Arizona Church Planting: Meet Brian and Barb Snyder
Meet Brian and Barb Snyder. They’re great leaders who are answering God’s call to start a new church in Winslow, AZ. Brian is originally from the middle of Pennsylvania and met his wife Barb in her home city of Cincinnati. They both went to Cincinnati Bible College and since have served together in various ministry roles for as long as they’ve been married — 23 years!They have two beautiful girls: Bailey (17) and Brinlee (13), who help a lot in their ministry in Winslow, AZ. They all love the outdoors (camping, hiking, etc.) and love the rivalry in their home each fall: Barb/Bailey (Ohio State) and Brian/Brinlee(Penn State)! We took some time to interview the Snyders to find out why there’s such a great need for new churches in Arizona.
STADIA: Why did you choose Winslow to plant a church or to partner with planting churches?
BRIAN: I believe Winslow chose me. We have been here seven years and the pain of seeing people walking around in hopelessness really captured our hearts and desire to do as much as we can to show the hope found in Christ Jesus. Through the school, we witness numerous families that do not attend anywhere despite having so many churches in Winslow. When asked, they repeatedly tell us that they have not felt welcomed and the churches had nothing for their kids. We realize that the need is great in this community and that many churches are struggling. Additionally, this community is very racially divided. We hope that through the school and the future church we can begin to build racial reconciliation in this community. We will need to be intentional about this but I believe this multi-cultural focus will be what brings hope back to the Winslow area.
STADIA: What makes Winslow special?
BRIAN: “Standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, what a fine sight to see….” Of course, the nostalgia of route 66 and the Eagles song, “Take it Easy” has made this town appear on the map of many making plans out West. This small town of approximately 10,000 people borders the Navajo Reservation and has a large population of Native Americans. The diversity in this town is very interesting for being so remote in the high desert of Northern Arizona. The town began as an old railroad town and has evolved into a town that struggles with alcohol addictions, homelessness, hopelessness, depression, poverty, abuse, gangs and so much more that you would expect from an inner city of a large metro area. The state prison doesn’t help much as the gang presence flows out of there into our community. Yet, this town continues to try to bring in business and improve the overall presence of a run-down Western town. There is a lot of pride in Winslow, but mostly from the glory days of what once was.
STADIA: How can church planting help Winslow?
BRIAN: Life, hope, a relationship with a God who loves, reconciliation, purpose, and a reason to live. Winslow needs to see that God loves them, expects our best and passionately desires (pursues) us for a relationship with Him. We need a church that brings people together, that disciples people and releases them for more ministry. We need a team that wants to help others passionately serve the people in this community.
STADIA: How has your partnership with Stadia helped fulfill this vision of reaching people in Winslow?
BRIAN: This partnership is just beginning, but already I have had incredible encouragement and support from churches and partners that I didn’t realize were interested in seeing churches planted in this area. I am truly hopeful that we will continue to build a team that will help us launch a church to fulfill the dream and vision God has given to turn this community around: to begin looking to the future of what God is doing, rather than trying to re-live the glory days of the past.
Are you a catalytic leader who is ready to start a great church in AZ? Stadia is looking for planters specifically in the Phoenix area.