Scottsdale church chooses to give, not hoard, during the pandemic

Mar 15, 2021

By Jamie Mitchell

Amidst all the struggles of 2020, it would be remiss not to recount some of the bright spots the Lord weaved throughout the difficult year.

Often a time of great need becomes a time of great opportunity for people to step up and give of themselves and their resources for the good of others. 2020 was a year where many of us had multiple opportunities to both give out of our abundance as well as receive from others in times of personal need.

The same goes for churches. One such church God graciously enabled to give toward needs in their community after the pandemic began was First Southern Baptist Church of Scottsdale, led by Pastor Chad Murrell.

Since the pandemic began in early 2020, First Southern has given more than $42,000 to nonprofit organizations assisting the needy and homeless in the communities surrounding the church, as well as to at-risk churches in Arizona, struggling due to pandemic-related hardships.

Church members also gave more than three tons of food, hygiene items and cleaning supplies to a local food bank.

Volunteers from the Scottsdale Community Partners food bank hold up a sign thanking First Southern Baptist Church of Scottsdale for their financial gift.

Additionally, the church gave more than 60 sleeping bags to every homeless person they were able to connect with, and they’ve partnered with the city of Scottsdale to open a Homeless Day Relief Center on their church campus. The center opens once a week for homeless people in the surrounding community to come get a shower, receive medical attention or counseling if needed, food, and other resources.

First Southern has also found unique ways, amid shutdowns and quarantines, to launch a Christian Challenge ministry at Scottsdale Community College, which is located three miles from the church’s campus.

It is often tempting to hoard resources during uncertain times, to ensure one has enough stored up for the future. But as things were worsening with the pandemic, leadership at First Southern felt strongly that, instead of stockpiling resources for a future rainy day, it would be wrong, and frankly un-Christlike, not to give to those who needed those resources urgently. They moved forward and gave, trusting God would continue meeting the needs of the church for the future.

“One of First Southern’s values is ‘Serve,’ and when this pandemic hit, we immediately began to see ways that we could serve our community,” Murrell said. “I never imagined that God would give us so many opportunities to both generously give and practically serve those in need on so many fronts, or that our church family would respond with such generosity in a time of great uncertainty.”

As Murrell said, it is God who gives us all things, including the opportunities to give, as well as the means. God doesn’t need us in order to meet people’s needs, but He mercifully allows us the chance to enter into His work and movement.

“It is beautiful to see the Body of Christ being the actual Body of Christ by being His hands and feet serving those who need His Good News,” Murrell said.

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