Mitchell and Alexis Crittenden
July 30, 2020
These eight years following graduation have been busy to say the least, yet nevertheless full of the Lord’s blessings. Alexa and I married shortly after her graduation in 2013, and the Lord has blessed us with three children – Aislynn (5), Zander (4), and Pearce (3). At college God impressed upon my heart the need for church planting, and after graduation our family served a four-year church planting internship with Pastor Brent Loveless and North Valley Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona. It was during that time we had the opportunity to oversee the outreach program and teach a couple’s class, and also be involved in numerous administrative responsibilities. The practical, hands-on training received during our internship has proven to be invaluable in the years following as the church sent us out to start a new ministry.
While we entered the internship not exactly certain as to where God would have us plant a church, it was while serving in Phoenix that He directed us to a town about 25 miles north of our sending church, a rapidly growing community called Desert Hills. After spending a year on deputation, we launched Hillcrest Baptist Church in February 2018 in a local school in the community. The Lord has continued to show Himself faithful and provide, and one of the ways this was shown was by impressing upon the hearts of three families from our sending church to initially come with us and assist us. All of these families live in the area of the new church, and all came with our sending pastor’s permission and blessing. While Alexa and I still wear many hats in a church plant, they have been instrumental in helping us in music ministry, children’s ministry, and outreach.
The Lord has blessed our church with a wonderful core group of about forty people, and the church is taking the healthy, necessary steps to becoming self-supporting. It is our prayer that we will be able to fully reach that mark by the end of this year. Every church plant will endure its share of growing pains, and Hillcrest is certainly no different. But for me, growing up in the south where most of the community has a religious background and foundation, it has been a joy to see people hear, grasp, and apply biblical truth for the first time. It’s also taught us the value of patience and prayer for the Lord of the harvest to bless the seed that’s been sown. We’re excited to see what God will continue to do to build His church and reach this growing community in north Phoenix!
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