An examination of good will: The Scottsdale Bible Church

Community service and volunteerism is a major focus of the Scottsdale Bible Church, officials there say. (Submitted photo)

As the amount of need grows year to year, outreach officials agree, without the service of local religious and nonprofit organizations many of the disenfranchised would go without.

To understand the pursuit of community service — through faith — the Scottsdale Independent offered a feature article titled, “Examination of good will: An effort to understand the pursuit of service.”

As a follow-up, the Independent offers a question-and-answer segment with officials at the Scottsdale Bible Church to understand their pursuit of service.

“I’m so proud of the people of SBC for their involvement in serving this community over the years. They’ve been creative, generous and dedicated in their many efforts to humbly demonstrate Christ’s love in action,” said Senior Pastor Jamie Rasmussen.

The church has been in operations for 56 years in the city of Scottsdale. Jill Hoekstra, SBC communications director offers insights into the church’s efforts to make the world around them better. This what she had to say:

From food and clothing drives to feeding the disenfranchised members of the SBC try to contribute to betterment of the community at large. (Submitted photo)

• The Scottsdale Bible Church looks to be a pretty big operation. How did it come to be such a large congregation with multiple locations throughout the Valley?

SBC has been a church for 56 years in Scottsdale. We added a second campus six years ago — our Cactus Campus at 25th Street and Cactus Road and we are adding a third campus in January 2019, which is SBC North Ridge at 64th Street and Dynamite Boulevard in Cave Creek.

Over the years, our congregation has grown and we now welcome 6,000 to 7,000 people to our church each weekend. We are the 70th largest protestant church in the nation, according to Outreach Magazine’s yearly ranking. On our Shea campus, we have three different venues that each have their own campus pastor and music style — modern, contemporary or classic/traditional.

We offer a Saturday 5 p.m. service and two services on Sunday, 9 and 11 a.m., at all locations. We’re a full-service church with many different ministries and a significant focus on serving our community with 17 local partners, and we support more than 50 global partners around the world.

•Is the structure of SBC a departure from traditional church settings?

Our structure is like most churches our size; however, we are a full-service church so we offer many programs and services to support our congregation and community. We have pastors and directors who serve each of those areas, including: children, youth, college, singles, men, women, marriage, special needs ministry, counseling/support groups, local and world outreach, groups, etc.

•What is the purpose of Scottsdale Bible Church?

Our vision is to create a community of Christ followers who are marked by unwavering faith and unconditional love. We strive to help people understand and know God in a relational way, get real with one another about life, and get out there to impact our community and world with the hope of the gospel of Jesus.

•How many people attend the Scottsdale Bible Church?

We average between 6,000 and 7,000 people who attend our services each weekend, including children and youth. If someone wants to become a voting member, they need to attend a short class, agree with our statement of faith, and meet briefly with a pastor to affirm their relationship with Christ and desire to follow Him.

•As a general question, what good do you think the Scottsdale Bible Church accomplishes on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis?

Our overall vision is to follow Jesus’ example by defending the vulnerable, serving the hurting and sharing the good news and hope of Jesus with others. Nearly 3,400 SBC individuals are involved in serving opportunities in our community and with our 17 local ministry partners.

Developing a community garden through volunteerism is a keystone of outreach projects spearheaded by the SBC. (Submitted photo)

We work with the homeless/working poor; provide free medical care in the inner-city; support at-risk children, foster care and adoption; help kids and families who are experiencing poverty; work with Burmese and Syrian refugees to meet their needs and provide tutoring; work with prisoners; Title 1 schools, etc.
Daily and weekly, hundreds of people are mentoring kids, serving and packing food, serving at schools and local centers. We have a ministry that serves at four homeless shelters every month, among other efforts.
Yearly, we collect more then 900 shoes for kids in need; participate in Serve our City days where hundreds do projects at local Title 1 schools; give more then $100,000 per year through our Christmas program — Winter Wonder — to kids in need and schools.

This August, we gave gift boxes to more than 500 local teachers with Amazon gift cards and supplies for their classrooms. The list is extensive, but you can learn a little more here scottsdalebible.com/localoutreach.

Globally, we have built and support two schools in Tanzania and have 850 children who are sponsored monthly and attending these schools. The schools were started in 2004, and each year 80-90 kids graduate with some of the highest test scores in the country and go on to secondary schools.

We are working all over the world in similar ways, and support 50 global partners who are defending the vulnerable, reaching the unreached, and equipping global churches.

•What good do you do for the Scottsdale community?

We have served all eight Title 1 schools in Scottsdale, and given Christmas gifts to every student and teacher, given computer labs, served periodically to clean up their campuses, given backpacks with supplies, tutored and mentored kids, etc. We also fund the Healthy Packs program that provides food for thousands of kids who don’t have enough food over the weekend.

We are also very involved with serving foster and adoptive families and kids in our community. In addition, we offer counseling and support groups for people struggling with life issues such as divorce, grief, career transition, addictions and abuse.

•How about the larger Phoenix metropolitan area?

We are involved in Title 1 schools in Phoenix as well, including a close relationship with Larkspur Elementary. We also serve with and support financially organizations such as Phoenix Rescue Mission, Changing Lives Women’s Center, Neighborhood Christian Clinic, Christian Family Care, Living Hope Women’s Center, CarePortal, Neighborhood Ministries, Harvest Compassion Center, Feed My Starving Children, MentorKids USA, PV Emergency Food Bank, Hope Response (serving refugees), and many others. In addition to our yearly Soles for Souls program, each year we host a Christmas Fiesta in urban Phoenix with hundreds of volunteers, and give gifts to more than 600 kids and provide food, games and crafts for their families, hosting about 2,000 people.

•How do you quantify the impact your efforts have on the outside community?

In 2017, $3.9 million of giving to our church was directed toward community and world outreach, and more than 3,400 of our people are involved in serving or volunteering through their church.

•Are there any annual efforts you think highlights the charity efforts of the Scottsdale Bible Church?

Annual Soles for Souls in July/August — 900 new back-to-school shoes for kids in inner city Phoenix (have done this for more than 20 years). Love our Schools and Serve our City days twice a year.

Winter Wonder Christmas program giving projects — more than $100,000 given each year (donations and ticket proceeds) to kids in our community, including Title 1 schools, foster families, Healthy Packs weekend food program, Christmas assemblies with gifts and computers for schools, etc. You can learn more about this program and this years projects here: scottsdalebible.com/winterwonder

•As the holiday months are now upon us are there any efforts that need community support you think?

Our Winter Wonder program, as mentioned above, is our gift to the community and starts Nov. 30 and runs for two weekends (with nine performances), and tickets support programs for kids. We are also hosting a Christmas Fiesta in Phoenix for inner city kids and families as mentioned above, with gifts for more than 600 kids. We are seeking volunteers to serve at this event.

All the gift tags for individual gifts for kids were claimed this past weekend. We are also a drop off location for Operation Christmas Child, an organization that sends shoeboxes filled with gifts for kids around the world. So far our congregation has collected more than 1,000 of these boxes, and the numbers will increase in the next few weeks before the deadline.

Submitted photo

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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