How One Church Came To Be
In August of 1986 a group of families began meeting together in a home; these families were concerned about doctrinal issues in their denomination and in their particular church. They were particularly concerned about the move away from the Bible as the standard for faith and practice. Many churches and individuals known by these families had left their denomination for the Presbyterian Church in America(PCA), which had been formed in 1973 due in part to doctrinal concerns within increasingly liberal presbyterian denominations. At their particular church, a move to the PCA had been considered but was voted against by a narrow margin. These families wanted to start a church that was committed to the authority and infallibility of Scripture, to the Reformed faith and confessions, to missions, and to taking a stand against abortion.
In the Spring of 1987 a Steering Committee was formed and the group became a Mission of North Georgia Presbytery, PCA. The first eight members were received on August 23, 1987. Eight more members were added on December 12, 1987. Initially various men affiliated with Presbyterian Evangelistic Fellowship (PEF) provided preaching for the mission church. In November 1987 the meeting place was moved to the McDonough Women’s Club in downtown McDonough.
On September 18, 1988 the church voted to become incorporated and to borrow funds to purchase property at the intersection of White Drive and Highway 155 in Stockbridge. The church closed on the property on December 16, 1988. The Rev. Donald J. Musin became the first pastor of The Rock Presbyterian Church in May, 1989. He served as a part-time pastor. Also in 1989 one of the houses on the property was renovated to become the sanctuary.
In November 1989, the congregation moved to the new church building and became a particular church with approximately 35 members. The mission of the church was “to provide and serve the community with a friendly, conservative, evangelical, Bible-centered, Reformed church.”
The founding goals of The Rock were:
- To be a church where the Bible is preached and taught, and where believers can fellowship, worship, and be built up in the faith.
- To care for one another, as Christ cared for his church; attempting to integrate each with his gifts and needs to the body, leaving none out.
- To be fervent in faith that believes everything in Holy Scripture; fervent in prayer, fervent in holiness of life and thought, and fervent in doing all things for the glory of God.
- To have an outreach ministry to the unsaved, unchurched, sick, shut-in, handicapped, elderly and youth.
- To encourage the reading, studying and memorizing of God’s Word, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms for the gathering and perfecting of the saints.
- To be involved in missions:
- To give 10% of all offerings to the Mission to the World.
- To increase to 50% of offerings for all missions.
- To hold an annual missions conference.
- To help plant other PCA churches in nearby areas.
In July 1990 the church completed the land purchase and now owned 8.5 acres and the two houses which sat on the property. Remodeling began on the second house for use as a pastor’s office and Sunday School rooms and was completed about March 1991. In the Fall of 1992, Rev. Musin accepted a position as President of the Atlanta School of Biblical Studies. After a pastoral search process of almost one year, The Rock called Rev. Mark Rowden as the first full time pastor of the church in October 1993. From 1994 until 2001, the church continued to meet in the renovated houses. The church became debt free in 1996.
In 2001 the Session approved the building of a new sanctuary. After a year of planning with architects and builders, the church broke ground on its new building in April 2002. By early 2003 the new sanctuary was complete and the church held its building dedication service on January 26, 2003. Also in 2003, the church hired its first music minister, Mr. Terry Himebook, who significantly expanded the music ministry of The Rock. During the summer of 2005 the Session decided to form a vision and strategic planning committee to develop new vision and purpose statements for the church and a plan for implementation over the next five years.
Rev. Mark Rowden served as pastor of The Rock from 1993-2005. In 2006, Grace Community Church, a PCA church in McDonough, GA considered a motion to join The Rock. In May, 2006, the Vision Committee presented the vision, mission, and purpose statements, which were approved and adopted by the Session and the Congregation. In the summer of 2006, Grace Community Church decided to split, with approximately half the members of the church joining The Rock in August, 2006. That joining included some members who were originally members of Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, an historic Presbyterian church originating in Atlanta whose heritage and history is now joined with The Rock.
In 2007, the church called Rev. Chad Bailey as its pastor. Also in 2007, the church completed its vision planning process by approving a strategic plan to guide the church in fulfilling its mission and achieving its vision.
Since 1989 The Rock has stood for Biblical, reformed doctrine and held firmly to the authority and infallibility of Scripture and the truths of the Reformed faith. As we continue our life and ministry together, we hope and pray that we will continue to fulfill the vision of our founders, serving our community with a friendly, evangelical, Bible-centered, Reformed church, even as we seek to:
Magnify the Lord our God
Mature together in Christ
Minister to others in His name
Make Him known at home and abroad
So that in all things Christ might be preeminent.
May it be so, and to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.