By: Joshua Danker-Dake | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: February 2010
Senior pastors Billy Joe and Theresa Watts of The Rock Church in Tulsa.
On January 17, senior pastors Billy Joe and Theresa Watts celebrated The Rock Church’s first Sunday in its new home – Union’s newly-remodeled Performing Arts Center, located at 6636 S. Mingo.
“We just love the building,” says Billy Joe. “We’ve got lots of room, and we’ve been able to put great signage on the roads. What’s remarkable is that we’re achieving an intimate setting even though the auditorium is so big – the building was designed that way.”
“The space is great, especially since we have such a big worship team,” says Theresa. “We’re very thankful for the opportunity to use the building – it has a real ‘wow’ factor.”
The Rock Church is planning a grand opening celebration for Sunday, March 7. “We’ll have cake and punch – it will be a fun day,” says Billy Joe. “And it will be a time where we can emphasize our current theme: bringing your family to meet our family. All of us have unchurched friends and relatives, and we want to reach out to those people.”
Coming up on April 3 is The Rock Church’s annual Easter Extraordinaire, which promises to be a great time for kids and adults. It will feature inflatables for the kids, food and games, including an egg toss with a $500 cash grand prize.
During the January 17th service, The Rock Church handed out four Community Involvement Awards, which they have presented annually since 2008. “We partner with a number of business professionals and companies in the community, and want to honor these people of integrity and thank them for what they do to help others,” says Billy Joe.
The 2009 winners include:
• Dr. Cathy Burden, superintendent of Union Public Schools. “We’re so thankful for Union,” says Billy Joe. “Union has been instrumental in helping churches become established in the community. This is our third Union building. Ed Tackett, Union’s director of fine arts, and Brian Peck, Union’s safety specialist, have also been so helpful to us.”
• Phil and Betty Narotam, owners of the Baskin Robbins at 71st and Memorial. “They’ve been very supportive of our fellowships,” says Billy Joe. “They’ve helped with ice cream for functions for our teens. They’ve also assisted other churches, and they’ve certainly helped us to create fellowship and community at The Rock Church.”
• Mary Bransford, publisher of the Value News. “Newspapers are so important to their communities, and Mary has really built up and supported our community through this paper,” says Billy Joe.
• Earnest and Melinda Grayson. Mr. Grayson is the founder of ZealCon Incorporated, a local software consulting and IT company. “The Graysons have been involved in sending our kids to camp, and they’ve been very supportive of our teens financially,” says Billy Joe.
As The Rock Church grows in its new home, its youth and children’s programs are growing as well. Kidz Rock is for newborns through fifth graders, and currently ministers to over 60 children each week. “Children need to hear the Word, and we want to teach them things like the Lord’s Prayer, Psalm 23, and the books of the Bible,” says Theresa. “A lot of young people these days don’t have that foundation, and we want to bring that back, to embed the Word of God in their hearts from a young age. And we like to keep them actively engaged – we figure they can watch videos at home.”
The Rock Church is working toward establishing a progression of activities, from a play area to the classroom to praise and worship to Bible time to snack time, with each step continuing the theme of the day’s lesson. “We don’t want them just to memorize the day’s verse, but also to learn it, to sing it, to dance the verse,” says Billy Joe. “If you touch their lives with this, they’ll never be the same.”
The church is in the process of creating its own curriculum and music. “We’re putting Kidz Rock together from a number of sources,” says Billy Joe. “We have a gentleman who writes songs for our kids, and we’re looking at putting together a Kidz Rock praise group. We’re emphasizing getting the kids involved, with music, with singing, and with leading. It’s growing fast. And some of these kids are the ones who bring their parents to church every week.”
For sixth graders through twelfth graders, there’s After Church Together (ACT), which currently includes around 30 children. “Last year, we took the kids to Camp Decision in Deland, Florida, where they had the opportunity to worship with almost 2,000 teens,” says Billy Joe. “We flew them – the church bought all the plane tickets, while the kids and their parents raised the rest of the cost. They’ll be going again this year the third week of July.”
“We like to bless those kids and love them like they’re our own,” says Theresa. “And we want to show them that when you’re faithful to God, God is faithful to you.”
The Rock Church strives to encourage leadership in these teens, both in the church and in the community. “We encourage all our teens to step out and use their talents and gifts,” says Billy Joe. “We also have a Youth Leadership Council that helps plan the schedule and itinerary, and they also help us keep up with the times and trends. Additionally, they help to recognize other youth leaders; for example, right now we’re planning a night to honor our high school seniors.”
Other Rock Church groups include Just Us Girls, for ladies of all ages, as well as ministry groups for couples and singles.
The Rock Church has more growth planned in the future. “We want to start a business school patterned after Pastor Bill Winston’s Joseph Center in Chicago,” says Billy Joe. “We’ll have our own curriculum, and we want to enlist people such as the Graysons to talk about business concepts. We feel called to raise up entrepreneurs in our community.”
Other goals of The Rock Church’s Ten-Point Master Plan include establishing an outreach center to provide clothing and food to the needy, providing affordable housing opportunities for members of the community, creating a music school for kids, sending missionaries to other countries, teaching communication skills to lay members and working professionals, and building a gym and wellness center.
The Rock Church holds worship services every Sunday at 10 a.m. at Union’s Performing Arts Center, 6636 S. Mingo. There’s always plenty going on there, and they’d love to see you. You can visit them on the web at www.therockchurchtulsa.org.