|The ROC Band & Praise Team leads worshipers attending services at one of the Missouri Baptist Convention’s newest church plants, RiverOaks Church, located in St. Charles County.|
October 14, 2002
WENTZVILLE-O’FALLON—It started as prayer meetings attended by four families in the Wentzville and O’Fallon communities in September 2001 and in one year has blossomed into one of the Missouri Baptist Convention’s newest church plants with more than 1 00 attending worship services and special events.
RiverOaks Church, also affectionately called the ROC, took root when Mark Ford resigned as worship pastor at Hazelwood Baptist Church in the St. Louis metro area about a year ago and—joined by his wife, Kristy— began pastoring the new church plant.
"God began to make it clear that His plan for this work was specific to an area, that being Wentzville-O’Fallon area of St. Charles County," Mark recalled.
"RiverOaks Church began with a core group of four families, meeting in homes for prayer and planning, in September of 2001. That core group met weekly from that time until January of 2002, when the home praise and worship meetings were opened up to a fe w more brave souls who shared the vision and desired to be a part of the work of a church plant. That group of about seven families met weekly on Saturday nights for eight months, working toward the dream of a September launch."
God provided just the right place for the church to meet, a new high school building in the Wentzville School District.
During the summer, two major outreach events were held, in the community immediately surrounding the meeting location. The ROC Band made its debut, Wee ROC (nursery/preschool ministry) began its outreach to the little ones, and there was a great response in terms of numbers and interest.
"The heart of the vision for RiverOaks is to be a church for those who do not currently attend church— a church that strategically and spiritually attempts to reach the hard-to-reach by using fresh and culturally-relevant methods," Mark said.
On Sept. 8, RiverOaks Church launched with its first public service, with 117 attending.
"Since this church plant is not the model that has a traditional mother church, the vast majority of those attending were people from the community who were interested in learning more about this new church," Mark explained.
A nursery and preschool program were offered from the very first Sunday as well.
"The second Sunday followed with almost as many as the first, and there have already been fruits of the effort, in terms of people coming to faith in Christ and renewing commitments," Mark said. "Several of the new attendees have already enrolled in the first membership class. ROC Groups (small group ministry) will begin in October.
RiverOaks has drawn inspiration from Isaiah 61:1-3 and adopted the following as its mission statement: Moving our generation beyond religion into a powerful relationship with Jesus.
"It is the goal of RiverOaks Church to be used of God to make a real difference in the day in which we live," Mark said.
To find out more about ROC, visit www.rivoakschurch.com