Greg and Kimberly Spencer with their children Gabe, Hannah Beth and Alden. Photo submitted.
By Galen Holley
NEW ALBANY – Bro. Greg Spencer is passionate about evangelizing Las Vegas, and after much prayer and discernment, he and his wife, Kimberly have decided to move their family to plant a church where they feel one is needed.
“The community is a new development, called Sky Canyon, in the northwest corner of the city,” said Spencer, who delivered his last sermon as senior pastor at New Albany First Baptist Church on Sunday, and plans to move the first week of July.
“I was listening to church-planters in Chicago, when I felt strongly that the Lord was calling us to this mission,” said Spencer, 40, the father of three—Hannah Beth, 13, Alben, 12, and Gabe, 11.
Spencer has served as senior pastor in New Albany for four years. He earned his degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. Spencer always enjoyed mission work, he said, and throughout his ministry, he helped plant churches from Phoenix to Scotland.
“I was hesitant, at first, but I felt God urging me not to give up on the idea of moving to Las Vegas, and I’m glad I didn’t,” said Spencer.
Since 2014, Spencer and members of First Baptist’s missions team, including his daughter, Hannah Beth, have traveled to Vegas to spread the Gospel.
Sky Canyon is a planned community of about 9,000 homes, with local amenities, like groceries stores and other conveniences, Spencer said.
One type of community establishment is conspicuously absent in Sky Canyon, however, according to Spencer.
According to Spencer, Nevada has about 20,000 people for every one church. Mississippi, on the other hand, rated as the most religious state, with 61 percent of residents identifying as “very religious,” according to a Gallup poll published in Time Magazine in 2014.
Over the past year, Spencer and his wife have worked with the North American Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to thoroughly discern the process and make plans.
It will take about a year to establish a brick-and-mortar site, Spencer said, but he plans to grow the fledgling Christian community organically, perhaps starting in living rooms.
New Albany First Baptist will be served by interim pastors until a search committee calls a new pastor, Spencer said.
“We have greatly enjoyed our time at First Baptist, the people, the community, it’s all been a blessing from God,” said Spencer. “God has given us a great love the city of Las Vegas. We are going there to plant a church and invest our lives.”