FBC Church History
Faith Baptist Church has had a total of five different Senior Pastors. We’ve also had a host of Associate, Assistant and Youth Pastors who have been a part of this ministry, but for brevity, we will focus on the ministry under our Senior and current Pastors.
The rapid growth of Hamilton Township in 1959 presented sufficient challenge for a church survey to be sponsored by the Faith Baptist Church of Levittown, PA, and the First Baptist Church of Levittown, NJ. At this time, Richard Nelson in Maine, NY, was seeking the Lord's direction for an area of service in the work of home missions. God so arranged events that Mr. Nelson was able to participate in the survey work and upon returning home was directed by God to this area of His vineyard.
Quickly concluding his electrical business, selling their home, and resigning from their church responsibilities in the First Baptist Church of Maine, Rev. and Mrs. Nelson and family moved to this area. Temporary housing in Hamilton Square was secured until definite arrangements could be made. A real estate firm produced the Lord's answer to housing, temporary quarters, and future building site.
The work officially began with Daily Vacation Bible School held in a tent erected on an adjacent field east of the present church property. About 26 were enrolled and several parents attended the closing program. Sunday services were observed with three Williams children and the Nelson family. On August 16, 1960, church services were held in the wagon shed (now the Youth Building) with all the back drops—barn doors, corn cribs, etc.
The days were filled to capacity—working for an electrical contractor, calling evenings, working on the wagon shed. Gradually the wagon shed began to take on a new appearance, the old barns disappeared and attendance began to increase.
On April 19, 1961, a general meeting was held to ascertain the intention of those present toward organizing a church. After surveying the need and responsibilities involved, the twenty-one persons present unanimously accepted the following Declaration of Intention:
"Having been directed by God, we hereby declare ourselves to be determined to establish an independent Baptist church in this community.
It is our prayerful intention that it shall be fundamentally Biblical in its message and methods; thoroughly Baptistic in its distinctives; separated in its testimony both from the world and ecclesiastical apostasy; and evangelical in its outreach both at home and around the world.
Being thus led, we determine to move in every way possible to be obedient to the Word, both in personal godly living, and in actual church service and labor.
From this first official action until the day when Christ shall come, it is our intended purpose that in all things, He shall have the preeminence."
A committee of six was to be appointed by the Rev. Nelson for the purpose of drawing up a doctrinal statement, covenant and constitution and the final draft was completed in October, 1961. He became the first Senior Pastor of the church as Faith officially became recognized as a local Baptist church. He served here for 2 years. During that time, we had our first official Vacation Bible School (VBS) in August, 1962, and we held our first AWANA meeting that same year.
Faith Christian School's history dates back to 1961 when it was located on Arctic Parkway under the direction of Margarette Martin. It began as the Trenton Christian Day School (TCDS).
Pastor George Elliot became the 2nd Senior Pastor in 1964 and he served for a short time (18 months). But it was in June of 1964 that we held our first service in our second auditorium (the current nursery building).
Pastor Jack Lee became the 3rd Senior Pastor in 1965 and served at Faith for 13 years. It was during his ministry that FBC took over the TCDS and moved it here in 1974 as Faith Christian Academy. There were about 50 students within the pre-school, Elementary and Junior High programs.
After Pastor Lee's ministry, FBC asked Dr. Ted Martens to fill in for the summer of 1979. At the end of the summer, the church asked if he would consider the position of Senior Pastor. The church had about 80 members and there were 60 students at Faith Christian Academy at the time.
Dr. Martens had already signed a contract to continue teaching at Baptist Bible College (BBC) in Clarks Summit, PA, for the 1979-80 school year. But he decided to let his name come up for church vote and on August 5, 1979, FBC voted to call him and he accepted to become our fourth Senior Pastor.
Pastor Martens commuted back and forth between BBC and FBC for the entire school year. He'd drive to FBC on Wednesday afternoons and back to BBC on Thursday mornings. He'd drive back to FBC on Friday evenings and return to BBC Sunday nights. He made this 2 hour and 20 minute trip each way to honor his commitments. It should be mentioned that FBC did not have the finances to pay him a salary during this time. He agreed for us to reimburse him for gas during these years of gas shortages and long lines. He supported his wife, 3 children, and one on the way, with his salary from BBC.
The LORD blessed the ministry of Pastor Martens and FBC with significant growth during his first decade with us. In June, 1985, our third auditorium was dedicated. This is our current sanctuary. That December, we began giving free gifts to our neighbors for Christmas. We performed our first Musical Drama for Easter in 1987. Also in 1987, God had placed us in a position to strengthen His body by providing support to Jacobstown Baptist Church (JBC). JBC is still being led by Pastor Ed Hlad who had served at FBC as a Youth & Assistant Pastor from 1984-1988 and was called to JBC in 1991.
In 1987, FBC was finally able to erect a new parsonage for Pastor Martens and his family. Faith Christian School also was blessed as enrollment grew to approximately 400 students by 1988. In September of 1989, our Youth Building was remodeled and we continued to reach out to those in need of the LORD by beginning our Lend-A-Hand Ministry in January of 1991.
FBC called Pastor Lance Walker to serve as Associate Pastor in August of 1996. Over the years, Pastor Walker has preached Sunday evenings, conducted Bible Studies, performed weddings, baptisms, funerals, and has led ministries such as our Prayer, Men's, Couples, Music and VBS Ministries. He also leads our Missions Committee and began our annual Missions Month each October. When there are needs in the ministry, he is quick to step in. Besides his other pastoral responsibilities, he served as Youth Pastor from 2001-2004 and again during the 2011-2012 school year. Our Youth Ministry grew significantly under his leadership.
About six months after Pastor Walker joined FBC, one of his former youth members, Steve Carpenter, also was called to serve at FBC in early 1997. He quickly got involved in all aspects of life here and enabled us to continue to have a greater outreach both inside and outside of FBC. He began leading our Singles ministry and assisting in the overall operations of both FBC and FCS. He was ordained here to become Assistant Pastor in 2005.
In the Fall of 1999, we started one of our largest outreach ministries to our community, the Harvest Hayride. It's a family community event that we operate at our 15 acre Faith Farm. It includes free games and food for over 2,500 people who attend each year. And we have the privilege to present the gospel to dozens of people in our S.O.S. Events tent.
After twelve years of faithful service to FBC, in April of 2009, we promoted Pastor Walker to Senior Pastor. It confirmed the original intentions of the congregation when he was first called to our ministry and provided a clear transition plan for the pastoral staff. And it provided for ongoing church decision making when Pastor Martens is not available.
At that same business meeting in 2009, Pastor Carpenter was promoted to the newly created position of Administrative Pastor which is equal to our Associate Pastor title. It established a specific area of responsibility for him which is the oversight of the operational areas of ministry at FBC and reflected the role he was already performing.
Later in 2009, one of our Assistant Pastors at the time, Mike Woods, began our monthly St. Lawrence Rehab ministry where we provide encouragement to those who can't make it out to church. And on April 8, 2012, the LORD enabled us to realize our vision to reach the heart of Trenton with the Heart of God by planting a church there. On Easter morning, Pastor Walker conducted our very first service at Mosaic Baptist Church. That consisted mostly of those from FBC along with those we picked up as part of our Lend-A-Hand ministry. Today, this ministry is led by Pastor Rey Edwards. We conduct two services on Sunday, one in English and one in Spanish, consisting mostly of those from the Trenton Area.
In September, 2015, Pastor Edwards also began conducting a Spanish service here at FBC on Wednesday nights down in the Fellowship Hall.
Pastor Dave Crompton began his ministry with us on June 29, 2015. Besides preaching on Sunday nights, his focus has been on building up our Men’s Ministry, counseling, and discipleship.
The newest member of our staff is Pastor Lawrence Lartey who began leading our Youth Ministry in May of 2016.
Pastor Martens has said that we are an "irregular, Regular Baptist Church." We praise God for His faithfulness and the faithfulness of the men He has provided to us as Shepherds. Pastor Martens served us for 36 years while Pastors Walker and Carpenter have been here 20+ years. At our annual business meeting in January, 2015, Pastor Martens expressed his desire to officially begin the transition of the Senior Pastorate to Pastor Walker. Their leadership and the support of the church has made the transition smooth. Praise the Lord!
The purpose of this church is to promote the worship and glory of God by the preaching of the Word at home and abroad in order that sinners will be converted and believers edified. We exist to know Christ and to make Him known. If you have spent any length of time at all here at Faith Baptist Church, you know this about our ministry…our goal is to minister to people at no cost to them. Large ministries such as our Vacation Bible School, Musical Dramas, and Harvest Hayride are free to all who attend. We understand that salvation is a free gift to all who know Him and we desire to obediently share this good news and make disciples of all the nations.
We currently have about 350 baptized members and our congregation represents 18 nations. We enjoy the rare blessing of unity with diversity which can only truly be found in the body of Christ.
(Taken from Faith Baptist Church's "Membership Matters" Sunday School series by Chris Domenech.)