West Stephentown Baptist Church (WSBC) was founded in 1829 (f/k/a Stephentown-Nassau Union Church) and is the daughter church of Stephentown Center Baptist Church (1783). With such strong roots and rich history, one can only imagine the numerous lives that have been touched through this congregation. Although the physical structure has undergone many renovations through the years, their purpose and passion for God have remained constant. This reminded me of an old hymn, but I’ll get to that later.
Pastor Trygve “Trig” Tomlinson has been the pastor at WSBC since 1978. He has a well-balanced approach to teaching God’s Word so that it not only encourages, but also convicts. He is highly involved with the community, serving as a firefighter and chaplain for the Rensselaer County Bureau of Emergency Services. Positioned in a small town, most of the people in the community consider him their pastor, even if they’ve never been to WSBC. When doing a google search on him, I discovered pages upon pages of obituaries for the funerals he had officiated, and very little about him. A true leader, Pastor Trig humbly serves others without any self-acclamation, reminding me of Hebrews 10:24; “Let us motivate one another to acts of love and good works”. The church mission includes making God known to their neighbors by the way they live their lives, and Pastor Trig certainly leads by example.
The service began with a wonderful selection of hymns and older choruses, followed by a meet & greet and announcements. Then there was a time to share testimonies, and it was enjoyable to see the microphone going through the congregation and hearing the people share freely. Then Pastor Trig read a list of prayer needs and we prayed collectively over them. His sermon was compelling, as he spoke about how Jesus’ own people did not receive him (Matthew 21:1-11). They “missed it”. It’s the same way today. God does not need fancy rituals, yet He is often replaced with substitutes (crosses, giving money, attending church). God does not need anything from us … He wants a relationship with us. What are we viewing as spiritual life? At the conclusion of his message, he stressed the importance of being in God’s Word and strongly encouraged everyone to study throughout the week.
WSBC has an established team of elected officers to help carry out the Lord’s work. Everything here is done in excellence, right down to the very last detail. Even their bulletin was thoughtfully laid out and informative. In addition to the order of service, announcements and prayer needs, it also included the names and due dates of expectant mothers, nursing home residents with their location, college students and families in mourning. The back cover had God’s plan of salvation, along with a prayer to accept Jesus as Savior.
This church offers a small town, country feel, yet is just a 30-minute drive from Albany. Sunday School is at 9:30 am, with service following at 11 am. They also offer a women’s Bible study, a women’s care group, men’s Bible study and Saturday morning prayer services at 7 am. They serve our young people through solid teaching, vacation Bible school and AWANA, a Bible-based, Christ-centered youth program for K-12.
Now let me get back to the old hymn I mentioned in the beginning of this blog. As I left that day the old hymn, “The Church’s One Foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord”, came to mind. This hymn was written back in 1866 by Samuel John Stone, decades AFTER West Stephentown Baptist was founded. It was mind blowing to think that this song would have been considered modern when it was introduced at WSBC. It is the perfect anthem for West Stephentown Baptist Church. Based on 1 Corinthians 3:11 (NKJV) “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ”.
Why has West Stephentown Baptist Church persevered for nearly 200 years? What enables Pastor Trig to stay the course for over 4 decades? It’s because this church is built upon the SOLID FOUNDATION of our Lord Jesus Christ and continues to stay focused on the mission and vision placed in their hearts by God Himself.
Church Website – http://www.wsbchurch.net
By Donna Hansen Munafo