Somebody recently asked me what Rockport Baptist Church was “all about”. That got me to thinking. What is it like to be a part of this congregation? I was tempted to just say, “We’re all about glorifying God through Christ!” Because I hope that’s the case. But then, I suppose ever church that strives to be biblical would (or should) say the same thing. But what are we about really? When people come to be a part of our congregation, what do they experience?
Here is the answer I gave:
Rockport seeks to spread the good news of God’s sovereign grace for the joy of all who believe. We are (or at least desire to be) passionate about missions and seek to find ways to engage our people personally in missions. We do this by recruiting and training people to serve as missionaries, and men to send out as pastors. Every worship service begins with a focus on a missionary we are connected with, as we remind our people to pray for them. We have also divided up lists of missionaries to volunteers who correspond with them and keep our congregation informed of their needs.
We desire to disciple all of our people, beginning with our youngest, to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We place a great deal of emphasis on family focused teaching and ministry, training fathers and mothers to be the primary teachers/trainers of their children. Most of the things we do as a church are designed to include all ages together. We believe it is vital to have a multi-generational approach to ministry and fellowship so that the older men can teach the younger men, and older women can teach the younger women. This has been one of the great joys of the last few years as we’ve seen the “generation gap” narrowing in our congregation and both the older and younger learn to love and serve one another. To help facilitate this, we have a fellowship meal on the first Sunday of every month after our worship service. Many families will remain for several hours afterwords getting to know and spend time with each other (all other activities are cancelled for that day). But even on the regular Sunday mornings, it is not odd to have families remain at church fellowshiping and talking for an hour or two longer.
Though Pastor Scott carries the primary task of weekly preaching, we are led, spiritually, by a team of elders, each of whom helps share the load of teaching, preaching,and leading. We are also served by a wonderful team of deacons who seek to meet the physical and practical needs of the congregation.
We place a high priority on the careful, systematic teaching of the word. Every individual and family are strongly encouraged to be daily in the word, and to share freely with each other what they are reading. During every Sunday morning service we have a time of open sharing when any member can stand and share something from the word, or a need for prayer, or a praise for some good thing God has done. This has become one of the most joyful aspects of our weekly gathering. There is also a weekly Sunday evening Systematic Theology class where those who wish may come study a little deeper.
We also place a high priority on gathering for prayer and the study of the word. There are no midweek meetings at the church building. Instead we gather in homes on every night of the week (except Monday) to meet in C-Groups where whole families and individuals meet together to worship, share testimonies and exhortations, study the word and pray. These meetings are a highlight of the week for many of us.
We are always looking for ways to send our people out in evangelism and service. Bake Ottofy heads up our jail ministry, sending various members (and others from the JBA) into the jail to visit inmates who have requested a visit. We have a team, led by Matt McDonnell who go into the city to hand out tracts and preach wherever crowds of people gather together. We were privileged recently to plant a church in U-City (the Gate), led by Pastors Kenny Petty and Kyle Hubbard. This year we hope to plant another church somewhere in West County, pastored by Bro Brig Jones. We also have, by God’s grace, several able men who are ready to go preach in any church that has need for pulpit supply, interim work, etc.
Finally, our we have two annual events that are a blessing to our people. Grace Camp Meeting in the Spring (April 11-14 this year). This is three full days of meeting together to pray and hear the Word. This years speakers are Charles Leiter, Mack Tomlinson and Curt Daniel. And then, in the fall, our Annual Family Camp at Bate’s Creek, where our whole congregation meets together for four days of fellowship, fun and family focused teaching.
In a “nutshell” I think that describes the life of our congregation. I’m sure I’ve left some things out, but that’s surely most of it.
If you live in the Saint Louis area, and are looking for a church that isn’t trying to be anything, but faithful to God’s Word. Come join us. We’d love to get to know you.
Soli Deo Gloria,