In fall of 1980, Bill Lenz and a handful of others had a desire to reach out to lost and hurting people. They ventured out on the streets of downtown Appleton with a desire to share Christ with anyone who would listen. The Salvation Army opened its doors for use of their building, just two blocks from downtown. Small teams would meet and pray, then go out on the streets to witness. Others would stay back to host a drop-in center. In March of 1981, that outreach was officially named Solid Rock Ministries. The Salvation Army gave office space at no charge, and Bill Lenz served as Director. A 24-hour crisis call line began. Many were coming to Christ.
June 1982: The Starting of a Church
Those involved in Solid Rock Ministries realized that although many people were being reached, not many were being followed up with. Paul's words to the Corinthians came alive in 1 Corinthians 4:15, "For if you were to have countless tutors in Christ, yet you would not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus, I became your father through the Gospel."
We realized we needed to assume parental responsibility for those we had "birthed" in the Gospel. That led to the decision to start a church. The first Sunday of June, 1982 the New Corinthian Chapel held its first service in the Riverside Cemetery Chapel in Appleton. That Sunday there were 13 people in attendance. Rent for the cobblestone chapel was $9 per week.
Summer 1983: The Viking Theater
After about a year, we outgrew the Cemetery Chapel. It was a big step up to rent the downtown Viking Theater at $75 per week. Sunday School classes for children were held in hallways, entry ways and old rooms above a neighboring Chinese restaurant. After services, children got free popcorn from the theater staff.
November 1984 - March 1992: The First Permanent Building Downtown
Originally built for Mount Olive Lutheran Church, the building on Oneida Street became a repertory theater, and was being remodeled by a small church group when we found it. We were able to take over a land contract from Mount Olive. Our services emphasized contemporary worship and relevant teaching. The emphasis was on accepting any and all who came. We also changed our name at that time from The New Corinthian Chapel to Christ The Rock Community Church.
On June 15, 1989 we made a final offer on 23 acres of land on the south side of Appleton off Plank Road, with the hope of someday building there. The church continued to grow through the many people converting to Christ. We were holding three services and still running out of room.
March 1991 - April 2001: Wickes Lumber Company
In spring of 1991, a church made an offer to purchase our building on Oneida Street. At that time, we found out that we couldn't build on our 23 acres for another four to five years because sewer and water lines were not yet installed. We moved in to the empty Wickes Lumber Company building set on a prime location at the corner of Highway 47 and Midway Road in Menasha. The majority of the renovations were done by people in the church, and we held our first services at the Menasha building the first weekend of March 1992. Attendance at our weekend services continued to grow.
April 2001 - Present: Moving Forward with Christ
In spring of 2001, we moved in to our new facility. Our current building is located on 80 acres of land in the Town of Harrison. We now stand on the threshold of a new and exciting chapter that is the story of Christ The Rock Community Church. What has happened over the years is inspiring -- the growth in peoples' lives is a testimony of how God desires to work in and through those who diligently seek Him. It is with humility that we acknowledge that all that has happened here and all that ever will happen is because of God's unfailing love for people.
Christ The Rock | W6254 Hwy 10-114 | Menasha, WI 54952 | 920.730.8383
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