Churches in Rocky Mount, NC
PHOTO CREDIT: Todd Bennett
Come Sunday in the Rocky Mount area, local residents pack the pews of area churches for inspiration, encouragement, thanksgiving and celebration. But here, churchgoers don’t stop there – the city’s thriving faith community is committed to serving the community beyond the walls of its churches. Simply put, they’re in the business of changing lives.
Englewood Baptist Church
Englewood Baptist Church was organized in 1965 and has grown to include more than 2,400 members. The church sponsors numerous sports ministries for children year-round, including soccer, baseball, football and basketball. Englewood also has a new student building called The Edge, which provides a safe gathering place for youth to play games and “hang out."
“We believe the church is the only organization that exists for those who are not members,” says Englewood’s Pastor Michael Cloer. “People will not care how much we know until they know how much we care. As the visible body of Christ, we have to show the world we really care.”
In 2011, Englewood assisted needy families and individuals in the region with more than $20,000 in aid as well as hundreds of pounds of food. The church also hosts weekly support groups such as Divorce Care, Grief Share and Conquerors (for drug and alcohol recovery). In addition, they have a Pregnancy Care Center and Hispanic ministry.
“Several years ago, we had an Operation Saturation project, in which our members gave a Bible to every resident of Rocky Mount,” Cloer says. “We partner with an elementary school to provide after-school tutoring. And each year, we host a Senior Fair that provides more than 40 vendors as well as seminars that speak to the needs of senior citizens in our community.”
Church on the Rise
Church on the Rise is another active congregation. In June 2012, Church on the Rise opened its new Peacemakers Family Center in South Rocky Mount. Among other things, the center hosts an eight-week program called Freedom School to assist low-income children with academic development and character building.
“We love to do things that get us out of our four walls,” says Church on the Rise Lead Pastor Richard Gurganus. “We really have a heart for [South Rocky Mount] – we have done Vacation Bible Schools there, and we built a stage there for programs. We were excited to buy an abandoned building there to create the Peacemakers Family Center.”
Word Tabernacle Church
Word Tabernacle Church has experienced tremendous growth since it began in 2005 with 14 members. Today its membership exceeds 2,300. In just seven years, Word Tabernacle has seen 1,000 people baptized and the development of 45 active ministries, all of which are open to non-members.
“One of my goals when I arrived in Rocky Mount seven years ago was to make going to church attractive again, and that is happening,” says Word Tabernacle Pastor James Gailliard. “We are seeing several churches with increasing memberships. At WTC, we recognize that no one church can be all a city needs. The important thing is we grow collectively, work together and enhance our community in a compassionate way.”
Churches in Rocky Mount often join forces to impact the community even more. For the past five years, 10 to 15 churches have joined together every Sunday night in July for unity services, which are open to everyone.
“All the offerings benefit some effort in the community,” Gurganus says. “In 2012, the offerings will go to the new Pediatrics Emergency Care Center at Nash Health Care Systems.”
Though they come from different denominations, many of Rocky Mount’s pastors are good friends.
“There are some of the greatest pastors here I have ever met,” Gurganus says. “We believe the local church is the hope of the world, and we have the ability to bring unity to the city, solve problems and minister to people. Churches are the strength of the community.”
Learn about more great community activities in Rocky Mount, NC.