When Troy Calvert assumed the responsibilities of the pulpit of Fairfax Baptist Temple on January 8, 2006 he completed what may be one of the longest periods of transition in church history: 36 years before his new appointment he was present at the very first meeting of the fledgling church, in his parent’s second-floor apartment in Annandale, Virginia. There were five people in the congregation that day and his father – now Pastor Emeritus Bud Calvert – was the preacher. It was October 1970.
The church soon began meeting in West Springfield High School but continuing strong growth led to the acquisition of a five acre property and a small building on Braddock Road in 1973. The move was made possible by a loan of $50,000 provided by Mr. and Mrs. Farmer, the parents of Bud Calvert’s wife, Mary. A second building on the site was dedicated in 1979. Then a tract of 33 acres was donated to the still growing church by a member who was also a land developer. Located on a prime site fronting on the (then) soon to be constructed Fairfax County Parkway, this miraculous gift led to a final move in December 2000.
The church, however, is not land and buildings: it is people. The legacy that Pastor Calvert seeks to maintain is the one left by his father – ensuring that God is pre-eminent in everything while striving to draw people to Him from the local community, then reaching out to others across the country, and to the nations beyond. This vision is encapsulated in the purpose that has motivated FBT from the very first – to Glorify God and Evangelize the World. Translated in practical terms this means that the local church promotes a vigorous program of discipleship, personal evangelism and community outreach while supporting nearly 300 missionary evangelists on every continent. In addition, young men have been sent out from FBT almost every year since its founding to plant new churches across America. In this way, more than $14 million has been given towards world evangelism over the last 42 years. This money is separate from the operating funds of the church and is donated by members through a program of Grace Giving.
Another aspect of involvement with world evangelism is FBT’s sponsorship of the International Conference on World Evangelism (ICWE). The conference grew out of Dr. Bud Calvert’s desire to educate young pastors and remind seasoned pastors about the need to maintain primacy of world evangelism in the life of every church. Two regional conventions were held early on in an effort to bring fundamental pastors and missionary-evangelists together for a time of learning and encouragement. Two further conferences were held at FBT in 2010 and 2011 but a conference scheduled for October 2012 was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy. A conference is planned for November 3-5, 2013, at Fairfax Baptist Temple. In the meantime, Dr. Calvert is conducting smaller meetings that are hosted by local pastors, as well as speaking in Bible colleges and seminaries.