Rev. Christy Thomas: Friendship Baptist Church lives up to name

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“The hour-and-40-minute service passed as though I had been there only a few moments.”

My companions and I had the same reaction after discovering that the people of Friendship Baptist Church in The Colony actually lived up to their name, offering friendly greetings, hugs, handshakes and an experience of deep worship this past Sunday.

I had picked that church for this week’s visit primarily by time and location, needing an early service in eastern Denton County in order to deal with other calendar obligations.

An 8 a.m. worship service fit the bill, and the location, on Main Street in The Colony, was perfect. That was all I knew beforehand.

So it was with eyes agog that we drove onto the campus of Friendship Baptist at 7:45 a.m., seeing a parking lot already filling with cars as numerous well-dressed members of this primarily African-American church spilled from their cars and headed into a large, red-brick building.

We found a space and entered the doors leading to the spacious and immaculate sanctuary.

Before we did, two women at the outside door offered us hugs and gracious greetings.

An usher proffered a worship bulletin filled with announcements of the many services this congregation offers as well as a simple order of worship and basic information.

Taped music softly surrounded us as people entered. The blue-carpeted, blue-cushioned space, seating perhaps 500 at full capacity, offered a serene setting as we settled into the comfortable pews and made initial observations.

Two large but unobtrusive screens flanked a choir loft seating approximately 40 people, placed just under a simple stained-glass rose window. Seasonally colored masses of carnations nestled the pulpit and altar.

Off to one side, and nearly invisible to the congregation, sat an electronic piano and drums.

Announcements flashed by on the screens, but when the countdown clock appeared, announcements were replaced by multiple Scripture references with a suggestion to read them and prepare for worship.

At 7:59 a.m., the blue-robed choir came in, and a worship leader came to the pulpit with words of welcome, a reading from Scripture and a gentle prayer calling for the blessing of God upon this time.

A one-minute meet-and-greet followed. A devotional moment and the reading of Psalm 23, was led by two of the deacons. Latecomers still lining up at the doors were invited to be seated.

I had this sense of being both bathed in prayer and prepared to enter into worship as the choir and choir leader brought us into a time of call and response music.

At 8:23 a.m., we took our seats as a series of well-prepared and articulately delivered announcements were made, amazing me at the width and depth of the various ministries and outreach opportunities springing from this congregation.

The choir stood again. I was enveloped and engulfed by the music, led by this exquisite set of voices, highlighted by two soloists. I was near tears by the time they finished, steeped in a sense of the holy presence of God, touched by the expressions of response by various members of the congregation during this time.

More information about key ministries of the church was offered, followed by the reception of the tithes (that which we owe God) and offerings (seed money offered to God), supported by yet another piece of choir music.

We then stood for the reading of Holy Scripture.

No pew Bibles were available, but most people had brought their own.

The words were also on the screens as the first four verses of Psalm 34, King James Version, were read.

Then, at 8:57 p.m., the Rev. Gregory C. Trotter, senior pastor, began his message, “Overcoming Worry.”

A memorable message, springing straight from the Scripture passage just read, came from the eloquent tongue of Trotter.

For the next 35 minutes, he wove an elegant web between the richness of Scripture and the reality of his congregants’ lives.

He started out so softly I held my breath for fear of missing a single word, and ending with such power that I wondered how I could ever waste a moment again for the rest of my life in such a fruitless activity as worry.

Trotter then moved seamlessly into an invitation to Christian discipleship as male and female leaders came forward to welcome any who might wish to become a part of this congregation.

Those who came forward did so to the applause of the congregation, and, after a time of prayer and conversation, were introduced by a deacon and welcomed by Trotter.

A benediction by Trotter, and a joining of hands by all members of the congregation for the song “Amen,” ended a moving time of worship.

As we were walking out, my companions both said, “I’d like to come here every Sunday — it was as perfect a church service as I’ve ever experienced.”

My response, “I’m afraid I’m about to lose my partners on this journalistic peripatetic worship adventure!”

THE REV. CHRISTY THOMAS can be reached at Her blog is at


Where: Friendship Baptist Church, 4396 Main St., The Colony

When: Sunday services are at 8 and 11 a.m.

Creed: Evangelical Christian

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