Laveen Baptist Church
Friday, May 24, 2013
History of our church
Laveen is located near the South Mountains southwest of Phoenix, which was populated by mesquite trees and cacti. Thanks to irrigation from the Salt River, the area thrived, becoming an agricultural region with cotton, citrus orchards and dairy farming predominating. By the late 1930s the community boasted a school, post office and a small number of stores.
In April 1939, a group of mission-minded members of the Central Baptist Church of Phoenix determined to begin a Sunday School at the Laveen elementary school. Space in the school auditorium, now known as Building A, was leased and the mission began.
Local members enthusiastically enlisted in service to the mission and in the spring of 1941 the mission called its first pastor. Dynamic leadership by inspired lay members and early pastors enabled the mission to grow. Attendance grew to eighty-five persons.
In August of 1943 twenty-one members of Central Baptist were granted letters permitting them to organize a church. Laveen Baptist Church became a reality. Later that year, the church purchased land across the road from the school and the members constructed the first church building, capable of accommodating about sixty people.
Pastors, who were sacrificially dedicated to service, characterized the remainder of the 1940s. They worked at secular jobs to support their ministry and their families. Almost without exception their wives taught, led the music and formed women’s groups such as the Women’s Missionary Union.
Outreach by the members and solid scriptural preaching led to many being added to the church membership rolls. A parsonage was constructed on the church grounds in 1948. The work of the church continued through the period of the 1960s and 70s. The 1970s saw the calling of our first full-time pastor. As with previous pastors, this man was extremely energetic in pursuit of the Lord’s work and the church continued to grow into the community through outreach and service. Educational buildings were added. A choir was organized which continues to this date, and our Youth Group was recognized as a strong and viable means of outreach.
In 1973 our second sanctuary was completed which could accommodate 180 persons. Membership soon exceeded our accommodations. The church participated in Operation Share and our youth ministered through musicals and plays to the community and other churches.
Through the 1980s the church continued to grow and evolve. This was a period of strengthening and reorganizing as the community was transitioning from an almost purely agricultural one to one of a mixed suburban makeup. The activities of the church reached into the community and a Youth Director and a Music Director were added to the church staff.
The church continued to grow and we reached a point in the last half of the 80s that necessitated planning for further improvement and enlarging of our facilities. Planning and fund raising were undertaken for a three-phased development program; a larger sanctuary, an educational facility and an office building.
The early 1990s saw outreaches of the church extend to the foreign as well as the local mission field. Missionary trips were made to Wales, the Ukraine, Brazil and Malawi. Members of the congregation gained insight and experience of the Lord’s work through participation in these missions.
In 1993 the church celebrated its fiftieth anniversary by having a groundbreaking ceremony for the new sanctuary, which would seat 400 persons. In 1997 the number of baptisms into the church doubled over the previous year as the population of the community continued to grow rapidly. The new sanctuary was completed in 1998.
Several large subdivisions planned for the community have led the church to plan for further growth. We have just completed a new building addition to minister to the growing population of Laveen. We are enjoying a growth spiral challenging us to new horizons.
This year, 2013, we are celebrating our 70th Anniversary.