Pinnacle Presbyterian has grown immensely in the last 30 years. Click on the sections below to read about the growth and changes we've experienced.

The Founding Years | 1989 – 1993

Faith, Fellowship and the Future. Those were the powerful magnets that drew a group of Pinnacle Peak residents together in October 1989 to form Pinnacle Presbyterian Church. The mostly undeveloped area surrounding the distinctive Pinnacle Peak had been annexed into Scottsdale in 1981/82, and by the late 1980s, there were several master-planned golf communities within a five-mile radius of the landmark. The Grand Canyon Presbytery had the foresight in the early 1980s to purchase a five-acre tract on the northwest corner of Happy Valley and Pima Roads for a future church. With Valley Presbyterian Church Sr. Pastor Tom Erickson’s blessing, Dr. Larry Corbett organized the inaugural Pinnacle worship service at the Glenn Moor Clubhouse on Happy Valley Road in Troon Village.  Twenty-five attended the first service on Sunday, October 1, 1989 -- World Communion Day. On November 9, 1991 Pinnacle was officially chartered by Grand Canyon Presbytery with 109 members. The first meeting of the Pinnacle Session was held in January 1992 and in March Dr. Corbett was installed as Pinnacle’s founding Pastor.

Throughout 1992, momentum built for constructing a permanent Pinnacle campus. In April, the Site Development Committee was formed and by October architect Jim Roberts presented the Master Plan and first phase of the church building program. On April 4, 1993 Pinnacle members attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the chapel built on the original five acres of land that had been purchased by the Grand Canyon Presbytery.

Creating a Campus | 1994 – 1999

Palm Sunday – March 27, 1994 was truly a day to celebrate in the life of Pinnacle as Dr. Corbett invited worshipers into their new chapel, calling out “Alleluia!” With a new 250 seat chapel, classrooms and administrative offices, the church was finally under its own, consolidated roof. Youth activities expanded, and in 1995 Pinnacle Preschool opened, providing a much-needed service to Pinnacle Peak-area families. As one of the only public spaces in the area, Pinnacle’s chapel hosted public meetings and real estate agent events, became a voting site and even provided shelter to residents evacuating during the July 1995 Rio fire. These events also attracted new members and swelled the ranks of the congregation. In 1997 Pinnacle added a Fellowship Hall and Memorial Garden to its campus as well as, a new facility for the Preschool. New mission activities began, associate pastors and staff joined Pinnacle, and a building program launched to provide a sanctuary for a membership that had grown to over 700 by the year 2000.

A Growing Congregation | 2000 – 2005

As the 800-seat Pinnacle Sanctuary rose from the ground, the congregation participated in construction milestones, signing their names and Bible passages to subflooring, wallboard and other structures. Cave Creek artist Sam Terry was commissioned to create a cross for the sanctuary as a work of religious art. After months of work the 40-foot tall cross, made of native desert ironwood, Arizona copper, and polished African walnut stood as if growing from flowing waters of baptism and the pulpit. This work has distinguished Pinnacle in the community since it was unveiled. The same artist designed the stain glass window depicting the Holy Spirit around the cross.

Celebrating Christmas 2001 in the nearly-complete Sanctuary, was particularly poignant, as the nation was still reeling and healing from the terror attacks of September 11. The City of Scottsdale was proud of the new facility as the Sanctuary was the city’s first ‘green church’ under the newly-adopted Green Building Program. The acoustically-significant space also boosted Pinnacle’s music program. The Sanctuary became an important area concert venue, particularly after installation of the Richards, Fowkes & Co. Opus 14 pipe organ in 2005. Beyond the campus, Pinnacle’s mission activities included a trip to Mexico, Habitat for Humanity projects and continued support of Andre House, Heifer International and Vista del Camino programs. 

Expanding Mission & Outreach | 2006 – 2011

With membership over 1100 and hundreds of youth involved in a variety of activities, Pinnacle launched a fifth Capital Campaign to fund additional classrooms, a youth building, a children’s center, mission, more parking and to retire debt. Progress was made toward these goals. Church leaders also established the Pinnacle Presbyterian Foundation in order to ensure and safeguard the long-term financial interests of the church and strengthen the congregation.

In August 2007, the founding Pastor Dr. Larry Corbett retired from Pinnacle and after a thorough national search, Pinnacle called Dr. Wesley Avram as Senior Pastor and Head of Staff. In 2008, Pinnacle’s mission efforts continued to grow as it joined with other churches across the country to support Harmony Ministries in Haiti, the start of a long and rewarding relationship of mission and friendship. The Pinnacle Promise mission initiative was launched in 2010, with special focus on local homelessness issues and support to Haiti, which had been devastated in that very year by a massive earthquake. Pinnacle choirs staged several special events, and in 2011 the Pinnacle Concert Series was recognized by a local newspaper as “Best Concert Series of the Year.”

Strengthening Programs | 2012 - Present

The Pinnacle congregation stepped forward in many ways to serve their church, each other and the community at large. During these years, ongoing service through disaster relief work trips, Habitat for Humanity, and Andre House volunteering was expanded. In 2012 the Pinnacle Promise Homelessness Initiative expanded programming to include participation in Open Table mentoring groups and support to MANA House in Phoenix serving veterans. In 2012 the Pinnacle Promise Homelessness Initiative produced a documentary film, The Road Back Home, that addressed the problems of homelessness in Maricopa County, Arizona. The film premiered on May 17 at a Harkins Theater and was shown twice on local television.

A four-week Tending the Promise Campaign launched in January 2013 aimed at raising $2.750 million over three years. Funds raised would first retire the mortgage on the Sanctuary, and, second, provide funding for expanded parking and to upgrade the Fellowship Hall kitchen. By the end of 2015 the mortgage debt had been reduced by more than $2 million. In October 2015 Pinnacle celebrated its 25th Anniversary with a series of events, including a Founders Dinner, mission projects, a gift registry that offered members and friends a variety of opportunities to give a special gift in celebration of the anniversary. On Sunday, October 25, the entire congregation celebrated as founding members lead the procession into worship and founding pastor Dr. Larry Corbett was invited back to preach once again and the celebration continued with a luncheon following the service.