Little church has a coming out party
For years Steve Boldin and his father Harold would come from their home in Cottonwood to the Bashas' in Camp Verde to shop.
Harold was the pastor of Clarkdale Baptist Church and Steve served as the associate pastor.
On almost every trip Steve would look off to the north side of State Route 260 between Horseshoe Bend Road and Park Verde Road at a little green and white church building on the side of a small hill.
Each time, Steve says, he felt like he was being called to it.
One day the call become a shout and Steve stopped in to visit.
What he found was a church in decline. In fact there were but three active members of the church and one of them was the lay pastor who was doing the ministering.
New Hope Baptist Church had been around since 1986. Started by members of the First Southern Baptist Church in Camp Verde who believed the town's growth was headed west, it once thrived with an active congregation and its own school.
But 20 years later, when Steve Boldin arrived, those dreams had long passed.
"I know the Lord brought us together," Boldin says,
He and his family soon took up residence in the church's former schoolrooms after taking up the small congregation's offer to come and be their minister.
He set about the mission of rebuilding the church. First he and his family, wife Nidia, sons Samuel and Nate, daughters Josut and Deboroh, went door to door telling the neighbors about their church.
It was a non-traditional approach to growing a church but one that falls in line with his belief that in these times it takes unusual measures to bring people to church. Slowly the congregation began to grow.
In time, Steve, who is fluent in Spanish, began to seek out their Spanish-speaking neighbors and invite them also.
Today the church has a congregation of about two dozen English speakers and another dozen and a half Spanish speakers.
He gives his sermons in both languages, English in the morning and Spanish in the evening.
They have come from the neighborhood as well as from his ministering at the Bread of Life Mission.
To celebrate the new church, the congregation recently decided to change its name to Hillcrest Baptist Church.
On Saturday, Sept. 20, Boldin and the congregation will sponsor their first "Block Party," to invite the entire community to come and see what they have become and what Hillcrest is all about.
The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will include activities for the kids, a petting zoo, free hotdogs, chips, sodas and a special guest.
Mike Chamberlain, former sports anchor for KTVK Channel 3 in Phoenix and a Christian singer and composer, will be there to join Boldin (who is also a songwriter) in a concert of Christian music.
"I believe in teaching from the Bible. I believe in a traditional service. I believe in singing praises.
"And I believe this little church has a place in this community to bring it the word of the Lord," Boldin says. "I encourage everyone to beat the Christmas rush and come to church this Sunday."