History of Trinity Baptist
Trinity Baptist Church was organized on June 24, 1949, by 94 people who had been praying about the need for a new Baptist church in the area north of downtown San Antonio. Dr. W.S. McBirnie was called as the church’s first pastor. Within two years, the church had grown to more than 1,000 members and was recognized as one of the fastest growing churches in America. Innovative programming, such as sermons in an outdoor amphitheatre, illustrated with slides taken by Dr. McBirnie in the Holy Land, and facilities, including an activities building with gymnasium, skating rink and bowling alley, helped draw families to join the dynamic and evangelical community. The church also developed the first Counseling Ministry among Texas Baptist churches and the second in the Southern Baptist Convention. (When the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was organized, Trinity changed affiliation from SBC to CBF.)
When, after ten years, Dr. McBirnie resigned, Buckner Fanning, a young evangelist, was called as pastor. His captivating preaching and vision to engage the church in wide- ranging mission opportunities contributed to continued growth. During Dr. Fanning’s 42-year-long pastorate, mission teams, including youth and adult choirs and ensembles, went to all parts of the world – Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia – collaborating with local church leaders and missionaries to bring encouragement and humanitarian aid. Trinity was also known for Dr. Fanning’s short TV spots that were a source of inspiration and encouragement here and in other parts of the world. The development of innovative ministries to Single Adults and expansion of ministries to Youth also began during these years.
Dr. Fanning resigned in 2001 and Charles Johnson was called as Trinity’s third pastor. His vision led the church membership to be more diversified, welcoming new members who more closely reflected the make-up of the San Antonio community. It was during Johnson’s 5-year pastorate that the church acquired a 55,000 square foot grocery store building and began converting it into a state of the art community center, known as TriPoint, which has partnered with the YMCA in providing a fitness center. There are meeting rooms, a coffee shop, and a large gathering center which is widely used by organizations, agencies and civic groups for meetings, as well as being the venue for Trinity’s rapidly growing alternative worship service, Crossings.
Following Charles Johnson’s resignation, the church entered an extensive period of self- evaluation under the leadership of Dr. Karl Fickling, with Dr. Randall O’Brian as interim preacher, before calling Dr. D. Leslie Hollon as pastor in 2009. Dr. Hollon has led the church to begin the Crossings worship service, with a different style of music to complement the traditional music program, long recognized for it’s excellence. Music in all styles has always been and remains a strong part of Trinity’s worship and outreach. Dr. Hollon has continued the emphasis on missions, locally and abroad and is leading the church in reconciliation and recovery from a decline in membership. With a new focus of outreach and ministry to Young Adults and Young Families, Trinity continues to be a vibrant, friendly, “caring family of believers, communicating and applying the life- changing message of Christ’s unconditional love.”