Trinity Baptist College

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Trinity Baptist College
Motto Training Students for Life and Ministry
Established 1974
Type Private accredited
Religious affiliation Baptist
Chancellor Thomas Messer
President Mac Heavener, Jr.
Executive Vice President Dr. Matthew Beemer
Admin. staff 28 full-time[1]
Undergraduates 377 [2]
Location Jacksonville, Florida, USA
30°18′00″N 81°46′59″W / 30.3°N 81.783°W / 30.3; -81.783
Campus 800 Hammond Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32221
Colors Royal blue, gold, black, white                 
Mascot Eagle
Affiliations Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

Trinity Baptist College, TBC, is a private college located in Jacksonville, Florida, with a personal campus (370+ students and growing). It was founded in 1974 by Trinity Baptist Church.[3] It has been accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools since 1997.[4] The college is currently under the leadership of Dr. Tom Messer (Chancellor), Mac Heavener Jr. (President), and Dr. Matthew Beemer (Senior Vice President).


Trinity Baptist College was founded in 1974 by Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL.[5] It was originally located on the grounds previously occupied by the church on McDuff Avenue near downtown Jacksonville. The college was located on this property for 24 years. From its inception, the college has utilized a training model that combines classroom academics with real world experience opportunities. This educational approach is known by the college as "Learn and Serve." As an example, By 1977 the college utilized one of the largest bus ministries in the country. Other examples include utilization of a downtown rescue mission, a rehabilitation farm, a youth camp, relationships with over 150 missionaries supported by Trinity Baptist Church, Trinity Christian Academy (one of the state of Florida's largest Christian academies), and over 30 ministries associated with Trinity Ministries.[6]

In 1977, the college's founding church filed for bankruptcy. Regarding details of the bankruptcy, the campus that Trinity Baptist College now occupies on the west-side of Jacksonville was originally purchased through a bond issue. The original agreement involved the bond issue being converted into a mortgage once Trinity Baptist Church reached specified attendance goals. While those goals were met, by the time the church sought to convert the bond issue into a mortgage, no bank would underwrite the mortgage, as the economy had changed. The church later paid its debts in full; over and above the 50% required by the bankruptcy order.[7] The land purchased is where the college currently resides.

In 1992, the church voted Thomas Messer to be the senior pastor of the church and he later became the president of the college. In 1995, Charles Shoemaker became the executive vice president and chief executive officer of the college. During Schoemaker's tenure, Trinity Baptist College expanded and moved to the west-side of Jacksonville, where it shares its campus with both Trinity Baptist Church and Trinity Christian Academy. In 1998 the college was accredited by the Trans-national Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. It has passed all re-accreditation inspections, gaining a commendation during its most recent review.

In 2006 a former pastor of the college's founding church, Robert Gray, then aged 80, was arrested on capital sexual battery charges. It was alleged that decades before the arrest, he had French-kissed and fondled six-year-old girls in his office at Trinity Baptist Church.[8][9] Over 20 women and one man came forward with allegations, though most were excluded due to the statute of limitations.[10][11] The case went to trial in 2007, but ended when Gray died. Six civil suits against Trinity Baptist Church continued.[12] In 2008, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests asked then-presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to cancel an appearance at the church due to the outstanding charges that church leadership had covered up Gray's activities.[13] Huckabee did not speak in person, citing a scheduling conflict, but did spend time with the church congregation by way of teleconference.

In 2008 to maintain accreditation standards, the college renamed its leadership positions, making Messer the school's chancellor and Shoemaker the president and chief executive officer. No change was made in the authority of their positions. In 2009, Shoemaker announced his resignation and finished out the 2009-2010 school year as his last year as president of the college. In 2010, it was announced that Mac Heavener, Jr., a successful business executive, would take Shoemaker's place as president. Also, the position of executive vice president was re-created and filled by Dr. Matthew Beemer.

Trinity Baptist College's connection with Trinity Ministries enables it to be actively involved in community service throughout the city of Jacksonville. Homeless Ministry, addiction recovery Ministry, and mentoring programs at "at-risk" apartment complexes are a few examples of the active service opportunities students participate in during their time at TBC.

In 2012, the College was recognized by GI Jobs as a part of the "top 15% of military friendly colleges." In 2013, Trinity Baptist College was recognized as a "Top Ranked College" by the Jacksonville Business Journal. Also in 2013, Trinity Alumni Dr. Robert Graham was recognized as the University of North Florida's (where he earned his M. Ed. and Ed. D) distinguished Alumni for his work in South Africa with the Children's Resiliency Project, which operates as a children's village for AIDS affected orphans.

Trinity Baptist College has trained thousands of graduates in the fields of ministry, education, and music since being founded in 1974. New programs include counselling and now business. The college has grown by 60% since 2010 and in 2014 welcomed its largest class of incoming students in the college's 40 year history.[14] Trinity desires to give God credit for any strides made in any area and remains one of the most affordable accredited Christian colleges in the country thanks to funding received through a generous donor-base.

Degree programs[edit]

Trinity Baptist College currently offers the following programs of study:[15]

Associate of Science[edit]

  • Biblical Studies
  • General Studies

Bachelor of Arts[edit]

Bachelor of Science[edit]

Master of Education[edit]

Master of Arts[edit]

  • Bible


The student body is divided into eight groups known as societies, each having a name consisting of three Greek letters, similar to the style of fraternities and sororities. There are four societies for the men and four for the women. These have been established to provide Christian fellowship through meetings, activities, and competitions. The societies are involved in school projects and in fund-raising. Each has its own elected officials (President, Activities Director, and Chaplain), whereby opportunities are provided for members to develop as leaders.[16]

The societies at Trinity Baptist College are:

Men's Societies[edit]

  • Sigma Lambda Kappa—ΣΛΚ
    (Speiron ton Logon Kuriou—Sowing the Word of the Lord)
  • Pi Ro Pi—ΠΡΠ
    (Pur, Romphaia, Pneuma—Fire, Sword, Spirit)
  • Pi Theta Kappa—ΠΘΚ
    (Parakletoi Theu Kosmos—Advocates of God to the World)
  • Alpha Omega Epsilone—ΑΩΕ
    (Emi to Alpha ki to Omega—I Am the Alpha and the Omega)

Women's Societies[edit]

  • Tri Delta—ΔΔΔ
    (Dioko, Douleuo, Doxazo—Follow, Serve, Glorify)
  • Tau Theta Epsilon—ΤΘΕ
    (Tas Thugatras Eireineis—Daughters of Peace)
  • Kappa Delta Chi—ΚΔΧ
    (Katharos Dia Christon—Pure on Account of Christ)
  • Pi Epsilon Alpha—ΠΕΑ
    (Pistis, Elpis, Agape—Faith, Hope, Charity)


LifeSong is a travelling music group that began in 2008, traveling as representatives of Trinity Baptist College and performing at various churches, schools, student ministries, and youth rallies across the United States. While recruiting for the college is a main goal, their spiritual objectives are to exalt Jesus Christ above all, edify the saints of the local church, and evangelize the lost.

LifeSong provided vocals for the "Our God" CD produced by Grace and Purpose Publishers in 2011. The group currently has 8 members and performs in a variety of musical styles depending on venue.

Former music groups associated with the college were "The Alatheians" and "Higher Calling."

The director and vocal trainer of LifeSong is Jacob Leporacci, Assistant Professor of Music.[1]


Trinity Baptist College competes as the Eagles and maintains membership in the National Christian College Athletic Association at the Division II level.

The following varsity sports are sponsored:

Women - Volleyball, Basketball, Cross County (Fall, 2014) and Golf (Fall, 2014)

Men - Soccer, Basketball, Baseball (Spring, 2015), Cross Country (Fall, 2014) and Golf (Fall, 2014)

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b Meet Our Staff
  2. ^ college statistics
  3. ^ The Facts
  4. ^ Member Institutions from Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools
  5. ^ "Trinity Baptist College Page". 
  6. ^ trinity baptist college officials
  7. ^ Trinity Baptist Church Officials
  8. ^ "Former Pastor Talked Openly With Police About Sex Charges". WJXT Jacksonville. November 20, 2007. 
  9. ^ "Tape recording called "smoking gun" in alleged Trinity cover-up". First Coast News. November 15, 2007. 
  10. ^ Galnor, Matt (November 11, 2007). "Pastor won't face his accusers Suspect in child molestation cases dies at age 81". Florida Times Union. p. B.1. 
  11. ^ "Former Trinity Pastor Back In Jail On New Sex Charge". WJXT Jacksonville. July 6, 2006. 
  12. ^ "Abuse Claims Don't End With Pastor's Death". WJXT Jacksonville. November 12, 2007. 
  13. ^ Brumley, Jeff (January 25, 2008). "Huckabee won't be coming to preach: The GOP candidate said he never committed to the Jacksonville church.". Florida Times Union (Jacksonville, Fla.). p. B.4. 
  14. ^ Trinity Baptist College statistics
  15. ^ Degree Programs (Prospective Students)
  16. ^ 2010-11 TBC Catalog, pg. 18
  17. ^ "David Meeks' Biography". Retrieved December 31, 2013. 

External links[edit]