9:30 AM & 5:30 PM
Note: AM & PM services feature different songs and sermons.
Note: Sunday School breaks over summer.
We're located centrally in the Biltmore area, on the corner of Missouri St. and 20th St., just north of Camelback and 51.
What to expect
Before coming, ask God to bless your desire to worship with his people. We're praying, too, that you are nourished and challenged to grow.
The Bible emphasizes humility and modesty over formalism or status (Jas 2:2-4; 1 Tim 2:8-10). Our members come in everything from suits to shorts, dresses and denim. Dress however you like, provided you aren't trying to draw attention from Christ to your body, image, or wealth.
To minimize stress, we recommend your arriving a couple minutes early the first time, especially if you have children. Greeters at the door will give you a bulletin to follow along with the service.
Childcare is available in the Nursery for infants and toddlers. Nursing mothers sometimes make use of the church library during services, since sermon audio is piped in. Visitors may be surprised, however, that children above age 3 ordinarily worship with parents here. This reflects our high view of the Christ's church as including not only professing adults, but their children in his covenant. We delight to see little ones sharing in worship!
Ushers are available to help seat you, but feel free to help yourself. Coming with more than four people? Try to come ten minutes early so that you don't have to worry about finding a large area to sit together.
What is the Service like?
Phoenix URC is admittedly “unadorned” in its style. You'll notice the roaming lights, guitars, drums—we're pretty much unplugged. What you will find is earnest spirits, open interaction, and a devotion to historic hymns, psalms, and Christ-centered preaching. Our desire is to maintain gospel-centered simplicity in worship as a way of glorifying God.
“...biblically saturated, theologically substantive, and personally formative...”
We follow a simple biblical order of worship: singing, corporate confession, prayer, offerings, preaching and a celebration of the sacraments. Throughout, we focus on Jesus and our life in him.
We aim to represent a tradition of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that are biblically faithful, spiritually deep, emotionally rounded and beautiful.
We collect gifts on behalf of ministries, missions, and charity (Ezra 2:68; 2 Cor 6:7). Visitors are under no obligation or expectation to give. We encourage you to “pray and pass the plate” until you know us better.
Christ calls us to love God with “all your heart, mind, and strength.” Our Pastors therefore strive to preach sermons that are biblically saturated, theologically substantive, and personally formative. Also, having two pastors who share the pulpit means more balance and broader varieties of style and life experience.
After the Service...
Formal worship transitions into informal, spontaneous interaction with each other. Our desire is also to connect with visitors who may be with us for the first time.
Refreshments are served after AM service on the Side Patio or in the Fellowship Hall. Just follow the crowds. This is a good time to meet people and receive prayer.
Sunday School (11:00-11:45 AM)
We offer a variety of classes for adults and children from 11:00-11:45 AM (except during Summer).
Most Sundays, a different family hosts lunch after church. Visitors are encouraged to join for that. It's a great way to get to know us and enjoy some good food. Ask a Greeter for details!
A more comprehensive expression of our core beliefs can be found in Our Foundation.
Basically, we are a Christian church belonging to the Reformed branch of Protestant tradition. Among other things, that means we affirm human beings are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, ultimately for God's glory (but also our joy!). Moreover, we hold Scripture to be the supreme authority over matters of faith and godliness.
We are further united by ancient documents which confess our understanding of essential biblical teachings (i.e, the Trinity, Christ's bodily death and resurrection, and the inerrancy of Scripture). Relative to some churches we are doctrinally conservative, but we are warmly welcoming of anyone wishing to learn of Jesus and experience his love.
Every Christian is called to be not only a hearer, but a doer of God's Word—to be a disciple of Christ. We are therefore devoted to growth, godliness, and good works. Our leaders and members practice mutual accountability and strive for personal holiness (Eph 5:21).
As members of Jesus' spiritual Body, we each have a living role to play in God's ministry and mission (Eph 4:12-16).
We are covenantal. Practically, this means we highly value the presence of children in worship, not simply as observers but as Christ's disciples who are being nurtured in the faith.
We are kingdom-oriented in our worldview, seeking to translate our Christian convictions into every sphere of life while maintaining our distinction from the world (1 Tim 6:13-16; Romans 12:22).
Phoenix URC was launched in 1996 with a small group of families and individuals who shared a common desire to see a vigorous gospel-centered church planted in Phoenix. Admittedly, its formation began in response to disturbing theological trends in the federation to which it once belonged. Wanting to secure a theological and spiritual future for ourselves, we set about exploring our options.
Initially, Phoenix United was an independent church. During this initial stage of independency a new federation of like-minded Reformed churches called the United Reformed Churches of North America (URCNA) began. Believing that the Bible teaches mutual encouragement and accountability, we joined the URCNA within a few years of our inception. Our affiliation with this federation has been an great blessing to us.
Since our humble beginning, we have seen God's hand clearly at work. God has blessed us with the addition of individuals and families, wonderful relationships, fulfilling worship, substantive teaching, mission consciousness, and an expectation that He has yet to do more than what could ever ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20). To God be the glory!
Mission is at the center of what PURC is all about. After all, if God is a missionary God, we ought to be a missionary people. We believe that every church ought to be devoted to bringing the gospel to the world (Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-48; John 20:21; Acts 1:8). This gets at the heart of her God-ordained calling to be a light to the nations (Matthew 5:13-16, I Peter 2:9,10).
We believe mission occurs in many ways. It occurs through the preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:17), God-centered and evangelistic worship (I Corinthians 14:25), prayer (Colossians 4:2-4), informal conversation (Colossians 4:5,6, I Peter 3:15), deeds of love (Acts 2:42-47, 4:32-35), caring for the poor (Deuteronomy 14:28,29), Through these and other ways we bear witness to God’s grace and Christ’s kingdom rule in our lives.
Basic Principles of Church Government
Christ our King governs the Church by his Holy Spirit, according to the Word. Moreover, he does so through a system of ordained order involving three offices: pastors, elders, and deacons. As well, we belong to a federation of churches for mutual advice, accountability, and partnering in mission.
Roles & Requirements of Church Officers
Roles — The duties belonging to the office of elder consist of continuing in prayer and ruling the church of Christ according to the principles taught in Scripture, in order that purity of doctrine and holiness of life may be practiced. They shall see to it that their fellow-elders, the minister(s) and the deacons faithfully discharge their offices. They are to maintain the purity of the Word and Sacraments, assist in catechizing the youth, promote God-centered schooling, visit the members of the congregation according to their needs, engage in family visiting, exercise discipline in the congregation, actively promote the work of evangelism and missions, and ensure that everything is done decently and in good order.
Requirements — The qualifications of the elders are found in 1 Timothy 3:1–7: “Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”
The apostle Paul repeats these qualifications in his letter to Titus. “An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:6–9).
PURC ELDER FACTS
We currently have six lay elders.
Their combined experience in office is over 100 years.
- Rev. Phil Grotenhuis
(M.Div, Mid-America Reformed Seminary, 1987)
- Rev. Michael Spotts
(M.Div., Westminster Seminary in California, 2016)
Roles — Pastors are equal in authority with other elders, but shoulder the vocational burdens of ministry. Their duties consist of continuing in prayer and in the ministry of the Word, administering the sacraments, catechizing the youth, and assisting the elders in the shepherding and discipline of the congregation. They also evangelize, disciple, and counsel.
Requirements — As Elders, Pastors must possess the same character attributes as ruling elders described in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9. Additionally, prior to ordination, the URCNA requires candidates to pass an extensive public examination that shows their competence in biblical languages, homiletics, theology, history, counseling, and other areas.
PURC PASTOR FACTS
Rev. Grotenhuis has pastored for over 25 years, including eight at Phoenix URC.
Before taking his call, Rev. Spotts participated in foreign missions and worked in commercial photography.
Roles — The duties belonging to the office of deacon consist of continuing in prayer and supervising the works of Christian mercy among the congregation; acquainting themselves with congregational needs; exhorting members of the congregation to show mercy; gathering and managing the offerings of God's people in Christ's name, and distributing these offerings according to need; and encouraging and comforting with the Word of God those who receive the gifts of Christ's mercy. Needs of those outside the congregation, especially of other believers, should also be considered as resources permit. The deacons shall ordinarily meet every month to transact the business pertaining to their office, and they shall render an account of their work to the Consistory
Requirements — The qualifications of a deacon are comparable to those of a elders and pastors. In 1 Tim 3:8-13, the Apostle writes, “Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”
PURC DEACON FACTS
We currently have six lay elders assisting two ordained pastors.
Their combined experience in office is over 100 years.
Broader Federations & Associations
The “united” in our name refers to our close relationship with more than 120 other congregations who compose the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA). These churches participate in regional assemblies (called Classis and Synod) which assist and advise one another in cases of discipline, as well as examining candidates for pastoral ministry.
Unlike hierarchical denominations, the federated churches of the URCNA do not have direct power to depose officers or discipline individuals outside their own local congregations. Likewise, temporal assets belong to local memberships, not to a denominational trust.
The URCNA participates in the North American and Presbyterian Reformed Churches.
Learn more about this.
Meet our Pastors
Rev. Phil Grotenhuis
Phil hails from the Midwest. He was born in Iowa and was reared in a Christian home. His “bio” is a testimony to covenant succession. His grandfather was a minister in the Reformed tradition (Protestant Reformed Churches). His father was a college professor at a Reformed Christian college (Dordt College). Phil was provided a Christian education in Reformed schools and eventually graduated from Dordt College and Mid-America Reformed Seminary.
Phil met his wife Joy at Dordt. Joy majored in piano and vocal performance and has been involved in multiple children’s choirs. Joy also had the privilege of growing up within the Reformed tradition. Her father pastored in the Reformed Church in the U.S. Joy and Phil married in 1986 and have four children: Erin, Jonathan, Aria, and Brielle. Prior to seminary, Phil and Joy served on the mission field in Montreal, Quebec. Following seminary, they have served in Toronto, Ontario and Lynden, Washington. They were also involved in church planting in Springfield, Missouri before coming to Phoenix.
Phil loves Jesus, Reformed theology, air-conditioning, and is an admitted Starbucks junkie. Joy also loves Jesus, theology, coffee and Bach. They readily admit that God is profoundly good and thank Him for using them in the ministry. They and their family look forward to serving the Phoenix United Reformed Church and are excited about the possibilities of proclaiming Christ and His Lordship in one of the major metropolitan areas of the United States.
Contact Rev. Grotenhuis
Rev. Michael Spotts
Michael discovered Christ through a radio ministry at age ten. Soon, his parents began taking the family to church and grew in faith.
For ten years prior to his pastoral call, Michael was a commercial photographer. He earned degrees in biblical and theological studies (M.Div, WSCAL), serving as a foreign missionary and at several churches before coming to Phoenix URC.
He and his wife, Ashley, find joy in gathering people into loving and thoughtful communities. They camp whenever possible and like cooking and woodworking. But nothing gives Michael greater joy than preaching Christ and preparing the next generation of disciples.
Contact Rev. Spotts
What is a Reformed Church?
The word "Reformed" can be confusing because its meaning is somewhat "buried" in the past. The word Reformed simply points to Phoenix URC's identity rooted in a 16th century church renewal movement known as the Reformation. The Reformation was essentially a "back to Bible" movement designed to bring doctrinal and moral renewal to a compromised church. Essential features of a modern Reformed perspective are: Christ-centered thinking and living (Colossians 1:15-20; 2:6,7), a Biblically informed worldview (2 Timothy 3:16), an emphasis on God's sovereignty (Isaiah 40:1-31; Psalm 115:1-3), doctrinal integrity (Hebrews 5:11-6:2), historic consciousness (Psalm 78:1-72), and missional orientation (John 20:21). All serve the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Why are children included in the worship service?
The decision to include children in our worship services was an intentional one. Corporate worship today is often characterized by a form of age-segregation where children and adults worship separately. We understand the pragmatic impulse behind this practice. However, we believe that the Bible presents us with a different dynamic: namely, corporate worship where both children and adults pray, sing, listen, understand, and give voice to God's grace and goodness in their lives (Deuteronomy 31:12, Ezra 10:1; Nehemiah 8:2). We have found this integrative practice to be a great blessing to us. We hope you do too!
How do I get connected to the community at Phoenix URC?
God has created His people for fellowship (Acts 2:42-48; 4:32-35; Ephesians 2:19-22) and so connecting is an integral component of Phoenix URC's ministry. Sundays are the best place to begin. Relationships are formed and deepened before, during, and after worship. Post-worship classes also provide an opportunity for relationship-building as well as informal contacts throughout the week. If you are interested in connecting with others in the context of service, check out the "Get Involved" section of our website.
How do people give to Phoenix United? Why and where does the money go?
Giving is an important component of Christian living. Giving comes in the form of spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-6; Ephesians 4:7) and material offerings (Malachi 3:10; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8). Opportunities abound at PURC for both. As to monetary offerings, PURC supports a number of carefully designated causes including such things as local benevolence and budgetary needs, home and foreign missions, Christian education, disaster relief, and other causes. PURC's deacons as managers of spiritual and material resources (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:8-13) ensure that all monies given are accounted for and distributed properly.
Why do you have creeds, catechisms, and confessions?
Creeds, catechisms, and confessions (three c's) have been a rich blessing to Protestant churches for many years. Over 60 of them were written during the 1560's alone. The purpose of the three c's is to systematically teach (Luke 1:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:16), protect (2 Peter 3:17), and defend (Jude 3) the Christian faith. They also articulate warmly and faithfully the distinctives of the Christian faith and thus they are a useful tool in discipling new believers (Matthew 28:19,20). We believe that while the three c's do not possess the same authority as the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 2:19-21), they are useful as faithful summaries of what the Bible teaches.
Why become a member of a church?
Church membership is an important component of Christian discipleship. Jesus said, "Whoever would come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me." (Matthew 16:24). The Bible teaches us that to follow Christ requires that we join ourselves to His church (Hebrews 10:22-25; Acts 2:47). Membership is the means whereby we formally commit ourselves to the local expression of Christ's church much like formal vows commit husbands and wives to each other. Church membership brings with it the fruits of joy, fellowship, service, pastoral oversight, and accountability in the local church. Church membership has been a great blessing to us. If you want to know the process for becoming a member at PURC, see any Elder, Rev. Grotenhuis, or contact us.
Our Pastors would like to pray for and get to know you. Please fill this form out before, during, or after your visit. we look forward to getting in touch!
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