while preserving relationships. We trust that, as God “gives the increase,” He will also give us the wisdom and strategy we need to retain our commitment to relationships.

Every single Christian is called, empowered, anointed and gifted by God to serve the body of Christ in some way, large or small. Now, what that looks like will vary from person to person and is dependent on each person’s other commitments, their specific calling, stage of life, energy level and other idiosyncratic factors. We do not tell people how to serve or how much: that is between each individual and the Lord. But we encourage everyone to walk in their calling so the body of Christ thrives.

We are self-consciously historically rooted in the Spirit’s ongoing shaping of Christ’s body worldwide through the centuries. This means we are catholic in the truest sense (small “c” catholic, meaning “universal”, not identified specifically with the Roman Catholic Church). The church today is not some abstract, de-historicized entity, but one link in a long chain of the Spirit’s faithful presence on earth. So, we make use of the rich resources available to us in this venerable Tradition—the Creeds, prayers, devotional practices, liturgical developments, music, sacramental insights, etc.—as the Spirit leads forms us into the unique expression He intends.

This “course of this world” (Eph 2:2) or Zeitgeist has many faces. Narcissistic consumerism, indiscriminate inclusivism, sterile rationalism, philosophical materialism, religious pluralism, inordinate busyness and technological dependence are just a few of the more serious challenges to faithful discipleship to Jesus Christ in our day. Resisting these things requires we educate ourselves about their dangers and implement practical strategies to live free of them through informed intentionality and God’s grace.

We are ecumenically modest and kingdom-minded, knowing we have much in common with, and much to learn from, our brothers and sisters in other Christian churches, whom we love as family members. And our love is not confined to those within the Church but extends to all people everywhere, whom we seek to love though patient witness, intentional friendship, practical service and bold proclamation.