In 1980 two small groups formed the Highland Evangelical Free Church in a home. Chuck Miller was the first pastor of the church. Their guiding vision was encapsulated in this mission statement: “We are a people longing to glorify God by being a church for the people of our time, in the greater Inland Empire, and throughout the world; through teaching the Scriptures, worshiping the Lord, loving one another in Christ, and passing on the love of Christ to others in the power of the Holy Spirit.” The Lord blessed the church; during the first two years, the church grew from 20 to over 400 adults. To accommodate growth, the church moved four times within the first four years.
Dr. Larry Poland succeeded Chuck Miller in 1985. In 1987, the church’s name was officially changed to Trinity Evangelical Free Church. The church soon developed a vision for a permanent home, established a building fund, and acquired land. In 1991, Dr. Poland resigned to devote himself to Mastermedia International, a ministry that builds bridges between the media and people of faith.
The church called Dr. Gary Inrig to serve as Senior Pastor beginning in September, 1992. When Gary & Elizabeth Inrig came to Trinity Church, the congregation was dreaming of having their own facilities. Gary led them through the first of several building projects. Their first Sunday services in their own Worship Center on Reservoir Road were held on December 18, 1994. With a new permanent home, ministries began to flourish and multiply.
During the mid-1990s and into the early part of the new millennium, many significant ministries were begun such as the Light & Power Company for developmentally disabled adults, lay counseling, Pathways Support Groups, the Cold Weather Shelter, the Cornerstone Food Program, the Kairos Prison Ministry, the International Friendship Connection (a ministry to international students attending the U of R, LLU, and CSUSB), Programming Arts, Sonlight Prayer-in-Motion (worship expressed through dance), the Trinity Institute (college level seminars), Navigation discipleship courses, Micah House (an after school programs for neighborhood kids in north Redlands), the Former Adventist Fellowship, and more. In 2002, the church began developing a Hispanic Ministry which blossomed into a Spanish speaking congregation, known as Fuente de Vida since 2005.
Shortly after its founding, the church began sending missionaries. Currently, Trinity Church supports twenty-one missionary families worldwide. In addition to supporting long-term missionaries, Trinity Church regularly sends out short-term missionary teams. Many have gone to Baja Mexico to build loft houses and to support local churches. Our High School ministry has taken students to skid row in Los Angeles, to the Bahamas, British Columbia, and Liberia to serve local ministries. The Middle School ministry takes students to serve in Mexico.
In 2006, the church began to experiment with video venues. “Trinity in the Pass” was established at a school in Beaumont. A second venue was established on the Redlands campus which continued through June, 2008. Trinity in the Pass replaced the video format with a rotating preaching team in 2007. That venue transitioned to an autonomous church plant, Venture Church, in 2012.
Gary & Elizabeth Inrig stepped down from their respective roles as Senior Pastor and Women’s Ministries Pastor in June, 2013.
We look forward to what the Lord has in store for Trinity Church as we seek to be faithful to His call.