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Senior adult church ministers to all ages, gives 15% to CP

GREEN VALLEY, Ariz. (BP) – Green Valley Baptist Church is “a family that enjoys doing things together,” says John Guillott, pastor since 2011. The senior adult church invests in its community’s children, youth, “things that come our way,” each other, and Southern Baptist mission causes.

“Oftentimes people who come to our church come from a crisis and are looking for people who will accept them, care for them,” Guillott told Baptist Press. “We love on them, care for them and walk with them through life.

Recently a woman came to a worship service who was going through a housing crisis. New to Green Valley, located 30 minutes south of Tucson, she had rented an apartment but was unable to move in because of strong chemical odors.

“She saw our church sign, said, ‘I think I’m going to go there Sunday.’” the pastor continued. “During the service she was distraught, crying.”

Green Valley, a mostly senior adult church, hosts about 160 children for VBS each summer.

Green Valley Baptist offered her a place to stay in the church’s mission house for a couple of days, and a member offered her a place to stay until Easter.

“Things come our way and we handle them,” Guillott said. “She came back to a Life Group that evening, said she felt welcomed, and now says, ‘I’m home here. This is where I belong.’”

Among its many ministries, Green Valley Baptist Church – assisted each June by mission teams – conducts a VBS that attracts about 160 area youngsters. Also for children, Shepherd’s Fold Preschool and Daycare, which the church started in early 2000, has about 70 children enrolled.

For the last 13 years the church has had a partnership with the Sahuarita High School Football Boosters Club that includes pre-game meals for the football team, coaches, cheerleaders and others.

Also for the local community, on Veteran’s Day there’s a lunch and program that honors local veterans; full-course dinners for Thanksgiving and Christmas; and a drive-through Nativity with lights for two weekends in December, which attracts about 500 people to see the Christmas story.

There’s a Rodeo Banquet with entertainment in February, with most folks dressing up in western garb. Also hugely popular are Easter and Christmas cantatas.

Green Valley Baptist also partners with the Nogales Crossroads Ministry in the border town of Nogales, Ariz., and travels south of Tijuana, Mexico, once a year to build a house in partnership with Homes of Hope. The church provides the financial resources and labor to build a house for a family over a weekend in October.

Green Valley Baptist also is the sending church, in partnership with the North American Mission Board, for the One Hope Church plant in southwest Tucson, and it has provided personal financial support for the ministry of an IMB missionary in Southeast Asia.

“It’s crazy, everything that goes on around here,” Guillott said. “We’re known as a community-minded church. We hosted the Sahuarita Girls High School Varsity Basketball Team in our fellowship hall for their end-of-season awards dinner, and recently we grilled ribeye steaks for guys, just for the fellowship. We’re reaching those somewhat on the edge, getting them connected with men of faith.”

Green Valley Baptist Church members are as generous with their finances as they are with the hands and arms they use to extend God’s love to those around them. Fifteen percent of members’ offerings is allocated for missions through the Cooperative Program, the way Southern Baptists work together to spread the Gospel worldwide. Members also gave more than $12,000 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions and another $12,000 for the Annie Armstrong Mission Offering for North American Missions in 2023.

“It was 15 percent when I got here,” Guillott said about Green Valley’s CP giving. “They hear about it every Sunday morning in Mission Moments right before the offering. We use videos from the SBC, NAMB, IMB and Arizona Mission Network so they learn what CP does to support the work of the Gospel and who is being benefitted by it.

“We’re not here to build a castle, but we are here to build a Kingdom,” the pastor continued. “The CP is the best way to help us accomplish that.”

About 200 attend Sunday services between October and March, and about 130 between the hotter months of April through September. In 2023 the church baptized six people ranging in ages from 60s to 90s.

“Life here is all about loving each other and loving other people,” Guillott said. “When you understand your context in ministry, one of our roles is to help people be ushered from this life into eternity. Many come to realize life will soon be over. They come, hear the message and don’t want to wait to be baptized. We don’t know how long we have left.”

Karen L. Willoughby is a national correspondent for Baptist Press.