A VISION FOR THE WEST: God placed a vision in the hearts of several leaders in our denomination to plant a new church in the fastest growing city in North America at that time, Las Vegas, NV. The First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia, partnering with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, sent three families with this vision of sharing hope in the desert.
Pastor Vance Pitman and his family were the first to arrive in the Las Vegas Valley just in time for Christmas 2000. The remainder of the staff arrived soon after. Pastor Mike Laughrun and Pastor Jeff Riley along with their families arrived in Las Vegas in mid-January. Several other families, who left jobs and homes, soon joined the staff team to help plant this new church. God had invited these families to join in His activity in Las Vegas, the West, and the world.
The first gathering was February 3rd at the Pitman home with eighteen in attendance. Even in the very first gathering it was obvious to all that God was doing something that was much bigger than one church. How could people that evening from Atlanta to Alaska, from the Virgin Islands to the Philippines, from east coast to west coast, have met so precisely in time with such a common goal and common spirit? It was an exciting experience to be involved in what had begun long ago in the heart of God. What had been a mere vision was becoming reality.
A CHURCH IS STARTED: The first official service for Hope Baptist Church took place on the last Sunday of September 2001 in a Carpenter’s Training Center. The day that numerous people had been praying for and anticipating for almost two years had finally arrived. That evening a brand new church assembled to give praise and honor to Christ for the first time. 200 people were in attendance and fourteen small groups were started and began meeting all over the Las Vegas Valley. The vision of a children’s worship service became alive as 25 elementary age children took part in “Hope for Kids”.
GOD’S ACTIVITY: 2002 saw steady growth leading up to Easter and through prayer and the blessing of God, Hope saw the largest crowd in their history and nine people gave their life to Christ. After Easter, the church relocated from the Carpenter’s Training Center in July and moved to the Boy Scout Resource Center. By years end, Hope had sent its first international mission team to Africa and the formation of our first strategic missionary partnership in Zambia was underway.
OUR FIRST CAMPUS: With the growth, it was necessary to acquire land to construct a facility for ministry and to hold worship services. God led the Pastoral team to a piece of property on Pebble Road near Las Vegas Blvd. In order to acquire this land, God would have to provide $480,000.00. So in faith, the church prayed for God to provide. By the end of November, Hope was debt free on the land. Construction began in the summer of 2003.
What God began in the heart’s of few in 2001, was now impacting people all over the world. As Psalm 107 says…
“He changes a wilderness into a pool of water and a dry land into springs of water; And there He makes the hungry to dwell, so that they may establish an inhabited city, And sow fields and plant vineyards, and gather a fruitful harvest. Also He blesses them and they multiply greatly.”
In the years to follow, God would continue to bless Hope both numerically and with opportunities to join His activity. With the opening of the first permanent campus in 2004, The church doubled in size within six months of the new campus opening and Hope was soon offering three services on the weekend. God had given Hope the opportunity influence thousands of people in Las Vegas and develop strong international partners to engage the nations with the gospel. In 2006, Hope’s leadership began to pray and look for another option for a place to gather. In the summer of 2008, a door was opened at Silverado High School and the opportunity became available to move all worship services there in January 2009.
SILVERADO HIGH SCHOOL: The church transitioned to meeting in a public high school with as a short-term step with several strategic goals in mind. The goals were to provide more seats for people to hear the gospel, more space for the body of Christ called Hope to connect and develop real relationships, and to offer exciting environments for families to bring their children to. In May of 2009, The Big Journey began as a spiritual emphasis to establish funding to build a permanent campus to reach Las Vegas, the West, and the world. Even through a difficult economy, God continued to bring the people and bless His church and prepare them for the future.
NEXT STEPS: Through the faithfulness and generosity of God’s people Hope was able to purchase 15 acres of land on Cactus Ave and begin the design process on a future launching pad for God to send His message to the ends of the earth. God has called His this community of faith on a Big Journey! A journey that demands total dependence on a Big God, who is at work in a Big World and who has invited us into a Big Life!
BOULDER CITY CAMPUS: In 2011, Hope Church opened the door to a second campus in Boulder City, NV. God provided a building in the heart of the community at 850 Avenue B and a great launch team to be a part of engaging Boulder City with the gospel. This campus has now launched mission communities across the city and we are seeing people come to Christ!
A PERMANENT HOME FOR HOPE : After years of praying and seeking God’s direction, Hope Church is opening a permanent “HOME” in South Las Vegas. In March of 2012, phase 1 of the new launching pad at 850 E Cactus Ave officially opens. This campus will be used for generations to come to impact Las Vegas, the West and the world for the glory of God