Recently Joe Soria was invited to consider planting a church in the Phoenix area. After a time of prayer, seeking counsel, and a visit to Phoenix, Joe accepted the call. Along with his wife, Joy, his son, and a team gathered from Phoenix and across the country, Joe aims to minister to the Northwest Valley of Phoenix.

Since last spring, Joe has visited a number of FCA churches, sharing his vision and raising funds to start Arise Church in the Northwest Valley of Phoenix. In late August, Joe, along with his wife and son, packed their belongings and headed west, aiming for a public start of the new church in April, 2018.

Joe and Joy Soria grew up in FCA churches—Joe at Christian Life Church in Mount Prospect, Illinois, and Joy at Rock Church in Rockford, Illinois. They both attended Christian Life College and were married in 1996. They have been in full-time ministry since 1998 with Joe in youth ministry for 16 years before becoming associate pastor at Lighthouse Christian Church in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, in 2014.

Fourteen years ago, Tom Alexander planted Two Rivers Church in Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix has continued to grow at an amazing rate, becoming the sixth largest city in the United States. It is expected to keep growing rapidly. Seeing the needs in the city, the FCA has made Phoenix a target are for planting new churches. In January, Power and Love Church began. In October of 2017, Arise Church will be the third church plant in the Phoenix area.

Arise Church, will guided by a clear vision: to love Jesus, follow Jesus, and share Jesus with our community. They are excited to offer life-giving,Spirit-filled ministry to a city busting at the seams, but also in desperate need of Jesus. Phoenix is the fifth largest religiously unaffiliated city in our country. And out of 100 large cities, Phoenix ranks 92nd in people who profess a biblical worldview—revealing an obvious spiritual need.

The Soria’s initial strategy will be to meet monthly to offer foundational ministry such as energetic worship, solid biblical teaching, and an attractive children’s ministry. They will also start groups led by various members of the launch team with the aim of reaching the community.

“We will be aggressively evangelistic,” Joe says. “We’ll invite neighbors to monthly informal gatherings so we can get to know them—while they hear about our vision and interact with our leadership.” As the team understands more about the people and their needs, they will develop ministries to meet those needs.

“Phase two of our ministries will be birthed out of researching and understanding the needs of our community,” says Joe. “But we already know that the Northwest Valley is attracting young families, young adults, both professionals and students.”

Joe also sees tremendous need for ministry in the inner city of Phoenix and hopes to offer opportunities to care for the underserved communities. “We cannot wait to team up with several inner city ministries such as the Dream Center and Phoenix Inner City Kids,” he says. “We would love to one day raise up leaders to plant a church to help meet the needs of the inner city.”

Joe’s initial goals include finding locations for worship gatherings, meeting with local organizations (such as Phoenix Dream Center and Phoenix Inner City Kids) to discover ways to serve them, developing the Alpha Course for presentation within their apartment complex community room, inviting people to various fellowship gatherings, offering healing and prayer ministries—an important distinctive since most area churches are not Pentecostal, and launching a website.

“When people visualize Phoenix,” Joe says, “they see a desert. But God has taught me to see a harvest field. And we are praying for a team for people who will choose to see Phoenix the same way.”

Joe and Joy have maintained consistent markers in their ministry: relations, discipling, community focused, networking with area pastors and ministries, and leadership development. They look forward to birthing a church with this ministry DNA and see what God does with Arise Church.

To learn more about Arise Church and keep in contact with their journey, find them on Facebook at “” and on Twitter: @arisechurchaz.

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