Although our church history may be unusual, surprising and even painful at times - it is truly an amazing story of the grace and mercy and faithfulness of our God! It is part of our testimony, so we believe there is value in sharing it.
Praise City was planted in Laveen, AZ on October 9, 2005 by founding pastors, Doug and Laurie Engquist. Originally from WI, they had previously served for about 11 years as worship pastors in both WI and AZ. Both of their fathers had pastored apostolic churches in WI, so they were also raised with a great Christian heritage.
In 2004 they began to sense that God was leading their family in a new direction when the Lead Pastor of the church they were serving became very ill and passed away. As they began to fast and pray, they felt God pouring the awesome vision of Praise City into their hearts and spirits. Over the next 12 months they continued to pray and seek Godly counsel and write down all that they felt God was speaking to them about the kind of church that He wanted PC to be. The church they were serving prayed over them and publicly blessed them as well.
After many nights of studying and praying over maps of AZ stapled to the walls of their home and countless hours of driving around and praying over multiple cities and communities, they felt God leading them to plant the church in Laveen. The first planning meeting had 16 people and grew to 44 over the next several weeks. This group helped them prepare for the first official service on Oct 9, 2005 with 135 in attendance.
Over the next 10 years, the church grew and was extremely blessed to be able to influence and minister to the community especially through worship and many community outreach opportunities. Their journey included meeting in 2 different schools and purchasing 16 acres in Laveen, before eventually purchasing a building at 24th Street and Baseline in the South Mountain Community.
In 2014 things took an unexpected turn when Pastor Doug took a personal sabbatical that led to him stepping away from ministry altogether and separation from his family. This ultimately resulted in resignation as lead pastor in January 2015 and the marriage also ending in divorce.
During this time Laurie stayed with the congregation and continued to seek the Lord for His wisdom and guidance. Over the next 2 years she began the journey of recovery from divorce and the church from the loss of their pastor. In this season the church came under the umbrella of one of the pastors on their board of overseers and became a campus of that ministry. Although this proved to be a challenging transition, it was also a great blessing in many ways.
As the congregation healed, it became evident that the vision and purpose that God had planted with Praise City was still alive and strong in Pastor Laurie’s heart and the people that had stayed with her through the storm.
So…in January of 2018, with the approval and support of a trusted pastoral council, the church became an independent ministry once again with Laurie serving as the lead pastor.
Praise City is certainly not the cookie cutter church. We don’t have picture perfect leaders or members. But we do know what it’s like to trust in the Lord when life is confusing and disappointing and to stand steady in our faith when all hell breaks loose. We’ve experienced the goodness of God in times of celebration and also in times of great sorrow and loss. We are simply real people serving God in real life.
We do believe that God has uniquely equipped and positioned us to be a place of safety, healing and second chances for those who may be disappointed, disillusioned and disheartened. You may feel unqualified, disqualified, unworthy or unwanted because of circumstances you have faced or choices you have made. We want you to know without a shadow of a doubt that God loves you and we love you! You are valuable, you are loved and you are not alone. There is a place for you in the family of God and there is a place for you at Praise City.
If you connect to our story and what God is doing here, we would love to meet you and invite you to worship with us!
If your life isn’t perfect but you want to know God, grow in your understanding of who He is and His love for you and you are looking for a church family to connect to…Welcome Home!