Eyes on the Arizona Mission Offering: Remodeling a shared church facility

By Robin Talley* | Aug 15, 2023

Iglesia Experimenta Vida musicians lead in worship in the remodeled space at Heart of Mesa Church.

Iglesia Experimenta Vida and Heart of Mesa Church have more than a shared facility in common. Both churches had their eyes open to be a blessing to their city.

Because of Arizona Southern Baptists giving to the Arizona Mission Offering last year, Experimenta Vida and Heart of Mesa were able to receive a church planting site grant that helped them be that blessing.

Heart of Mesa Church is an English-speaking church that has long held a place in its Mesa community. Iglesia Experimenta Vida is a Spanish-speaking church plant that is growing and looking for a more permanent place to call home.

When Joaquin Vargas, pastor of Experimenta Vida, approached Ryan Smith, pastor of Heart of Mesa, about working together to combine both churches in one location, Smith was excited about the opportunity to work together.

Iglesia Experimenta Vida Pastor Joaquin Vargas, pictured with his wife, Oneida, approached Ryan Smith, pastor of Heart of Mesa, about working together to combine both churches in one location.

“When churches work together, they can make a bigger impact on their communities for Christ,” Smith said.

The existing church building was older and had some deferred maintenance that, once completed, could provide a functional space for both congregations to serve the community. Experimenta Vida had raised thousands of dollars and had skilled workers to offset labor costs, but a little more help was needed.

“When the community sees that a church is well-maintained and looks alive, people are attracted to what is happening there,” Vargas said.

The purpose of the church planting site grant is to help churches that have existed for less than 10 years get into their first permanent facility. In this case, the church planting site grant allowed these renovations to be completed so that both churches could have a more usable space to work together to maintain a gospel presence in the community.

“A community knows you are committed if you have a facility where you can meet seven days a week,” said Monty Patton, associate executive director of the Arizona Mission Network of Southern Baptists.

Thanks to Heart of Mesa Church, gifts of Arizona Southern Baptists to the Arizona Mission Offering, offerings given to Iglesia Experimenta Vida and labor provided by Experimenta Vida members, this church plant has its own place to worship at Heart of Mesa.

After receiving the grant, the remodeling was completed and now both churches can meet on Sundays at the same time to reach their community in both English and Spanish.

With the rising real estate prices in Arizona, one way to get into a permanent facility is to update an existing facility so that it can support two congregations. According to Patton, there are at least 30 church planters in Arizona that would be thrilled to have a permanent facility in their community.

“Having a dedicated space gives the church stability, which gives it credibility in the community,” Vargas said.

By giving to the Arizona Mission Offering, more church plant site grants can be available to bless Arizona communities with the good news of Jesus.

*Name changed for security

Robin Talley, longtime Arizona Southern Baptist, is a former Last Frontier missionary with the International Mission Board.

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