On This Rock: Rock City Church

Rock City Church: “We have one mission, and that is to reach the unchurched and awaken the spiritually restless to love God and love people.”

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Rock City Church


When Lead Pastor Chad Fisher describes the growth that has marked Rock City Church in Columbus, Ohio, during the past year, he says, “There wasn’t anything we were specifically doing different other than what we were doing before.” Instead, the wave of momentum that had been building following the April 2011 launch apparently crested last October when Rock City began growing by 100 people per month. According to Fisher, 80 percent of the growth in the past year has been the result of a decision for Christ.

Dave May, 56, is among the parishioners in the rising tide at Rock City. He says that before finding Rock City, it had been nearly 20 years since he and his wife last really connected with a church. “We were looking. We were hungry for something, we just didn’t know what.”

These are just the people Rock City’s mission zeroes in on. The church’s website notes: “We have one mission, and that is ‘to reach the unchurched and awaken the spiritually restless to love God and love people.’”

May, who leads a LifeGroup with his wife and volunteers in other roles, says this mission is understood by everyone, including new attendees. “Everything we do is toward that end.” That Rock City’s life is so saturated by this mission is the core difference May sees from other churches he has attended.

After preparation through an ongoing mission-critical partnership with CedarCreek Church in Toledo and the Association of Related Churches, in 2010 Fisher, his wife Katie, their two young daughters and a team of five other adults moved from Toledo to Columbus, a city of young, innovative, passionate people where the team knew no one. They viewed everyone they met as potential launch team members. With a 40-person launch team, Rock City held its first public worship service April 3, 2011. Once the early dust settled, the church’s weekly worship experiences were attracting around 220 people.

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Fisher, now 32, was 20 when he felt called to plant a church. That call came with a threefold vision to be a church where people experience God through worship services, are radically committed to loving and serving each other to serving outside the church’s walls. That is just the church Fisher says Rock City is becoming.

Factors Fisher believes have contributed to Rock City’s growth include the church’s relentless drive toward reaching unchurched and spiritually restless people. Also, “we’re teaching them the gospel,” he says, and as people are transformed by it, this provides the fuel for the church’s growth. Finally, Fisher points to the way Rock City challenges people with our purpose as Christians to “go and do.”