Sedona, Arizona, offers arguably one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. It also boasts the reputation of being the New Age capital of North America. These are just two of the reasons I was amazed that the Lord would send me and my family of five across the country from South Carolina to plant Aletheia Church in Sedona. However, when we arrived there, my family found the little town of 16,000 to be most hospitable and ready to have conversations about spiritual things.
A small group began to meet in our home, and we were quickly faced with the challenge of finding space to launch a church. Sedona’s expansion is limited due to its being surrounded by National Forest land. This factor drives prices for existing venues very high. We felt blessed to make an agreement with Sedona’s Parks and Recreation Office to use a city space on Sunday mornings for worship. Yet only six months into our use of this facility, the City Council determined to give the space to a performing arts group which had no desire to partner with a Christian church.
We were unable to find a meeting space in local schools because they had too many events on the calendar. Storefronts came with too little space or too much cost. In this midst of this situation, the Lord reminded me of Crestview Community Church. Crestview is an SBC church recognized annually for their giving to the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong missions offerings. Further, Crestview had donated supplies to serve the Lord’s Supper when Aletheia first launched, as well as offered me office space in their building.
I reached out to Ken Nickell, Crestview’s pastor, and we met for several discussions about how the logistics of our two churches meeting in their facilities might work. After both churches prayed and discussed it among our leadership, Crestview voted to host us in their facility. We are currently in our third year as ministry partners, and both congregations believe our situation to be honoring to the Lord, encouraging to both groups, and amazing to our community. Our people have held fellowships together, served one another, and celebrated baptisms together. The brotherhood between pastors and staff continues to grow and provide encouragement for the leaders of both congregations. Both churches are truly better together!
Aletheia Church is most blessed by SBC churches who give freely to missions through the Cooperative Program. We also appreciate numerous other partner churches who send additional dollars, mission teams, and prayer support to help us in our mission. Finally, we cannot thank Crestview Community Church enough as they continue to give of themselves and their space to accommodate us as we grow. By God’s grace, and through such meaningful partnerships, Sedona will one day be known as an outpost for mission-sending people around the world – not with New Age crystals – but with the good news of Jesus Christ.