Valley Evangelical Free Church is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
It began with just three couples. Now, it boasts a membership 3,500 strong, says Lead Pastor Quintin Stieff.
The first 10 years, they met at Westridge Elementary in West Des Moines. That, Stieff says, set the tone for the relationship Valley Church would have with the community.
“We just saw how the church and community could work together in positive ways to make an impact in Des Moines,” he says. “One of the unique things about Valley is we’ve had the privilege to have a unique and positive connection with the community. We’ve always tried to do good for our community.”
Valley Church loves its community. In fact, that’s one of its core values. They’ve led many initiatives, helping the underserved and being generous, says Stieff.
About five years ago, they wanted to do even more to serve the people of the Des Moines area. The “Love You Des Moines” movement was born.
“Project: Impact” is one of the programs. Every month focuses on meeting a specific need in the community.
There’s also the “Garage No Sale.” People of the church donate gently used items which are made available for free to clients of many social service agencies and Christian ministries, Stieff explains. Last year, for the first time, they had locations on the east and southside of Des Moines.
The “Great Pumpkin Party” has been held since about 2000. The free, three-night event features inflatables, music, games, food and more.
Its inaugural year, the first night was open specifically for families with special needs. About 70 people attended; the next year, there were 700. Through “Love You Des Moines,” Valley Church has worked even harder to reach those with disabilities, Stieff says.
A major initiative was the Valley Community Center, which opened in 2013. The 29,000-square-foot facility sits on a 35-acre campus, and features a cafe, event hall, children’s play area, meeting spaces and more.
“It is about doing good for the community…with the community,” the church says.
“Loving and serving people is such a powerful language to speak to people in,” Stieff says. “We feel like we want to be the best possible neighbors.”
Valley Evangelical Free Church
4343 Fuller Road226-9973
Saturday 5:30 p.m.
Sunday 8:15, 9:30 and 11 a.m.