Learn what we’re about, what we believe, our history, and our values
Our purpose is simple…
TO SEE SAVED PEOPLE SAVING PEOPLE THROUGH JESUS CHRIST
The message of Jesus is one of hope for the whole world so we do all we can to passionately connect people to Christ and grow in their faith. The stories below are the reasons why we do what we do.
The Rock Church was founded by Pastors John & Marlene Gear in 1986. They had the vision to provide a spirit-filled church to Port Stephens and started with a prayer meeting in the downstairs lounge room of a church member. Founded in prayer, a faithful congregation believed for permanent premises, God answered their prayers with the purchase of the current property and plans were approved January 1988 for offices, kitchen and one auditorium.
Originally called Port Stephens Christian Outreach Centre it was a beacon to the developing community. The congregation quickly grew, and the building was extended allowing more office space, a reception area, book shop and café space.
In February 1992 Pastors Allan & Rhonda Ward were positioned as the new senior pastors. They expanded the vision of the church to include international missions, discipleship, and a passion to establish the next generation of leaders.
They also had a vision to establish the first Christian School in Port Stephens and after being granted approval the baton was passed to St Phillips Christian College Waratah and the St Phillips Salamander Bay Campus was birthed.
As the church continued to grow they led the way to expand the church with a 300-seat auditorium which was opened on the 21st April 2001, completely debt free. Today they continue to serve the body of Christ to the fullest of their capacity.
In February 2012 Pastors Bill & Edwina Dodds were positioned as the senior pastors under the discipleship of Ps Allan & Rhonda and have continued to serve as leaders of the church.
In 2013 Christian Outreach Centre Australia underwent a re-branding to become International Network of Churches (INC). Christian Outreach Centre Port Stephens followed the movement’s decision and, with much prayer, was re-named The Rock Church. The name represents that Jesus is the Rock, boldly declaring the community the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25
WHO ARE WE NOW?
We are a church whose purpose is to see saved people saving people through Jesus Christ. We are a passionate, vibrant, power-filled, one-generation church whose heart is to see cities transformed and our nation shaped by a love that never fails, the love of God through Christ.
We see The Rock Church as a local expression of the family of God. We are founded on our love for Jesus and obedience to His teaching. A healthy family has many generations, values diversity, and is nurturing and encouraging. In a happy family everyone finds a place of belonging, healthy boundaries are evident, and each person contributes according to their ability. We trust you have found a warm welcome here at The Rock Church.
OUR CORE VALUES
These are our core values and they have everything to do with focus and perspective. This is the kind of church we believe for. This is the culture and lifestyle we want to promote. These are the strengths and guiding principles God has placed on The Rock Church that we are passionate about. So, we set out to put words to those passions and compiled our list of core values.
We seek genuine relationships and love & honour all people to nurture belonging.
We are free to be real, laugh often, and won’t sacrifice fun for perfection.
We are faith-filled pioneers who focus on the possible while trusting God with the impossible.
We honour God in the giving of our finances, time, and resources.
We do all we can to lead people to meet, respond, and grow in God.
We embrace the supernatural power of God to see lives transformed, and His presence made evident.
We are committed to excellence; going the extra mile in all we do.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
As an expression of our commitment to historic Christianity, The Rock Church and International Network of Churches holds to both the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed as its foundational Christian beliefs. Our Declaration of Faith is below:
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine yet distinct Persons. This is commonly known as the Holy Trinity: God the Father, Jesus God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God is the Creator and Ruler over all things, perfect all loving and holy, and is therefore worthy of all glory and worship.
Genesis 1:1, 26, Matthew 28:19, Revelation 4:8-11
The Father is fully God, co-equal and co-eternal with the Son and the Holy Spirit. He so loved the world that He gave His son Jesus to die for our redemption. It is only through Jesus that we can come to Him. He sent forth the Holy Spirit to help us live in and for Him. We can pray to Him and He hears and answers our prayers according to His will
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and is co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. Jesus, born of a virgin birth, became a man in flesh, lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity by dying on a cross. He arose bodily from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death and to validate that the way of salvation is through Him alone. He ascended to heaven, where He delegated all authority and will return again to reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Matthew 1:22-23, Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1-5, 14:10-30, Hebrews 4:14-15, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Romans 1:3-4, Acts 1:9-11, John 14:6, 1 Timothy 6:14-15, Titus 2:13
The Holy Spirit is also fully God, co-equal with both the Father and the Son. He is present in the world to make people aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also indwells every believer from the moment of salvation, providing the Christian with power for ministry, understanding of God’s Word, comfort through trials and guidance in doing what is right. The Christian seeks to be led by the Spirit daily.
2 Corinthians 3:17, John 16:7-13, 14:16-17, Acts 1:8, 1 Corinthians 2:12, 3:16, Ephesians 1:13, Titus 3:5, John 14:26, Galatians 5:22-23,25
The Bible is God’s Word to humanity about Himself, revealing His will, nature, character, being and grace by virtue of His saving work of love in the world. The sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments comprise the totality of the Inspired Scripture and were penned without error in their original language by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit, serving as our highest written authority in this world. We believe that human beings do not have to guess or speculate about who God is or what He is like. While the Bible is for us, it is not primarily about us. Instead, we believe that all of Scripture ultimately points to and climaxes in Jesus, who is the Word become flesh. We are called to enjoy, study, and submit to the Word of God.
2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Luke 24:27, John 1:1, 14
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image and placed them in the Garden of Eden to live out their identity as His creation in loving harmony with Himself and one another. However, Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, believing Satan’s lie that they could instead become like God. This is when sin entered the world, marring our relationship with God, one another, and ourselves. We are sinners by nature and by choice and our sin has alienated us from God, placing us rightfully under His just and Holy wrath. Incapable of regaining a right relationship with God through our own efforts, our greatest need is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us from sin and restore the relationship between Himself and us.
Genesis 1:27, 3:1-7, Psalms 8:3-6, Romans 5:12,19, Isaiah 59:1-2, Romans 3:23, Ephesians 2:1-3, 1 John 4:10
Although people are completely sinful, God had a plan in place to lovingly save and redeem a people for Himself. Throughout the Old Testament, we read what God will do to save His people from their sins. In the New Testament, we see this plan fulfilled in Jesus Christ who came and lived a perfect life of obedience before God, died in our place by being crucified for our sins, and was raised from the dead on the third day. This is the “gospel” or “good news”. The Holy Spirit draws us to Christ our Saviour and gives us faith to believe in Him. “Whoever believes that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead will be saved.” The gospel alone is the power of God for salvation. It is the inexhaustible promise that satisfies our restlessness by restoring us into relationship with God, giving us eternal life with Him both now and forever. Salvation cannot be earned or achieved through our good works, only received as a gift of grace.
Ephesians 1:4-5, Isaiah 53:1-11, Hebrews 2:9, 4:15; 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Titus 3:5-6, 2 Timothy 2:25, Romans 10:13, Romans 1:16, Ephesians 2:4-9
We believe that in the confession and true repentance of our sins to Jesus, we are now seen by God as totally blameless and holy in our relationship with God. No longer children of wrath, by grace we have become children of God whom God sees in the same way that He sees His Son, the Lord Jesus. This is what the church calls “justification.” The community of people who believe this are “the church.” So while our new relationship with God is personal, it is not individual – we have been adopted into God’s family. We believe that we are to gather together in large and small settings to worship God, proclaim and celebrate the gospel, and share our lives together for His glory.
Hebrews 10:14, Ephesians 2:19-22, Romans 5:1, 1 Peter 2:9-10, Acts 2:42-47
We believe that Jesus gave His church two primary ordnances to be observed regularly: water baptism and Holy Communion. By repentance of sin and faith in Jesus, the Bible instructs us to be baptized in water by immersion as a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Baptism is the outward demonstration of our inward change of heart; therefore we baptise confessing believers who have willingly trusted themselves to Christ. Holy Communion is a regular observance the church shares together as a reminder that Jesus is alone is the Saviour who died on the cross, in our place, for our sins, to bring us to God. The bread represent Christ’s body that was broken and the cup represents His blood that was shed for us.
Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 2:38, 2 Corinthians 5:17, 1 Corinthians 11:25-26, Matthew 26:26-29
We believe in the personal, glorious, bodily, and imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ in fulfilling the prophetic word. We trust in God’s promise that a day is coming when He will banish sin, sickness, death, decay, and Satan. Those who have rejected God will be eternally separated from Him in hell, while those who have accepted the immeasurable gift of His forgiveness will receive eternal life with Him in Heaven. When Jesus returns, He will usher in the New Heavens and New Earth.
Revelation 19:11-16, Acts 3:20-21, Revelation 21:1-5