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April-May 2015

10 Years in Print: Special Edition


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The Home Missions Department exists to communicate the gospel, make disciples, and plant new churches in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Find out more at


Trymon Messer Dead at 82

Antioch, TN—Trymon Messer (pictured below), former director of Free Will Baptist Home Missions, died January 10, at age 82. Messer was born in 1932, in Pontotoc, Mississippi, to sharecroppers Wiley and Annie Laurie, one of ten children. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps, and at age 19, went to war in Korea, where he served as a mine specialist, advancing from private to sergeant, and earning four medals for valor.


After completing his tour of duty, he returned to Tennessee and married his neighbor and sweetheart Opal, his first and only girlfriend. The couple moved to Chicago to begin their lives together, but Trymon knew something was missing. He had not fulfilled a promise to become a Christian, made to his mother at age 13, when she lay on her deathbed as a result of injuries from a tragic fire that also claimed the lives of his brother and a sister. In an effort to fulfill that promise, Trymon and Opal drove a thousand miles across five states to meet with an old friend who had become a Free Will Baptist preacher. The couple was converted, and Trymon spent the rest of his life serving the Lord.

As a 34-year-old layman, Trymon accepted the pastorate of First FWB Church in Salina, Kansas, when the congregation could not find a pastor. Eleven years later, when he resigned, the congregation had mushroomed from two families to a record attendance of 859, completed three building programs, and helped start five additional Kansas churches. During this time, Trymon chaired the Kansas Mission Board and was elected to the Hillsdale FWB College Board of Trustees. In 1973, he was elected to the Home Missions Board. He was twice named Layman of the Year, by Hillsdale FWB College in 1964, and again by Master’s Men in 1969. He was sought by pastors nationwide to lead church-growth conferences.

Home Missions named him associate director in 1978, at age 45. His practical, biblical knowledge and sense of humor made him one of the organization’s top spokesmen. He became general director in 1995 and completed 25 years with the department, retiring in 1998.
“Trymon was also a good soldier for the Lord,” said David Crowe, current director of Home Missions. “In simple faith, believing that God could do anything, he faithfully served his Commander-in-Chief.”

Messer leaves behind his wife Opal and children Michael, Rick, and Amy.


North American Ministries Introduces College Internship Program

North American Ministries (Home Missions) is excited to announce a college internship program beginning this summer.

We are working in cooperation with Free Will Baptist colleges to recruit students to serve a 10-week internship at a Free Will Baptist church plant in North America. Some schools may offer college credit for the program, and the experience will be both challenging and rewarding, as students engage in hands-on ministry and develop relationships that will likely last a lifetime.

The purpose of the Church Planting Internship Program is to give college students the opportunity to explore church planting to discover or help define their calling in ministry. Our vision is to find next generation church planters who will join our team in planting Free Will Baptist churches across North America.

Each intern will serve in roles custom-tailored to fit his or her personal gifts, talents, and the expectations of the church plant leader. Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to: children, youth, outreach, music, audio/visual, preaching, teaching, etc.

To serve as a church planting intern, applicants must be a member in good standing at a Free Will Baptist church, complete an application, and receive approval by North American Ministries. After approval, the intern will raise necessary funds for travel and other finances needed throughout the internship.

Applicants must be committed to excellence and the willingness to work under the leadership of a church planter, the sending agency, and their college, and be committed to an academic program and coaching from the church planting team where he or she serves (including reading required materials).

Interns can expect to work 25 or more hours per week in ministry related activities, to submit a weekly report of activities to the supervising church planter and Home Missions, and to submit a written report (newsletter or blog) to supporters and constituents halfway through and at the end of the internship.

Church planting interns will receive free room and board during the program, usually with a family or families in the local church plant. Hotel accommodations should not be expected. The church plant will provide a weekly stipend, depending on the congregation’s financial ability. Other benefits may be awarded based on the ability of the church plant and the intern’s performance.





©2015 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists