Pastor believes in ‘God-sized party’
The Scottsdale Airpark is not only home to thriving businesses but to churches as well. Impact Church, the second-fastest growing church in America, is a thriving, multi-ethnic community of people in the heart of North Scottsdale.
Impact Church began in 1998 when the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals drafted Andre Wadsworth. Who would have thought the NFL would have sparked a new church. Wadsworth was the No. 3 overall draft pick out of Florida State and the highest draft pick ever out of FSU. When he came to Arizona, he had a desire to do more than just play football: he wanted to start a Bible study for his teammates and see them impacted for Christ.
Starting with just a few families in his home, that Bible study has now become Impact Church, averaging 1,500 in attendance and recognized by Outreach magazine as one of the Top 100 Fastest Growing Churches in the country.
Travis Hearn is the senior pastor of Impact with Wadsworth serving as his executive pastor. Before Impact, Hearn and his wife, Natalie, helped start and establish a church in Arizona that grew from zero to 5,000 members in just eight years. Hearn also serves as team chaplain for the Phoenix Suns and for the Oakland A’s Major League Baseball Team during Spring Training.
Impact Church is an exciting place to be on Sunday. The music is rockin’, the teaching is Bible-based, and the kids programs are so fun that kids ask their parents to come back week after week. Impact keeps serving up Krispy Kreme donuts, Butterfinger lattes and a friendly atmosphere.
“This church is so warm and welcoming. You can’t make it through the lobby without several people saying hi to you,” says Erin Hall, a member of Impact since 2011. The energy at Impact is contagious. From cars parked all along 83rd Way to Hayden Road, golf carts rolling through the traffic, and people everywhere who are excited about being at church, you can’t help but feel the excitement.
“We believe church should be fun. In fact, we think it should be a God-sized party!” says Pastor Hearn.
And speaking of music, Impact’s music is out of this world. “One major contributing factor to our growth is providing a unique music style that we call ‘soul rock,’” Hearn says. “I knew I needed to find a singer and musician that could cross cultural lines through the art of music, fusing together different flavors like gospel, rock, soul, R&B and even some hip-hop.”
After searching all over the United States, Hearn finally found Michael Land, a soulful singer who was working as a plumber in Alaska. “The minute we heard Michael sing, we knew he was working with the wrong pipes!” says Hearn.
This exponential growth has not been without its challenges. Impact’s current building, with only 45 parking spots, can’t accommodate the 1,500 people who call Impact Church home. In an effort to expand and make room for more, Impact is purchasing the former car dealership known as Cardinally Way, next to Costco in the Airpark. The 62,000-square-foot architectural plans include a 1,200-seat auditorium, a coffee and smoothie bar, a gymnasium and a Christian bookstore.
“This facility will allow us to maximize our impact in Scottsdale,” says Hearn. “With a food bank and other outreach opportunities included in our plans, we will be a place where people can find hope.”
For more information and updated service times, visit ImpactChurch.com or call 480-926-6752.