A Brief History of Mountain Valley Church
by Brian Rigdon
Before 5 Dinkle Road...
Before Edgewood Elementary School...
Before the strip mall in Cedar Crest...
Before a living room Bible study...
In the 1950s, God placed it on the heart of a family to donate a ten-acre parcel of land to house a church. That property on Mountain Valley Road slightly south of Frost Road was donated to the Southern Baptist Convention of New Mexico for the express purpose of building a church in the East Mountains to reach the community for Christ.
Decades later, Sandia Baptist Church sponsored a church-plant missionary, John Free, to plant a church beginning with several Sandia families who lived in the East Mountains. Working with the Southern Baptist Convention, it was decided that this would be the church to be located on the Mountain Valley property. In 1990, beginning in the living room of Glen and Margaret Witt and a lot of door knocking and bulletin board posting, Mountain Valley Church was begun. A second home church coupled with MVC, and within a year, we had outgrown the Witt's house.
A small suite in the Cedar Crest Mall was rented and Mountain Valley was chartered as a Southern Baptist Church. God blessed and the church grew. Before long, Mountain Valley Baptist Church was too large to fit in the small suite, and the rent was raised prohibitively. We needed to move.
During this phase, MVBC tried to build on our property. We faced enormous resistance from the community. After a battle through the Bernalillo County zoning board, we were denied a special use permit for the land. We couldn't build there.
Two locations were identified where we could meet. We were offered a small portion of the San Antonito Elementary School's facility for $200/month and we were offered free use of the gym and library at the Edgewood Elementary School. Believing that God was showing His will, we moved the church to Edgewood Elementary. Sadly this brought MVBC to a dark phase in our history.
Growing in Cedar Crest, we had a large group of members who felt that Edgewood was too far east to be "East Mountains" and too far away to minister to their community. When Pastor John was called to a church in Texas, the strain shattered the church. We had been debating whether to spend our limited resources on hiring a new pastor or renting property again in Cedar Crest. When the committee selected to "redefine" MVBC decided to call Pastor Randy Aly as an interim pastor, MVBC split, leaving only a few families to carry on.
Pastor Randy led our church for a year as we sought God's will. Were we really intended to plant a church or were we being stubborn? Again the Southern Baptist Convention stepped in. There were plenty of churches in the area, but none were effectively reaching the community. The Convention offered to supplement what we could not afford to sufficiently pay a full-time pastor. This was 1997-1999. We also came to the realization that the word "Baptist" in our name was keeping people from visiting our church - and the sign space was limited.
Then, there was the property. One of our church members had been looking at a large lot with an old mobile home right on the corner of Mountain Valley Road and I-40. It was a great location and a large lot. With the approval of the SBC, we sectioned and sold our old property and purchased this lot with money left over to start on a building.
During Pastor Randy's ministry, we began the search for a permanent pastor. Through the resumes, one stood well above the others. Talon Noh, a mission-minded pastor in a small Oklahoma town, felt limited by his position. There was no one left to witness to. God brought him to the mission field that is the East Mountains.
Pastor Talon came in with the vision that we would be a different church. We would be the church for people who didn't want to go to any church. We had to be relevant, genuine, and fresh. Pastor Talon had a vision for evangelism, energetic and modern worship, over-the-top events, and a very welcoming environment to transform Mountain Valley Church. We grew from 12 people at a Christmas service to several hundred. We were finally able to build the church on the land that God had provided.
After 17 years of tireless service, Pastor Talon was called to lead a church in Georgia. The next phase of Mountain Valley Church had begun. After a year of searching, God brought Pastor Chris Promersberger to us. God has been preparing Pastor Chris for this continuing mission.
May God be praised and may salvation come to the East Mountains of Central New Mexico.