The History of Red Rocks Baptist Church
In the mid-1930's, a fledgling church with a small group of determined believers began meeting. They called themselves the Barnum Baptist Church and adopted humble surroundings in a little garage with a dirt floor and no windows. In 1945, the church incorporated as Westwood First Baptist Church at Lowell and Morrison Road (the newest Baptist church in Denver, CO) in a storefront. Reverend J. C. Nichols shepherded the small congregation through its move to 395 South Osceola.
With an evangelistic mindset, Pastor Nelson began extending a continual invitation to the growing population of Denver to hear the Word of God. But Denver still was not the only thing growing. The gospel was being faithfully preached, lives and hearts were being changed and ministries were receiving new life. There were hard times, but God blessed the faithful, biblical stand taken by Pastor Nelson and the members. South Sheridan began a deaf ministry, printing press and a daily radio broadcast, as well as a Sunday morning broadcast. Building projects were planned, and by provision from the hand of God, completed. In 1965 construction of an auditorium was completed, which would be later known as the Calvary Building.
The church ministries touched many people during their operations, which took place mainly on the weekends, but a ministry was about to be born which would shape the lives of many young people through the years to come. 1964 was the beginning of a biblical Christian school, in Englewood, CO with thirty students in grades nine through twelve. The next year, grades seven and eight were added.In 1967, Pastor Nelson oversaw the beginning of a Bible-based Christian elementary school on the Sheridan Campus. 1970 saw the junior and senior high school in Englewood struggle. Pastor Nelson was approached about taking over the school or else it was going to be disbanded. The building, nicknamed "The Alamo", where the school had been meeting was condemned and Pastor Nelson agreed to take the school and move it to the Sheridan campus in Lakewood. Old army barracks were brought in as classrooms, and Silver State Christian School of Lakewood, Colorado was born in 1971.
The Christian school and church continued their steady growth. Construction on the larger auditorium building was completed in 1970. Many of us here today spent a great deal of our lives in that building and saw and experienced the hand of God. This was not because there was something sacred about the building or because the people inside it were perfect Christians. No, it was because God was honored there. God was faithfully proclaimed there, and godly lifestyles were exhibited there. The seventies was a decade characterized in the world as the age of disco, but at South Sheridan, it was the characterized by a love for the souls in Lakewood, Colorado.
The 1980's brought to Denver not only one of the largest blizzards in recent memory, but the number of changes to the ministry. A four-year construction project, nicknamed the New Building, was completed to house Silver State students. The building was later entitled the Guyla Nelson Educational Building in honor of the work Mrs. Nelson did writing a Bible-based curriculum for Christian Schools.
In 1984 a visiting preacher caught the attention of some of the members. Pastor Nelson was away the first Sunday this young man preached, but he was encouraged to have him back again. Pastor Nelson did extend a second invitation, which was accepted. During a lunch following one Sunday service, this young man heard Dr. Nelson say he was looking for someone to come on staff and eventually be in place to take the pastorate when he retired. Not too long after this lunch a new face was added to the pastoral staff of South Sheridan.
The son of a farmer, saved while in engineering school, Les Heinze and his family, Starry, Amanda and Ben joined South Sheridan Baptist Church of Lakewood, CO. Over the next six years, Pastor Heinze served in many different aspects of the church. But all the while, God was preparing him to take the helm when Pastor Nelson decided the Lord was leading him on to other ministry opportunities.The 80's also saw the burden for the booming metropolitan area grow through the planting of churches. Highlands Baptist Church and Woodside Baptist Church were just two of over thirty churches South Sheridan has helped to plant throughout the years.
1990 brought a booming economy to the Denver Metro area, and a change in leadership to the senior pastorate. May 20, 1990 Pastor Ed Nelson was the senior pastor during the morning service and during the evening service Pastor Les Heinze had officially taken the reins after Pastor Nelson's retirement. God has been using Pastor Heinze ever since. He has maintained a strong emphasis on soul winning, on connecting with people and on personal growth of Christians. He still emphasizes today four areas, which he, and the rest of our leadership, sees as cornerstones to a godly, biblical, growing ministry.
Evangelism: Winning the lost, bringing the priceless gift of salvation to those in need around us. South Sheridan has had and still has many ministries of outreach into the community.
Discipleship: Knowing that salvation is not the end of the road for a Christian, but a beginning. Discipleship is a priority within the leadership and is taking place amongst people of all ages within the congregation.
Missions: Realizing there are people beyond the borders of our community, our state and our country who need the Gospel, missions is a prime heartbeat. Men for Missions, the youth group, and families have taken trips to help Gospel ministries. Currently we support about fifty missionaries spread over about twenty countries and the United States and a large percentage of them would consider this their home church.
Education: Pastor Heinze has continued the vision started by Dr. Nelson with Silver State Christian School in Lakewood. This private Christiann school has more than 1,100 graduates scattered around the U.S. and the world. They walk out of the doors with a mission to take Christ wherever they go whether it is into the business world, starting a family, or vocational ministry.
Sacrifice, commitment, faith, prayer, servanthood, separation, outreach, salt and light are all ways to describe what the ministry God has created here. We look at the past as our starting point, but do not rest upon it for the future. God has instilled in our leadership as desire to continue to grow and reach those around us.In 1998 Pastor Heinze presented to the congregation a burden that had been growing in his heart. He believed it was a burden from the Lord to consider relocating the ministry. In November of 1999, he formed the long-range planning committee and in 2000, the church voted to pursue the relocation.
Prior to relocating to Morrison Road we purchased land, hired an architect, voted to change the name of the church, embarked on a stewardship campaign, subdivided and sold our Sheridan campus, moved into an interim facility, and launched new ministries. In the middle of many changes however, the mission of the church remains the same, "To Know Christ and To Make Him Known."
July 10, 2005 we broke ground on the new property on Morrison Road (Lakewood, CO and Morrison, CO) and the name officially changed to Red Rocks Baptist Church. On March 25, 2007, the grand opening of Red Rocks Baptist Church in Morrison took place with more than 1,000 people in attendance. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."
It may have taken sixty years to travel the ten miles or so from the first Morrison Road location (church in Denver, CO) to the second Morrison Road location (church in Lakewood, CO), but when we travel in God's timing and at His pace we can rest assured His way is perfect.
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