North Valley Baptist Church was started by Pastor Calvin Blanton in the downtown area of Phoenix, Arizona, in 1956. For twenty-eight years Pastor Blanton faithfully led his congregation until he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 1984.
Shortly afterward, Pastor David Hahn became the pastor. Then in 1989, Pastor Hahn resigned, and Pastor Jack Strickland took the church. During his sixteen years of pastoring, the church added a fellowship hall and youth building, and became active in missions and local church planting.
In 2005, Pastor Strickland retired and the church called Brent Loveless to be their pastor. Pastor Loveless is a native of Oklahoma and was called to preach while attending Eastland Baptist Church in Tulsa.
After graduating from Bible college and interning at a church for three years, Pastor Loveless started a new church in the small community of Coweta, Oklahoma. He pastored there for eight and a half years before God led him to take the pastorate of North Valley Baptist Church in April of 2005.
Since then the Lord has blessed, and the church has grown numerically. When Pastor Loveless took the church, it was averaging about ninety-five in attendance. The facilities were sound but dated. He immediately instituted an outreach program and God began to bless. The church has seen steady growth throughout the past eleven years. They recently began two services, averaging about 250 in attendance on Sunday mornings.
The church has had the privilege of financially supporting and helping in the ministry of many church plants in the area. Their missions program now exceeds $110,000, and they currently support right at fifty missionaries and church planters.
Phoenix is a thriving community and one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. North Valley Baptist Church is located in the northern part of Phoenix on just under four acres of land. Most of the people in their area do not attend any place of worship, but those who do are usually Catholic, Christian, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Hindu. The church has a regular door-to-door visitation every other Tuesday and every other Saturday, as well as van visitation in two apartment complexes.
Over the past two years, Pastor Loveless has had the privilege of hosting a Bible study for their state representatives and senators each week, while they are in session at the capitol. Thus far, they have had the privilege of seeing one of their representatives accept Christ. They are also trying to reach the Asian Indian community, for there are many in that area. Most of them do work for businesses like American Express, though several work in the medical field as well.
Pastor Loveless and his wife come from humble beginnings. “My parents both grew up as farmers, and they instilled in me a solid, steady work ethic,” he says. His wife Heather grew up on the mission field of Indonesia. “We try to keep doing the right things well week after week, month after month, year after year. We keep sowing the seed, watering the ground, and praying that God will give us the increase. Thus far, He has.”
The future looks bright for North Valley Baptist Church. The church is about to undergo a building program that will expand classroom space. Once that is completed, they would like to build a new sanctuary. That will probably be the final building possible on their current property. With a new sanctuary, the church could hopefully minister to about 600 people.
Pastor Loveless is quick to deflect any praise to God. “God taught me many years ago that the church is His, and I am just His undershepherd. It is not my responsibility to be successful. It is my responsibility to be faithful,” he says. “Whatever victories we have experienced as a church have been due to His power and ability, not our own.”
Pastor and Mrs. Loveless have been married for twenty-three years. They have two children, Zachary who is sixteen and Olivia who is twelve. Please pray that North Valley Baptist Church will continue to go forward for the cause of Christ.