Why do we need a new campus?

Our church is growing. And, the need is great. More than 84% of our city is unchurched. Among Millennials, that number is closer to 95%. And yet, the people walking through our doors every week are finding hope and experiencing Jesus. More than 4,500 people have been saved since our launch in 2011.

Because our church is growing, and because our current campuses are limited in their capacity, it is important that we continue to launch new campuses, both mobile and permanent, to increase capacity for the many new believers that are being welcomed home every single weekend through our numerous worship experiences.

Our Hilliard Campus, when complete, will meet a very specific and tangible need. More than 40% of our church lives in the Hilliard and surrounding areas. Furthermore, our Hilliard Campus will become our primary broadcast campus, which means that, for the first time, we will be able to broadcast our live worship experience from a permanent position, which will make every campus better and our entire worship experience more reliable.

Putting down permanent roots, however, is no small task. It’s going to take the sacrifice and generosity of many at Rock City to see this through.

Can we afford to operate a new permanent campus?

Since day one, we have established budget parameters that guide our decision-making. They are boundaries that help us maintain the heart of our church and ensure that we are operating in a way that is balanced. It is our aim to maintain a facility cost church-wide no greater than 20%. We allocate 20% to Ministry Operations, 20% to Outreach and Missions, and 40% to Staffing so that we can adequately pastor the people God continues to bring through our doors. Our team has spent months running scenarios, meeting with financial professionals, and looking at the operating costs of this new facility. We are confident that our current operating budget will accommodate the operating costs of all of our campuses without any future growth beyond 2017.

Though these parameters do ebb and flow throughout the year, they are steady guides for us as we plan new projects and seize new opportunities. Furthermore, as our history has shown, as the church has grown, so has her capacity for generosity.

Why don’t we just keep opening mobile campuses?

We love mobile campuses. We love the number of people that are able to serve in a mobile environment and we are grateful for our team that is leading the way in mobile church technology for churches around the country. We have seen tremendous growth and life-change happen in our mobile environments and can’t imagine not being in mobile environments in some form or fashion.

But, mobile campuses aren’t free. They are also not always reliable. Currently, more than 2/3 of our congregation worships in a mobile campus. Should one or more of our mobile campuses suddenly become unavailable, we are unable to absorb the displaced at our singular permanent Short North Campus.

We will continue to plant mobile campuses, but the goal with every mobile campus is that, at some point, it would become a permanent part of the city.

Studies show that when a church moves from a mobile environment to a permanent environment, attendance typically doubles within the first year. When we opened our permanent Short North Campus in the fall of last year, we saw a quadrupling of attendance in just the first four weeks!

Our commitment is to put down deep and permanent roots all across this city and to build a church that will be here long after those of us who are running now are long gone. Having a permanent place to call home also allows us to use our facilities throughout the week, which means more ministry is taking place and more opportunities are given to share Jesus with those in need.

What will happen to our existing campuses?

We opened the doors to our Westerville Campus this spring and are seeing tremendous growth there. Our Short North Campus will remain and continues to thrive in the heart of our city. Our current plan is to transition our mobile Upper Arlington Campus which meets at Upper Arlington High School to its permanent home in Hilliard once our Hilliard Campus is complete.

When will the RUN Project be complete?

RUN is a $10M three-year, three-part campaign that was launched in the Spring of 2015. The RUN campaign consists of the following:

  1. Launching a permanent campus in the Short North
  2. Launching The Columbus Dream Center
  3. Launching a permanent campus in Hilliard

Both the Short North Campus and the Columbus Dream Center were completed in 2015. With $6.7M in commitments made and land purchased in Hilliard for our future Hilliard Campus, we are prepared to break ground in the fall of 2017 on the third and final part of our RUN Campaign.

By raising the remaining $3.3M of our original RUN goal, we hope to have this project completed in the next 12-18 months.

How big will the Hilliard Campus be?

Our Hilliard Campus will be close to 50,000 square feet in size. This campus will become the primary broadcast campus for our entire church. With amazing space for children, youth and families and an auditorium that will offer 1,300 seats, this campus will allow us to continue to grow and more effectively launch future campuses throughout our city and beyond.

I thought you were all about being in the city, why are you moving to the “burbs?”

People in Hilliard need Jesus too. So do people in Clintonville, Dublin, Grove City and Delaware. Currently, more than 40% of the people who attend Rock City are driving from the Hilliard and surrounding areas. The 14.5 acres of land purchased in June of this year provide the best opportunity for our church to put down deep and permanent roots in this city. We are committed to planting campuses in every part of our city as the Lord leads and provides. In Hilliard, we will be positioned to reach thousands more people for Christ who may not be willing to drive to Grandview or into the Short North. We love our campuses in the heart of our city too, and will continue to pray that God will open doors to launch future campuses and provide greater capacity for His church there as well.

What’s going on with the Dream Center?

Since opening the doors in the Fall of 2015, the Columbus Dream Center has become the hub of hope we always dreamed it would be. Each week, families are being served and volunteers are engaging the hurting and hopeless. Currently over 40 churches and organizations in our city are partnered with The Dream Center to meet the needs of our city. This year, we are projecting to serve more than 60,000 meals. Through the medical bus and children’s programs, physical needs are being met and spiritual and emotional needs are cared for. Through the Adopt-a-Block program, the church is engaging people where they are and meeting needs in the community as the hands and feet of Jesus. Through the After-School Program, launching this Fall, children from the Weinland and surrounding areas are given hope and the help they need to make the most of their God-given lives. We couldn’t be more proud of the work that’s being done through the hundreds of selfless volunteers willing to give their all to those in greatest need.

What if we don’t raise all of the money?

We are excited that because of the generosity of the people of Rock City, we were able to complete the Short North Campus and Dream Center projects as well as purchase the land for our Hilliard Campus within the first year of RUN. As we have experienced throughout this entire journey, we have seen that where there is vision, God gives provision, and believe that the remaining funds needed to complete the Hilliard Campus will be provided. Our team works hard to ensure we are prepared for any and all scenarios and we are committed to keeping the church fully updated on the progress we make over the next year.