“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or
dominions or rulers or authorities– all things were created through him and for him.” (Col. 1:16)
It all started on September 5, 1990. A group of our “pioneers” had been born again, baptized, filled by the Holy Spirit and led to plant Trinity Christian Fellowship in Stanley, WI. That group of church planters started having worship gatherings by renting the historic First Presbyterian Church of Stanley (we later exercised the option to buy that building in April of 1991).
The first pastor to serve TCF was John Allstaedt. Pastor Allstaedt served from September 1990 until mid-November of 1991. This first year was a time of solid biblical instruction and a lot of relationship building! The key phrase for this season of our story was “spiritual growth.” We did a lot of growing.
As Pastor Allstaedt transitioned into another season of ministry, the Lord was speaking to our next pastor-to-be: Brent Miller. In April of 1992, Pastor Brent and his wife Maria came from Indiana with their two children. We were blessed to have them as a part of our family from 1992 until 1998. While his family was with us, we experienced growth and were able to pay off the building that we had recently purchased in just 3 years! The key phrase for this season of our story was “still growing.” In 1998, Pastor Brent followed the Lord’s direction to pastor in MI and after a life time of service, went home to be with the Lord on Jan. 24, 2009.
After Pastor Brent and Maria left TCF, we were blessed to have Ric Gorden serve as our Interim Pastor. Ric was a tremendous help and graciously served us as we sought the Lord’s will.
On April 12, 1999, Pastor DeWayne DeBrouse and his wife Becky were called from Iowa to serve at TCF. They immediately began to minister and helped us expand our vision for purchasing land and building a new facility since our church had grown. In October of 1999 we found about twenty-four acres of land just outside of Stanley on County Highway X. Two years later we had enough of our partially completed building to host our first wedding. The building was quickly winterized and furnished, and we were had our first official worship gathering in our new building on January 20, 2002!
In August of that year, after three years of serving TCF, Pastor DeBrouse and his family moved back to Iowa. Once again we were in transition. Our Overseers continued to pastor the church, with the majority of the preaching being handled by Harvey Mohr.
About two years later, on September 26 of 2004, Pastor Jim Capets and his family moved from Pennsylvania to serve as our pastor. Pastor Jim was a vibrant speaker and excited about reaching people in our community. Jim’s ministry challenged us to move forward and to view our surrounding community as a “mission field.
Little did we all know that the Lord was going to bring us through another transition. After nearly two years, Pastor Jim and his family sensed the Lord calling them back to Pennsylvania to plant a new church. It was a difficult time for our congregation, as we were sad to see him go, yet we were excited about his next calling.
In the past, TCF went through seasons without a pastor. This time, the transition was different. Prior to Pastor Jim’s move, a young couple had begun attending TCF, Luke and Dawn Geraty. Luke was serving as a missional leader in a parachurch ministry and attending TCF as his local church. When Pastor Jim had sensed that the Lord was calling him away from TCF, he had begun to talk to Luke about the possibility of serving TCF as a pastor.
At first, Luke wasn’t very open to the idea, but then the Lord began to change his heart. By the time that Jim transitioned back to PA (May 28, 2006), Luke transitioned into the role of “teaching guy.” This meant that he wasn’t officially a pastor but not quite an interim. Though the process was a bit “unconventional” and somewhat “unplanned,” this was by far the best transition we had experienced. Over the next few months. Luke and the church leadership were able to study the subject of leadership in the Bible and to come to a better understanding of the role of a pastor. Throughout this time, Luke focused on teaching and preaching and worked alongside the Board of Ministry and Overseers.
On December 10, 2006, Luke was officially affirmed as our Lead Pastor as he joined our team of Overseers in leading and serving the congregation. He and his family have been here ever since. Our church has continued to grow and we are excited about exploring new ways that we can serve each other and the community around us for the glory of God!
After several years of prayer, discussion, and exploration, on July 9, 2013, the Board of Ministry made the decision to adopt into the Vineyard Movement. TCF is excited to be a part of a movement that is focused on the same distinctives that we hold and looks forward to how we can partner together to love God and love people.
We would like to invite you to visit us and become a part of our story!