Sunrise Bible Church History

 

Sunrise Bible Church started as a mission of Nellis Baptist Church on June 30, 1957.   At that time, a survey was taken of the area and it was determined that approximately 4000 people lived in the section “where the church property is now located”.  The survey showed that there was only one other church group attempting to serve the spiritual needs of all these people.

Sunrise Baptist Church was constituted and became affiliated with the Arizona Baptist Association, and the Southern Baptist Convention on April 13, 1958, with a charter membership of 36 people in a carpenter shop, an abandoned building without lights, water or sewer or other facilities on the corner of Nellis and Meikle.  Organizational council members were Troy Brooks, Robert Smith, Wayne White, H. Merritt, Virgil Reeves, and E. W. Hunke Jr. Other program participants were MSgt Virgil Clubb, who became the first mission pastor of the church, R. Loden, and Eugene Mockerman.

During the summer of 1958 the church met in a store front in Nellis Plaza. On August 30, 1959, the church purchased the property on the corner of Betty and Kell.  There was an existing building measuring 16 by 32 foot that was used as a church for the next two years.  The building was in a serious state of disrepair but the capacity of the structure was 85 worshipers, and at times benches were placed outside the front doors to accommodate the overflow.  The church bid $1.02 for the Little Theater building in Boulder City and the government accepted the offer.  The structure was dismantled and transported the 25 miles to this building site, where they completed their first unit in 1962.  The church purchased an additional 3 parcels of oproperty by paying the past due taxes for a total of 6 acres.  The Home Mission Board funded $20,000.00 toward the church to help pay the pastor and to build buildings. 

In the beginning Sunday School classes met in huge packing crates borrowed from Nellis.  When the weather permitted they simply met outside and in cars and the house across the street. On one occasion when Billy Graham was in the nearby area in 1960 he came to the church property and prayed for the church growth. There was no formal meeting or anything, he just came and a few people met with him and waded out in the mud and prayed for the church.

Sunrise was started by military people from Nellis, and has always ministered to folks from Nellis.  The size of the church has been directly affected by military groups being assigned to or away from Nellis and on several occasions the church has doubled or been halved in size due to these impacts.  There was a time when one of the Chaplains from Nellis joined the church.

The first sanctuary, a one room building, was completed in 1960.  The educational building, that which is now our fellowship hall and the children’s wing, was completed in 1965.  The third unit the current Worship center was started in the late 1970s, and was completed in 1985 and dedicated on September 22, 1985.

In 1998 a major improvement project was started involving the completion of the offsite requirements, (curbs and gutters) paving the parking lots, desert landscaping, and a major exterior reconditioning, designed to make all the buildings look alike.   Many interior improvements were also made and the parsonage was turned into an administrative building housing all the church offices and support equipment.

The church has always had a strong emphasis on missions.  They had 5 Missions going at one time.  Sunrise Baptist Church was responsible for starting Spring Mountain Youth Camp (1962), Desert Hills Baptist Church (1962), Central Baptist Mission, East Las Vegas Mission (64-65 No longer in existence) and Sunnyside Baptist Mission (1978).  Then in 80-81 Sunrise provided aid to Community College Baptist Church and in 1994 Sunrise Baptist Church called Rev. Russell Daines to be pastor of what would be called El Camino Baptist Church. 

Over the years, the following men have served as pastors; MSgt Virgil Clubb (Mission Pastor 57/58), Eugene M. Mockerman (58-64), Dr. E. L. Pennington (64-66), Everett Moore (66-70), Don Oliver (70-71), Stanley Unruh (72- 87), Miguel Rodrigues (87-90), Dr. William D. Potts (90-2007), James Griffitts (2008 – 2010), and Billy Crone (2011-present).

Now we have completely renovated the church and church offices. In July 2017, the church body made the decision to be independent of the Baptist Convention and changed our name to Sunrise Bible Church.

We are reaching over 218 different countries spreading the Word over radio, TV, and the internet.