Baptism class—this Sunday, July 21!


Baptism is a wonderful moment in the life of a believer & in the life of the church. Simply put, baptism is one of the first steps of obedience a new believer should take in following Christ.

Usually the problem is not understanding what baptism is. The problem is understanding whether we should be baptized.

Have you ever found asked questions like these?

What does it mean to believe the gospel?

How much do we need to understand before being baptized?

Is baptism necessary for salvation?

How old do you need to be to be baptized?

How do I know whether my child is ready to be baptized?

Do we have to be immersed or just sprinkled?

What about being re-baptized? What if I didn’t understand what I was doing the first time? What if I’m not sure I was a Christian when I baptized the first time?

This Sunday, we are having a Baptism Class to answer these specific questions.

If you’ve been asking any of these questions, join us this Sunday!

Sunday, July 21

9:15am in the Library



Jonah is one of the most well-known & well-loved stories of the Bible.

After all, what’s not to love? It is a story packed with suspense & intrigue. It includes surprising twists & turns—could anything be more surprising than finding yourself in the belly of a big fish? It is about a man on the run who seems to learn his lesson. But, in the end, we’re left wondering if he learned anything at all.

It is incredibly well-written & well-crafted. As Desmond Alexander has said, “The book of Jonah is undoubtably one of the masterpieces of biblical literature.”

It is a story for young & old, the learned & the not-so-learned, the Sunday school teachers & the top-rate theologians. And all the while, it is a little book about a big God of great mercy.

We are excited about taking a closer look at Jonah this summer—beginning July 14 & continuing for 4 more weeks.

If you want to read ahead, below is the preaching schedule.

July 14—Jonah 1:1–6

July 21—Jonah 1:7–16

July 28—Jonah 1:17–2:10

August 5—Jonah 3:1–10

August 12—Jonah 4:1–11

If you want to read further, below are some helpful resources about Jonah.

Running From Mercy by Tony Carter

Man Overboard! by Sinclair Ferguson

The Prodigal Prophet by Tim Keller

Jonah by Hugh Martin

Backyard Bible School details, July 14-17


We are excited about this opportunity to invest in & serve the kids of our community. We hope you are as well.

Here are all the details:

WHEN: Sunday (July 14th)–Wednesday (July 17th) from 6:00–8:00pm.

WHERE: Cherokee Point Subdvision

Turn on Sullins Road off Decatur Pike across from Athens Regional. At the top of the hill turn Left into Cherokee Point subdivision. A few hundred yards after passing the first subdivision entrance on your left, you will see our tents on the left.


  • SUNDAY—Invite folks & get them registered, play games, & eat hotdogs.

  • MONDAY-TUESDAY—Bible School which includes a rotation between bible lessons, singing, crafts, recreation, & snacks.

  • WEDNESDAY—Same thing as Monday & Tuesday, but will conclude with a presentation for parents.

  • Please eat before you come each night. We will not serve dinner on Monday—Wednesday. On Sunday, we will serve hot dogs, but since we don't know how many folks will come, it would be better for us to eat ahead of time.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING: You should know by now! Everyone who signed up is assigned a spot below.

  • Music—Gil & Thomases

  • Recreation—Taylor, Bo, & Luke

  • Snacks—Hills & Kampmeyers

  • Crafts—Elisabeth & Balches

  • Meerkats (3-4)—Mandy & Tinsmans

  • Giraffes (5-6)—Mindy & Vanessa

  • Zebras (7-8)—Alexanders & Trews

  • Pandas (10+)—Finches & Olsens

  • Food—Michael & Mike

NOT THERE?: If your name is not listed above & you’d like to help, please join us on any of the nights!

Backyard Bible School, July 14–17

One of the questions we have been asking & pondering is: How can we make the challenges & problems of Athens our own?

Biblical mercy is not all talk. It always moves out & is active. Several weeks ago, we studied the Parable of the Good Samaritan & sought to unpack a vision for doing mercy as a church. (If you haven’t already, you can listen to that message here.)

That said, we have a wonderful, uncoming opportunity for us to do mercy together. We are going to host a BACKYARD BIBLE SCHOOL!

Here are the details:

  • DATES: July 14–17

  • TIMES: 6:30–8:00pm

  • WHERE: Cherokee Point mobile home community

  • NEEDS: Your help! We have all sorts of opportunities for families & individuals to serve.

  • WHAT DO DO: Sign up below & we will send you all the details.

Name *

Family Hike, June 22


Mark your calendar for next week’s Family Hike!



We will rendezvous at Athens City Middle School at 9:30am & carpool over to “Pocket Wilderness” for the day.

The “Pocket Wilderness” is a hidden gem. You won’t want to leave after you enjoy its beauty.

The hike is be an easy 2-mile roundtrip hike to “Blue Hole,” where we will rest, eat lunch, & play in the river. The trail is wide & relatively flat, making it easy for families with small kids. The swimming hole is deep enough for older kids/adults to enjoy and shallow enough for the littles to play. Perhaps we can also find a cliff to jump off of!

Bring a lunch, plenty of water, swimming stuff (clothes, towels, goggles, etc) & anything else you need for a day in the woods!

"I must say the grace & mercy of Jesus Christ is sweeter to me now than it was then."

Jesus never gets old. This past Sunday, Kim reminded us that Jesus is the “same yesterday, today, & forever” and will never fail us.

This is simply wonderful news. Read along to “hear” her testimony.

Good morning. I want to share with you and testify how God has miraculously changed my life. I was raised in a wonderful home, in which God provided for all my needs and gave me two hardworking parents who taught me how to live a good, moral life.

However, as I entered my freshman year of college at the University of Tennessee, I began to ask questions of my life and sought to find true happiness. I searched for it mainly in friends and dating. I lived for myself and my desires. However, the happiness I pursued never satisfied.

In God’s kindness, years before my brother became a Christian during his college years at UT. He plugged into a local church and his life was never the same. Several years after that, my sister plugged into the same church and began serving the Lord there. During that first semester, she continually pursued me to come to church and attend campus ministry events. I resisted and then resisted some more. Finally, after her continued prodding, I reluctantly agreed to attend a Christian conference over the winter break. God was at work somehow!

During that conference—in a message about the local church—God began to open my eyes and help me see that I was living a life that did not honor him. God softened my heart, gave me eyes to see and ears to hear the truth from His word. I came to see that I was a sinner in need of a Savior and that God himself sacrificed His one and only Son for ME and my sins. This understanding was freeing and such welcome news! I no longer needed to work to be good or to be accepted, but all through Christ in me! There was such a sweetness and freedom in being forgiven by God in Christ!

That was over 17 years ago. And I must say the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ is sweeter to me now than it was then. I’m still a sinner, but living in the light of the fact that my greatest problem has been taken care of is a game changer. Like many of you, these past 17 years have not gone completely as I had imagined. I am not in the career I thought I would be in. I have had several miscarriages. I have walked through the recent death of my mother. And I have had to take up my cross in ways I didn’t plan to and didn’t want to.

Life can be hard and difficult at times. I have not walked it out perfectly, but I am sure of this: God has never left me or forsaken me. He has been faithful again and again. His grace and mercy have followed me and I trust they always will, because of Jesus.

YOU are invited to this year's ADVANCE Conference!


One of the primary missions of Trinity Grace is to pass the gospel on to the next generation.

Among many others (!), this is one reason we love children & seek to partner with parents in instructing & discipling their children. It takes a community to raise a child & we need as much help as we can get—as any parent can attest!

This summer’s ADVANCE conference could be just the kind of help you need with your middle or high school age student.

Each year our friends at Cornerstone Church invite youth & parents to set aside 3 days for messages, worship, & games of all kinds (human foosball, water blob, gaga ball, etc). This year, they have invited Trinity Grace to join them!

Here are all the details:

  • WHEN: July 25-27

  • WHERE: Fort Bluf Camp in Dayton, TN

  • WHO: Middle & high school students

  • HOW MUCH: $85

Sign up here.

If you would really like to go & money is preventing you from attending, please contact Walt.

When do I know I should be baptized?


One question people often ask is: When do I know I should be baptized?

This is a wonderful & important question.

Baptism is a wonderful moment in the life of a believer & in the life of the church. Simply put, baptism—as stated in greater length here—is one of the first steps of obedience a new believer should take. Jesus commanded his disciples to be baptized (Matt. 28:19). So in obedience to this command, a new believer should be immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. In so doing, we are saying, I believe in Jesus Christ and I believe that I have died with him & have now been raised to new life with him.

So when should we be baptized?

We should be baptized when we believe in Jesus Christ & are ready to testify publicly that we have left everything to follow him. However, since this is such an important question, it is helpful to get the input from family, friends, your pastor, & others to know whether or not we are ready.

Later this summer—in June or July—we plan to have a baptism service for Trinity Grace.

Would you like be baptized? Would you like to learn more about baptism? Would you like to talk to Walt about being baptized?

If so, fill out the form below & Walt will get back to you.

Name *

Lake day!


This coming Saturday (June 1), we’re taking our party to the lake for the day!

We will swim, boat, grill some burgers, fish, & maybe play a few rounds of badminton.

We will get started at 10:00am & go until everyone’s worn out!

We will gather at Jonathan & Elisabeth’s lake house. The address is 299 Culvahouse Lane, 37880. Or you can follow these simple directions:

  • Follow Ingleside Ave out of town & continue on TN-305N for 12.7 miles

  • Turn Left onto TN-68N & follow for 4.6 miles

  • Turn Right onto TN-304N & follow for 6.4 miles

  • Turn Left onto Culvahouse Lane

  • Bear Right after a few hundred yards & the house is about .5 miles on your Left

Please RSVP & sign-up. If you haven’t received the invite yet, email Taylor Hollingsworth (taylor [dot] joel [dot] hollingsworth [at] gmail [dot] com).

Other stuff to bring (in addition for some food/other items to share):

  • Camping chairs or picnic blanket

  • Sunscreen, trunks, towels, etc.

  • Water

  • Water shoes

  • Any water sports equipment you’d like to bring (kayaks, canoes, etc)

Picnic & the Park!


It’s that simple: Picnic & the park!

We’ll gather for a picnic at Athens Regional Park. This Sunday, May 29 at 1:00pm. So, bring a picnic lunch or some take-out and join us.

And…don’t forget your bathing suits to take advantage of the splash pad!

After the service this Sunday, everyone is invited to join us for a picnic at Athens Regional Park.

Once saved always saved? Or, is there more?


In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul reminds us that the gospel is the message which we “received,” in which we “stand,” and by which we are “being saved.” The Scriptures push us to not only look back to when we were saved but to press forward knowing God is still at work in us.

Last Sunday, Sam (pictured above with his wife Rachel) shared his testimony of how he was saved and is still being saved by God’s continued work of grace. Read along below.

The Lord saved me when I was about 7 years old.  My dad was a pastor and church planter, so I heard the good news of Jesus regularly.  I remember riding in the car with my family on a rainy day, when the Lord opened my eyes to my need of a Savior.  So, I prayed in my heart, and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and save me.  Subsequent to that miracle, God began the long and slow process of heart transformation.

When I was a teenager, I loved sports.  I was particularly drawn to basketball and strongly desired to play college ball.  God had other plans for me, though.  I injured my shoulder in a game, and missed out on the last 2 years of high school basketball.  I really struggled with that situation, as I felt like God had taken my dream from me.  Ultimately, He did, but for His bigger purposes.  I remember my parents counseling me to trust God, even when I don’t understand.  Later, I realized that my real problem was that basketball was too high a priority in my life.  Like an idol.

When I entered college, my focus shifted from basketball to academics.  I had to work a job to pay for college, so I was either studying or working all the time.  It is a wonder that I ever got married.  Rachel and I had the same major, and nearly all the same classes.  So, God literally had to put her right in front of me, and I am so thankful for that.  During my senior year of college, one of my friends asked me why I worked so hard.  At that time, I honestly did not know.  Looking back, I realize that I was looking for my identity in something other than Christ.  That thing was Achievement.  Another idol to me.

After we got married, I finished up my training. Then we ended up here in Athens by God’s leading.  That was almost 14 years ago.  At that time, I put all my energy into work.  But it wasn’t as fulfilled as I had hoped it would be.  I started to become depression and continued to feel this way for several months.  I started hating my work.  My parents advised me to pray that God would either change my circumstances or change my heart.  I prayed that prayer daily for months.  I believed God would change my circumstances and move us to another job.  But thankfully, God did not change my circumstances.  He opened my eyes to the opportunities of ministry and fruitful work all around me.  Once I took my eyes off of myself, the fog of depression began to lift.  I realize now that work has been another idol in my life.

The main point I am trying to make is that God has consistently and patiently removed distractions (or idols) in my life over the years and called me seek Him first.  I wish I could say I am complete.  I wish I could say the gospel is always the center of my life, but I still battle with sin and these distractions.  Yet, God is so patient, kind, and gracious with me.  He continues to transform my heart.  He has given me a loving wife who gently points out my pride.  He has given me several godly friends that keep me accountable.  And we are so thankful for this church that consistently preaches the Word and the gospel.  Praise the Lord for His transforming grace!

Summer Book Study for Men!

The word holiness sounds so boring, bland, & uninteresting. It’s an old word. So we assume it’s irrelevant & has little to actually do with us.

Yet, when the Bible talks about holiness, it isn’t boring, bland, or uninteresting at all. The Bible describes the holy as those who are filled with the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, & so on. It is anything but boring.

What’s more. The Bible describes the godly or holy as those who “flourish in the courts of our God” and who are “ever full of sap & green” (Ps. 92:13–14). Godly people aren’t irrelevant; they are always relevant, because they are living to the hilt for the only things that matter. They are those who found joy in God & “at his right hand pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11).

We want to be holy, more than anything else.

This summer, we are challenging the men to read sections of Faithfulness & Holiness by J.C. Ryle together as we strive after this goal.

So, here are the details.

1. We will gather 6 times from June–August on Tuesday nights to review what we’re reading. Below are the dates.

  • June 4

  • June 25

  • July 9

  • July 23

  • August 6

  • August 20

2. If you are interested & able to commit the dates above, sign up here.

Ladies' Night on Thursday, May 16!


It’s hard to have hundred dollar conversations in dime moments.

So, the ladies have devised a simple plan for this week: Talk & eat tacos together.

Here are the details:

  • WHERE: El Jinette (2011 Congress Pkwy S, Athens, TN 37303)

  • WHEN: 6:30pm on Thursday, May 16

  • WHAT TO BRING?: Your favorite beauty product (for a conversation starter!)

  • ANYTHING ELSE?: A friend.

We had a blast at our Couples’ Night last week.


We had a blast at our Couples’ Night last week. We ate, talked, & learned. And we all lost to Taylor & Elisabeth in a game.

We need the Song of Solomon—that little, (slightly) odd book tucked away in the Old Testament.

in our day of self-focused love & marriage, the Song of Songs shines brightly & calls us to self-giving, joyful love that will last. A love that is romantic, tender, reciprocal, & deeply satisfying.

That’s what we want for our marriages more than anything else.

As Song of Songs holds out for us:

Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.  Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.  If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised (8:6–7).

Let us pursue this love & heed the words of Matt Chandler who has written: “Pay attention to the desires, the strengths, the growth of your spouse, the things that only you get to see. Mine for those. Look for those. Be dialed in. Pay attention.”

If you were unable attend or want to listen along, click below.