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home : features : features May 25, 2016

12/21/2012 6:01:00 AM
Church continues growing with new building
JC AMBERLYN/MinerKent Simmons, pastor of Canyon Community Church, reads a Bible verse Sunday.

Kent Simmons, pastor of Canyon Community Church, reads a Bible verse Sunday.

KINGMAN - "It's been a wonderful journey," said Pastor Kent Simmons regarding Canyon Community Church's recent purchase of the former Free Methodist Church at 3270 N. Harvard Street in Kingman. "We're excited about the future!"

Canyon Community Church, a nondenominational Protestant church launched in August 1999, began humbly enough. That year, the community of faith numbering a mere 16 began worship at the Centennial Park Community Center, a small facility formerly used as a Kingman fire station. Within two years, the church had grown sufficiently enough - 40 members - to seek a larger building.

In 2002, the congregation purchased a property across from the high school north campus. This 5,000 square foot facility allowed Canyon to advance even further. In the four-year period in which the church had the Bank Street property as its home, several renovations and ministry endeavors occurred within this fledgling fellowship.

By 2006, it was evident that more space would be necessary to facilitate growth and ministry.

The church sold the Bank Street property, purchased 12 acres adjacent to Mohave Community College in Kingman and began renting the facility at 3270 N. Harvard Street from the Free Methodist Church of Arizona.

This week, through the financial support of a group of local investors, Canyon secured the Harvard Street property as its own to steward.

"I am amazed at what has transpired over the last decade plus," said Simmons. "We started without trained staff, without property and without affiliation."

Today, Simmons has a bachelor of arts degree, is currently enrolled at Grand Canyon University and has four courses remaining for a master of arts degree.

The church now owns two properties, and although the church is not yet affiliated, "our current strategy is to plant another church somewhere in Mohave County in the near future," Simmons said. "So, I guess, we will be a denomination when that happens."

The church has not been without struggles along the way. Simmons was the lay pastor for the first five years while he held a full-time job as a local UPS driver and supervisor.

In 2005, at his direction, the church hired an intentional interim pastor, Brian Thorstadt, to lead the congregation in selecting a permanent, full-time pastor.

In 2006, the church hired Mark Rice to be the lead pastor and Simmons, having resigned from UPS, pursued a full-time ministry in central California. In the fall of 2007, Canyon split over leadership issues and Journey Church was founded locally by Rice.

"This was a sad season in the life of Canyon. Many friendships were damaged or lost, the church's community reputation was tarnished, and those who remained were emotionally and spiritually hurt," said Simmons.

"It's important to be honest about who you are and where you've been. Churches are not perfect."

Simmons was hired to be the full-time pastor in January of 2008 and returned to approximately 40 members. Since that time, the church has made several strides in regaining membership through conversion, facility and programming enhancements, and in community reputation and goodwill.

Today, the church has 120 members, 40 grade-school children and 20 high school teenagers. Several small groups meet throughout the week and its seven-member worship team offers a contemporary mix for Sunday gatherings. It supports local as well as international mission efforts and is recognized for its over-the-top vacation Bible school summer programming.

"Our vision is to be a different kind of church," said Simmons. "Every church has its own unique DNA. We believe that a niche of people will find Canyon to be exactly the ministry they need to grow spiritually and to live uprightly in our community in faith and in service. We want to do all of this with the highest of integrity and the purest of motives. We are grateful for the acquisition of this facility and how it will help accomplish this vision."

Canyon Community Church is located at 3270 N. Harvard Street in Kingman. Service times are 9:30 and 11 a.m. Contact the church at (928) 681-4673 or at

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: Brian Thrasher

Yes,Thank you KDMinor for the great story.We moved here in March and met some people from the church.He invited us to come to church and we were very happy with the church.Now we call Canyon Community Church home.Its a great place to worship and we also invite everyone to come on by.You may just find a home here also.

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: Gordon Sanchez

A nice surprise to see the article! This is positive reporting, while most "news" is so negative. This is a great church full of varied people - none perfect - all accepted and genuinely loved. Come on over and see for yourself! The Word of GOD is taught and shown to you here, without slant, sugar, or apology, just the Truth. This church loves Kingman!

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: Monica Pierce

I too would like to thank the Miner for doing this story. My husband and I were married there in 2007, and have grown leaps and bounds in our lives with the support and love from Canyon Community. This truely is our family!

Posted: Friday, December 21, 2012
Article comment by: Erin Cochran

Thanks KDMINER for doing this story. After years of looking for a church home I found mine at Canyon. This is a warm church full of people from all walks of life. They have a fantastic sunday school program and have lit a fire for God in my kids. I hope anyone looking for a church home takes the time to visit us. If you are looking for a good place to celebrate the birth of Jesus we will have a Christmas Eve service at 7pm Monday. I hope to see you all there!

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