Help from the Arizona Southern Baptist family
Oct 16, 2020
Faced with great difficulty in making a building payment due to a dramatic decline in giving in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Superstition Foothills Baptist Church in Gold Canyon found help from its Arizona Southern Baptist family.
Pastor Tim Jennings turned to the Helping Churches in Crisis Fund, created through the contributions of Arizona Southern Baptist churches and individuals to help churches struggling financially because of the pandemic. The fund is the single focus of this year’s Arizona Mission Offering.
Jennings requested an amount equal to one month’s building payment.
A grant was approved from the fund, but Arizona Southern Baptist Convention Executive Director David Johnson also suggested that Jennings talk to Josh Hodges, associational mission strategist for Valley Rim Association, for additional help.
The association offered more assistance, and Jennings learned that First Baptist Church of Apache Junction was also willing to help.
“It was a tag team effort between the three — the state convention, the association and the local church and pastor at First, Apache Junction,” Jennings said.
For Jennings, connecting with Apache Junction Pastor Chris Baker was an added blessing.
“I was his pastor when he was a college student as ASU,” Jennings said, “so it was just really cool to see how God had His hand in that this whole time.”
Located in a retirement community at the base of the Superstition Mountains, Superstition Foothills started meeting strictly online in March. Jennings quickly realized this “wasn’t a viable option in the long run for us. A lot of our people don’t even have email addresses, let alone will go to a website.”
Starting on Easter Sunday, the church held drive-in services in the parking lot, while continuing to stream the services online. A large church in Mesa loaned Superstition Foothills an FM transmitter until the order for its own was fulfilled.
Just when temperatures were beginning to heat up, Superstition Foothills returned to services indoors, knowing that less than 50 people would be present in the large auditorium, since winter visitors had already returned home.
The congregation has grown since Jennings’ arrival about three years ago when 18 people were present. Currently, about 30 are attending in person, with another 30-40 watching online, Jennings said.
While Superstition Foothills still isn’t “rolling in the money” since receiving the financial assistance, Jennings said, “God has really taken care of us.”
“I had no idea how, when we were already struggling, we were going to be able to advance,” he said. “It was looking pretty bleak, but when the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention and the local churches stepped up, it gave us a breath of fresh air where we could actually breathe again.”
He concluded, “I’m incredibly grateful not just for the state [convention] and their idea to do this, but also for the local churches willing to do it. This is an uncertain time for a lot of us, but just continuously seeing us step up and have each other’s backs is really a positive thing. I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Give to the Arizona Mission Offering through your church or online at azsbc.org/helping-churches-in-crisis/. The form to apply for a grant is also available on this page.