The Early Years: 1912 to 1942
The first pastor was a man by the name of Trumbull. He was a Colporteur missionary and was living in Tempe. He was called as the first pastor but died soon after the call and a friend of his, William Wilbur, took over and held the first baptismal service at an irrigation ditch on Scottsdale Rd and Indian School.
For the next 30 years, from 1912 until 1942, there were 18 pastors. Two of the pastors that stand out were Verner Vanderhoof and his son in law Fred Mathis. Both Vanderhoof and Mathis were colporteur missionaries. They worked under the direction of the American Baptist Publication Society. All but a few of the early pastors were colporteur missionaries.
Verner Vanderhoof came to Phoenix from Kansas for health reasons at the age of 20. During his time in Scottsdale he became friends with Winfield Scott, founder of the city of Scottsdale. Before Scott died he gave Vanderhoof the land on Indian School and Brown where the first church was built. Vanderhoof played a big role in the development of FBCScottsdale.
Fred Mathis came from California and married Vanderhoof’s daughter May. Fred served the church from 1933 until his death in the early 60’s. He was a pastor for a while but also served as custodian as well as an active church officer and Sunday school teacher.
The church met after it was organized in 1912 in the Red Brick School House on Main Street. The building is still standing and is the museum of the Scottsdale Historical Society. They moved into the new building on Indian School and Brown in 1918. They were there from 1918 until 1957 when they built the church on Osborn and 70th. The new sanctuary was built in 1975.
The church was organized with five families. They had been a part of the community Sunday School that met in the Vanderhoof’s home. The church began to grow right away and one of the first new members were the Vanderhoof family who had been Methodist and accepted infant baptism. After bible study in their home both Verner and his wife felt that if they were going to follow biblical teachings, they both needed to be baptized as believers.
The Development years 1943 to 1969
Pastors, Buildings and People:
Between 1943 and 1969, the church had 4 pastors. The church moved to the location on Indian School Road. Pastors had come and gone but the basic leadership of the church had stayed consistant. Between Pastor Anderson and Pastor Van Slyke, there were a couple of supply pastors who came from FBC Phoenix to help. But once Van Slyke arrived, the church really began to grow. By the mid 50’s, Scottsdale had begun to grow and the church grew right along with the town. Early Leadership families were the Shipp’s, Crosier’s, Scott’s, Vanderhoof’s, Weaver’s, Mathis’, Walker’s and many others.
Anderson: He and his family had moved to Scottsdale in 1943 from the east coast. They arrived in Jine during one of our many heat waves and it took a lot for them to get used to the hot weather. They arrived during WWII so moth of the men were gone. In 1946, there was a split between the Conservative Baptist, and the American Baptist, and Rev. Anderson felt that we should stay with the Arizona convention. There was a real need to support young mothers and their children. A Sunday School Program was developed and new buildings were built to provide classrooms. The church had 50 members when Anderson arrived and 225 when they left.
SG Cleveland: Cleveland was the pastor from 1950 to 1952. I have not found much information on him other than he had come from FBC Phoenix.
The boom years 1970 - Present
Three pastors that bring the church to a new level:
Between 1970 and 2010 the church was led by three lead or Senior pastors. Lowell Fairly, Milan Johnson, and Robert Brouwer. During this time, the church has had some great associate pastors in the area of youth, music, and visitation. But these three men really set the mark for bringing the church to this new level.
Lowell Fairley: Pastor Fairley came to the church from Pasadena, California. He had been raised in Bakersfield and went to seminary on the east coast. FBCScottsdale was his second pastorate. The church was having two services on Sunday morning and one on Sunday evening. In 1971 they had an evangelic service for a week led by a man by the name of Mel Dibble. These services ignited the church and seemed to bring the church to a place where they needed to look at building a new sanctuary and classrooms. This project was completed in 1975. The church was now one of the larger churches in the valley and was deeply involved in the community. As the years past, many of the leaders of the church were leaders in the community. So as the town grew, the church also grew. Pastor Fairley went on to be the executive minister of the American Baptist of the Pacific Southwest.
Milan Johnson: Rev. Johnson came and filled a big hole left when Pastor Fairley was called to lead the Pacific Southwest. During his time at FBCS, his son was killed in an accident. It had a big impact on the pastor and his wife. During the three years at FBCS, he helped the church become a much stronger supporter of the ABC missions. He also started a program of Family Fellowship dinners and included classes on Wednesday nights.
Robert Brouwer: Pastor Brouwer came to FBCS in 1983. He was the pastor at FBC Cocina in California and had a very successful pastorate there. It took over a year for Pastor Brouwer to accept the call to FBCS. He had no reason to leave Covina other than the fact that God was calling him. Pastor Brouwer always had a desire to be obedient to God but this was a difficult one. He ended up faithfully serving the church for 26 years. His wife Diane and daughters continue to attend and serve FBCS.
Pastor Brouwer retired in 2019 as pastor of FBCS. Mark Young and John Bosic became co-pastors for the next few years. In September of 2016, Jim Coston was called as lead pastor and has already moved the church in some very positive directions. We look forward to his leadership as FBCS opens new avenues of ministry in Scottsdale.