In just five and a half years the Illuminate Community Church has gone from Pastor Jason Fritz’s living room to its 31,000-square-foot rental “home” near E. Princess Drive and the 101 Highway in Scottsdale.
But now the congregation is making the industrial building, built in 2000, a permanent home.
The church agreed to buy it for $10.75 million from a New York City moving company, which had bought it in 2018 for $2.7 million – six years after it was first sold for $3.3 million, according to the real estate tracker vizzda.com.
Illuminate Church stayed briefly in an old gymnastics warehouse but moved into its current location at 17800 N. Perimeter Drive about five years ago.
It put $3.3 million down on the purchase.
“Our people have been extremely generous,” Fritz said.
The church boasts a congregation of a little over 1,000 people and to call it dynamic might be an understatement.
“We have a saying: ‘Where God guides, he provides,’” Fritz said.
The church partners with over 10 different groups to spread different ministries from the Sunnyslope neighborhood in North Central Phoenix to Cuba, Palestine and North Africa.
The church partners its mobile soup kitchen with the Hope in the Slope non-profit to provide meals to the homeless in Sunnyslope.
“It’s good food too,” Fritz said. “It’s like what you would get off a high-end food truck.”
The idea is to treat people with respect and dignity, he said.
On the other end of the spectrum, the church partners with Convención Evangélica Los Pinos Nuevos to offer pastoral training and leadership development in Cuba.
Similar connections take church members to North Africa and Palestinian.
In between the two ends of the spectrum, the church works with:
• Teen Challenge is a Christ-centered model of drug and alcohol recovery for teens and young adults.
• Death to Life suicide prevention.
• Along Side partners individuals with ex-convicts to teach life skills.
• Phoenix Rescue Mission homeless shelter
• House of Refuge offers housing to those experiencing homelessness.
• Celebrate Recovery is a Bible-based addiction recovery program.
• Christian Family Care works with adoptive families and provides services that strengthen families and at-risk kids.
• Harvest Compassion is a food pantry.
• Arizona Faith and Family provide respite for foster care families.
Church leaders are aiming to have 500 members volunteering out in the community with various organizations during its “Serve Week,” scheduled for the second week of November.
“I know this sounds like a lot for a church that is only five years old but it is the heartbeat of our church,” Fritz said. “Our goal is to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
The church will also host a “trunk or treat” Halloween celebration with candy and games on Oct. 23.
“We love it when the community sees us as a gift,” Fritz said.