Originally Published: June 24, 2017 6:03 a.m.
With attendance climbing, Canyon Bible Church of Prescott has added Will Peterson to its pastoral staff, placing him in charge of Student Ministries and Counseling at the church. He joins four other pastors/elders at the 2-year-old church, which currently meets at 9 a.m. at Prescott High School every Sunday.
Peterson, 34, says his biggest goal in the near future is getting acquainted with the students he will work with, and becoming a regular part of their lives. “The greatest need these kids have is universal – a saving faith in Jesus Christ, and understanding how that relationship impacts every part of their lives.” He continued, “I want to help them make good choices early in life so that they don’t have to face the consequences of poor decisions later on.”
Peterson has a strong background working with students. For the past two years he served as youth pastor at Canyon Bible Church of Prescott Valley, a local sister church. In addition to his pastoral work, he directed a large summer Bible Camp in California — Camp Regen. He is taking about a dozen local students to the acclaimed camp in July. It is hosted by noted pastor John MacArthur’s church and serves about 850 high school students each year. Currently, the Student Ministries serves students from 6th–12th grade, meeting from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Wednesday nights in Prescott. Peterson’s wife, Katie, joins him in the ministry, as well as five other adult leaders who are excited to work with young people. “Katie keeps me grounded and encouraged. She’s a voice of wisdom and reason when I need it – and she makes my life immensely fun!” Katie is a Physician Assistant at a family practice clinic in Prescott Valley.
Joining the staff at Canyon Bible Church is a natural fit for Peterson. While attending The Masters Seminary in Sun Valley, California, he served alongside Canyon pastors Andrew Gutierrez and Jason Drumm in the high school department at Grace Community Church. The three men already have a solid friendship and look forward to serving together. “We have a great first impression of the church,” Peterson said. “It’s a loving, welcoming environment where the people want to put the Lord on display for all the world to see.”
Gutierrez is excited to have Peterson on board at the young church. “Our philosophy of youth ministry is that we want students to understand the person and work of Jesus Christ first, so that they grow to be more like Him,” he said. “This type of work is literally why Will Peterson is on the planet and it’s literally why we exist as a church in Prescott. The fit is obvious!”
“Will is a U.S. Military Veteran. He served our country faithfully in the past and he brings that same sacrificial service to his pastoral ministry role at Canyon,” adds Gutierrez. “We believe that pastors, like our Lord, are first and foremost servants, and Will embodies this. He and Katie will improve the lives of anyone they’re around.”
Born in Texas, Peterson moved to Indiana as a child. He served in the U.S. Army as an infantryman from 2002-06, and he was deployed to Iraq twice. Upon his return, he attended Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry in 2011, followed by a Master of Divinity degree from The Masters Seminary in 2015. He and Katie have been married seven years. The couple is excited to be pursuing adoption through the foster care system, noting the great need in our community for this type of care.
While waiting to outfit its new building, the non-denominational, Bible teaching church currently meets at 9 a.m. at Prescott High School, 1050 Ruth St. This summer, Canyon has a nursery and children’s program for infants through third grade on Sunday mornings. Small groups, a college and career ministry, student ministries, and men’s and women’s Bible studies are conducted throughout the week at different times during the year.
For more information, please call the church office, 928-277-0017, or check the website, canyonprescott.org.