Episode 004 Scott Savage Transcript
On Christmas Eve last year, which is a big day for a pastor. So I get done with church, and I go out to my car, and I realize that my wife and I have traded cars. And she didn’t leave me the keys to that car. So it’s like, I don’t know, 9:30pm on Christmas Eve. It’s cold. And I can’t get in my car. And I’m the only one at the venue our church meets in.
I’m Conrad Walton, and this is Finding Prescott moving stories from people who decided to make Prescott Arizona, their hometown.
This week, I’m going to talk to Scott Savage. He’s the pastor of a local church. He’s also a writer, and he’s also a teacher. He’s not going to promote himself, so I’m going to do it for him. He’s got two websites. One is ScottSavagelive.com. The other is Freetoforgivecourse.com. At second one, if you’re having trouble forgiving somebody in your life, you might want to check that out. It’s not what you would expect from a pastor. If I tell you “pastor of a church”, you think of a little old gray haired man that always wears a suit and tie everywhere he goes. And that is not Scott. I enjoy listening to Scott. He’s very insightful. He’s a great teacher. I always get interesting new insights every time I listen to him. So with that, this is Scott Savage.
So my name is Scott Savage. I was born and raised in Las Vegas. I moved to Phoenix and we live in Phoenix for 14 years, and I’ve lived in the Prescott area for four years. I am a pastor of a local church. I am also a writer. I’m married. I’ve been married for almost 12 years, and we are the parents of three kids and eight year old and five year old twins.
And what church are you a pastor of?
So I’m the lead pastor of Cornerstone Church. We meet at the Performing Arts Center at Yavapai College.
But how did you become aware of Prescott?
I remember hearing about Prescott growing up. We had some people that we were friends with that either had a cabin here or vacationed here. And so I remember hearing about them coming down here when we lived in Las Vegas. When I moved to Phoenix, the college I was attending, so we did like a fall retreat in Prescott. So that was kind of my first introduction to Prescott, was at one of the camps in the area and loved, loved it. Had a great time. We came back a couple different times when I was in college. And then when I was out of college, my first job was at a church in Phoenix and we did three events a year at a camp up in Prescott.
So by the time I moved to Prescott four years ago, I probably done 20 to 30 events up here.
And what made you decide to come here? What was that journey like?
Well, so I had been on staff at a large church in Central Phoenix for about 10 years and kind of came to the place where I realized that I hit a glass ceiling. Literally the same week that I realized, okay, this is a glass ceiling, I’m not going to be able to break it, there was a church here in Prescott that was looking for a new pastor and we had mutual friends. And so our mutual friends connected us.
My wife is from a small town she grew up in between Buffalo, New York, and Niagara Falls in a village of 2000 people. So she was, she was used to small town. I grew up in Las Vegas, moved to Phoenix, so I was not used to smaller town life. So it was a, it was definitely a shorter learning curve for her than me. But we were ready for something new. And we thought maybe this was a good opportunity for our family.
So what did you find when you got here? How was that transition?
It was pretty gnarly. I’ll be honest. I mean, it took me a while to get used to. There was a different pace. There was definitely a different cultural dynamic. There are certain things that were accessible and available to me in Phoenix that weren’t in Prescott and I lived in Phoenix for almost 15 years. So I had just a massive community of both friends and acquaintances. And so kind of starting over from scratch, all of those led to a pretty challenging transition. If I’m totally honest, the first experience of anxiety and maybe even panic attacks happened in that transition. So it was a pretty, it was a pretty intense season, when we move that summer. And I would say it took a while for me to feel really settled here.
Do you feel settled now? Are you glad you moved?
Yeah, even in the midst of all those emotions, I knew made the right decision. It was just the adjustment period. And so I would say we feel settled. You know, I tell people I didn’t see this move coming. So you know, I’m not going to tell you that I’m a lifer yet, but you know, we, we have no intentions of moving anytime soon. And we’ve enjoyed our time here.
How would you describe pros and cons of living in Prescott?
I think that there is a lot of benefits to living in Prescott, when it comes to climate, we have some of the cleanest air in the country and my wife and my daughter have asthma. So moving from Phoenix, which is, at time, some of the worst air in the country, it’s a really healthy place to live. I think there’s awesome opportunities to be healthy while you’re here. Physical exercise. Pace of life. Four seasons, and I think some awesome community opportunities that I think you can pursue a pretty healthy life in Prescott.
But there are some downsides. There are things that are accessible in a city like Phoenix that aren’t in Prescott where you have to go to Phoenix for it. We’ve got an airport and it’s making progress, but it’s definitely not the full airport kind of experience you would see in a big city. And I think one of the harder parts of Prescott is that it’s fairly uni-racial. Over 90% of our population is white. And so for somebody who was coming from a city that was massively Hispanic and living in a part of the city that was really diverse and multicultural, that’s not a huge part of who Prescott is.
What’s surprized you the most when you got here that you didn’t expect.
I think it was my experience of growing up in Las Vegas and then being in an area of Phoenix where there was a lot of students and young people, where hours were open really long, that like I would drive around after 9pm and it felt like everything really shut down. So like that kind of vibrant nightlife just wasn’t present. And so that was such a little bit a little get used to. I’m not going to say a bad thing. It was just different than what I was used to.
Yeah, Prescott’s not a town for hipsters. What was the home buying process like?
We’re unique in the fact that I think a lot of people who move to Prescott, they’re, they’ve been plotting this move for a while. And for us, it was not that. We were living in an apartment in central Phoenix. So the idea of going to Prescott was new and then once we got here, we realized that there wasn’t a lot of volume on the rental market and it was really high even for us living in central Phoenix. So we knew we would have to go with the house buying route.
You know, we were really challenged by the fact that the housing market in Prescott was higher than we could afford for the most part. So we started looking at kind of ancillary communities like Prescott Valley, Chino Valley, we ended up purchasing a house in Chino Valley. The church introduced us to a realtor. We went on Zillow. My wife did I think she looked through several hundred listings by the time she brought the list to me, I think it was like 110 houses. So we sat down over a cup of coffee one night, and we went from 110 houses on Zillow to like 25 and then by the time we got up here like 10 days later for our day with our realtor, we had nine houses. To move between nine houses between Prescott, Prescott Valley, and Chino in about five and a half hours. It was a, it was, it was wild.
My wife pretty quickly knew in each house, like yes, no, yes, no. And so he walked in this house in Chino Valley that I’m in right now, immediately had a huge kitchen here, countertops. My wife loves to can and make bread. And so the kitchen sold her. There was already built garden area and flower beds in the backyard. And so she grew up with her family doing a lot of gardening, fruits, vegetables, spices, flowers. And so I think our realtor said that she knew within about 90 seconds that we were going to put an offer on this house. So, it’d been on the market for like, less than 48 hours, and so we put an offer in, there was another offer, but they took ours. I think we closed escrow, like in 25 days. It was a really, really fast process. So yeah, it was it was kind of wild and crazy, but we’re glad we’re here.
So what was the move like?
The church that hired me, they had budgeted, thinking to move somebody across the country, so moving somebody from Phoenix was a lot cheaper than moving somebody from like North Carolina. They ended up paying for movers to come and move our stuff out of our apartment and into our new house. We did all the boxing but they came in one day, just load it all up in a truck, which was great because we were second second floor apartment. And we moved a piano in there. And I was like, I’m not moving that sucker out. They unloaded it all into our garage. I think we had two cars in the garage within a week.
So what do you miss about where you used to live?
There were some some walkable features to the neighborhood we lived in. There were coffee shops we could walk to. There were restaurants we could walk to. My wife rode the light rail, so she could walk to and from the light rail. So being a pastor, and my wife being a public servant, we don’t make enough to live in those areas of Prescott where things are really walkable and just some of the diversity, you know, that you can get. So we do, we do enjoy going to Phoenix and going “ah!” I walk into a restaurant and I’m the minority. When you’re always in the majority everywhere you are, I think there’s some downsides to that.
And how would you describe your neighborhood in Chino?
Our neighborhood was built in ’05, so they hadn’t finished the development when the market fell out the first time. And so I remember driving through it going, okay, it’s obvious where the pads stopped a year, a year and a half into being here, a kind of a boom happened. And so they started building houses like crazy and really finished the development. Our neighbors across the street have kids the exact same age as ours. Neighbor next door has kids that are older, elementary, middle school, and high school. And then there’s a family across the street that’s got two toddlers. So there’s definitely some young families in our neighborhood. But then there’s some people who are you know, I would say early retirees or half timers, and then there are some retirees, so it’s a fairly, in terms of age, diverse area. We’re one of the only, what you would call like suburban tract home areas in Chino. So it’s a fun, diverse area. It is quiet, and that’s nice. It’s been a good area to live.
If somebody lives somewhere else, doesn’t really know that much about Prescott, What advice would you give them about moving here?
You know, there are a surprising number of awesome Airbnbs. And so I would encourage people that if you’re thinking about coming to Prescott, go the Airbnb route, because you’ll actually be in a neighborhood. So if you come here visit, typically, you know, you’re gonna stay in a hotel, or maybe a bed and breakfast. But if you stay in an Airbnb you’ll actually be in a neighborhood where you are going to see real life.
The thing about Prescott is that people are generally pretty friendly. So if you go down on the square, and you sit outside of Franny’s, and you had an ice cream, or you go get a coffee and sit outside of Wild Iris and you talk to people who live here, they’re gonna be straight with you and tell you about their experience. And I know there’s some cities that have reputation for being abrasive and people are standoffish, but people around Prescott are pretty talkative.
And because of the pace of life, people often have no problem just sitting down and chewing the fat with you and swapping stories. And so I think if you stayed in AirBnB, you came down to the square, walk around, talk to people in local local restaurants that are, you know, locally owned, I think you’d get a fairly straightforward experience of of what life might be like here for you.
I also think it’s really important to talk to people who are in your age group and in your life stage. Because Prescott experience is different based upon what you’re looking for. And I try to remind people a lot that we don’t see the world as the world is, we see we see the world as we are. And so I see Prescott through the lens of a 35 year old who lives in Phoenix and Las Vegas, which is different than somebody who is 55 or 60, and who’s moving from Southern California, and so just make sure you’re talking to somebody who’s actually coming from where you came from, or who’s looking for what you’re looking for, because their advice is going to be most helpful.
That’s really good advice. How would you describe the culture you’re talking about talking to people? How would you describe the culture in Prescott?
It’s not diverse. I mean, if you’re the kind of person who does not like being, if you’re white, and you don’t like being in the majority when you walk in a coffee shop or a restaurant, like this is probably not the place to live. It is politically conservative. And so if you are extremely politically liberal or if you have a hard time being around people who don’t share the same political views, you can make that determination for yourself.
Arizona is one of the highest states in the country for gun ownership. One of my friends jokes that there are a lot more guns than people in Yavapai County, which is where Prescott is. So if you’re not super high on guns, I’m not sure this is necessarily the best and wisest move for you.
As a pastor in Phoenix. I was used to my summer being like dead months, it’s 115. But in Prescott, as a pastor, our lowest attendance is in October because of two things. One fall break is huge in Prescott because people use it to get away for two weekends and hunting opens October 1. And so people are outside, scouting, they’re out hunting. And so that’s a huge part of culture here. I definitely think that there are certain things you just need to be aware of when you consider moving here that are just a part of life here. You can still find your way if those aren’t your values. So I’d be honest about that.
The other thing that’s awesome about Prescott as part of our culture is Christmas. Prescott prides itself as Arizona’s Christmas City. You know, once we get past Thanksgiving, there really is something happening every weekend and lots of nights of the week between Thanksgiving and Christmas, some really cool traditions that happen here. So it’s a fun time to be around Prescott during the holidays. Some of those small town quirks really come out strong in a positive way during that time.
So on Christmas Eve last year, which is a big day for a pastor, so I get done with church and I go out to my car and I realize that my wife and I have trade cars, and she didn’t leave me the keys to that car. So it’s like, I don’t know 9:30pm on Christmas Eve It’s cold, and I can’t get in my car and I’m the only one at the venue our church meets in. I pulled up Uber. I’d never taken an Uber in Prescott. I don’t even know if that was Uber in Prescott, but Uber does run at 9:30 in Prescott on Christmas Eve. Luckily, there was a guy up here and he drove me home to Chino, that night, it was a very expensive drive home. So you can find an Uber on Christmas Eve if you need to drive home because you left your keys in the car.
Do you have any final thoughts?
Somebody told me when I moved to Prescott that Prescott was was not on the way to anywhere else. So they said you know, if you if you come to Prescott, you come here because this is where you want to be. I think that was a really interesting perspective. I would, I would encourage you that some people move1 to Prescott and it’s like their final destination. It’s the place they’re gonna retire, the place where they’re going to spend whatever the rest final phase of their life whether that’s five years or 30 years, but I also think that there are a lot of people who come to Prescott and it becomes part of a larger story.
There was a time where Prescott was one of the top places in the country to come if you’re going through rehab. I think that community has really gotten more actively regulated in recent years. But because of where our church is located, I get to spend a lot of time with people who are here for a season of their life. And for them, Prescott is a phase in their life and a stage in their life. And I just want to encourage people, that Prescott doesn’t have to be the final destination for everybody. It can be a part of your story.
So I would encourage people that even if you’re not in the stage where you’re going to retire here and be here forever, there’s a lot that Prescott has to offer when it comes to your life and community and your health. And I think that can be a huge part of the story of your life. I’m hoping that we can continue to diversify the story of what living in and coming to Prescott looks like and I hope there’s more room for different people in different stages to make this home, or at least part of the journey of their life. I know I’m not the typical person who moves to Prescott. Folks, like me who moved here, are going “is there anybody else like me?” And there is there’s a lot of people, it’s just you have to look a little harder.
Thank you very much, Scott, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us, tell us your story. Give us your advice. I appreciate your encouragement and your point of view on what it’s like to live in Prescott as a millennial.
I want to thank you, my listeners for choosing this podcast to spend your time and attention on. If you’d like to help me out. Please review this podcast where you get your podcasts. If you want help or have questions about moving to Prescott, give me a call or text me at 928-925-4428 you can send me an email at Conrad at findingprescott.com that CONRAD at FindingPrescott.com. You can contact me through that website. There’s contact form there for you. All of the show notes are going to be there and you’ll find all the information about this episode there. If you do, contact me one of my team members there I will reach out and we’ll try and answer all your questions and give you any kind of help you might need.
And remember, the key to life is gratitude. So stay thankful!