For over 20 years, Sun Valley Community Church had the goal of creating a new brand of church—a church that would cause people to say, “There is just something about this place.” It was with that dream in mind that John and Kathy Snyder and Gary and Elaine Norton moved to Chandler, Arizona from California and opened the doors of Sun Valley on February 4, 1990.
Since it’s beginning, the mindset of Sun Valley has been, “We exist for those that are not here yet.” Intentionally designing a church experience that appealed to the experienced believer, the church damaged attendee and the first time faith explorer has developed Sun Valley into a beautiful mix of people from all sorts of backgrounds, ethnicity, ages and social circles. Each week we are all reminded that God’s word applies to our lives, no matter what our circumstances.
After John Snyder’s departure in 1998, Scott Ridout, the ﬁrst Youth Pastor of Sun Valley, became Lead Pastor. For the first 13-1/2 years of its existence, Sun Valley rented and borrowed facilities. This created many challenges when it came to accomplishing its mission. The leadership team at Sun Valley had a dream of having a permanent facility as a base of operations from which to work. In 1999 we purchased 9.15 acres on Ray Road near Lindsay in Gilbert. For the next four years, the people of Sun Valley responded to this dream with time, talent and treasure—funding as well as building our first worship center brick by brick. In June 2003, at its first owned facility, Sun Valley opened the doors to the community. When over 800 people showed up at those ﬁrst services, it was apparent that God really was up to something big.
In this season of explosive growth, in 2004 Chad Moore came on staff as the Pastor of Discipleship and began working closely with Scott. The growing teamwork between Scott and Chad was obvious to everyone. The announcement in 2010 to have Chad Moore join Scott Ridout as co-Lead Pastor was met with standing ovations of our people.
Through the weekend services and an increasing number of small groups and focused ministries, lives were being transformed, marriages were being restored and broken people were ﬁnding hope. People were coming to Sun Valley from every walk of life. The continued generosity of the people of Sun Valley fueled this movement of transformation to the point that in 2008, in order to keep up with the growth, Sun Valley opened a new building with a 1,000-seat auditorium and expanded area for children. Within three years, those facilities were full and we began to ask God what He had for us next.
The church continued to grow and the community began to take notice. The word “community” in our name finally began to mean something. We began to look for strategic ways beyond church planting to make an impact both locally and globally by increasing involvement with local organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Streetlight, and international organizations like Orchard: Africa.
Helping other churches launch has always been in Sun Valley’s DNA. In 1993 John Snyder coached the starts of New Beginnings and Mountain Valley churches in Phoenix. Then in 1995, Sun Valley began Mission Community Church and assisted in the start of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship. Soon, these churches forged an alliance called Vision Arizona, with the goal of starting new congregations all over the state. Today 28 churches can trace their start directly to the people and ministry of Sun Valley, including Rock Point, Praxis (now Redemption-Tempe), Harvest and Church of Celebration.
As Sun Valley moves toward the future, we are convinced that Sun Valley has a “culture worth reproducing.” In light of the limits of having one 9-acre campus, Sun Valley began to research the multi-site concept. In September 2011, Bethany Community Church in Tempe merged with Sun Valley and became the ﬁrst multi-site campus, adding great value to the ministry. In January 2012, Sun Valley’s second multi-site campus launched in Casa Grande. We establish a strong web presence with live streaming of our weekend services, reminding us of the power of technology, and putting a stamp on the idea that there are no limits to the impact of a church. The church is not a box we sit in—it is a movement we are invited to join. As we move forward to the next season of our ministry, the mission and vision of Sun Valley remain the same: Helping Each Other Move Toward Authentic Christian Living. We look forward to your part in our movement!