Our visit to Rock Road Chapel seemed long overdue, but God’s timing was absolutely perfect! It was our first Church Journey for 2018, and it was no coincidence that we started the New Year here. Located on Rock Road in the Helderberg Mountains, this church is built upon the ROCK! This “city on a hill” has been shining its light to the world for decades. Pastor Jay Francis is the humble vessel God chose to lead this effort, and he is the spiritual father to so many in the Capital Region and beyond. He has produced an abundance of fruit since he first began in 1965, and he has no plans to lay his head just yet.
Butch Robinson and a group of friendly folks greeted us and took us for a tour. Butch explained some of the history of the church, sharing how they had a fire in 2008. Their entire church facility was burned to the ground, but Pastor Jay’s Bible was found unscathed. The congregation continued to have tent services, and eventually rebuilt. Their current facility is a sign of God’s faithfulness! He brought them through the fire and provided for their every need.
As we entered, I saw the wonderful display of banners and flags. Many were made by Barbara Schrell, a local woman known to many for her amazing banner making skills. I also noticed there was a dedicated prayer room located at the front of the sanctuary. Worship was starting and I immediately recognized these gifted musicians; Mike Griffin and Michelle Adams. Their songs were prophetic, lining up perfectly with the messages that were brought forth in the service. As we sang “This is the Year of the Favor of the Lord”, a group of young children waved banners as they joyfully paraded through the aisles of the sanctuary. Following the worship, Pastor Jay shared some fatherly wisdom that he had as a bulletin insert entitled “Actions for the New Year”. He had 25 “to do” items listed and encouraged us to hang them on our fridge to serve as a reminder. Then he gathered the flock together at the altar to take communion.
Congregant David Robertson shared a dream he had and interpreted it: “Rise up in this new season. Forget the things of the past; the failures and the disappointments. Arise and walk in what I have for you, for this day I roll away your reproach.” Then Pastor Sharon Carlson spoke a word for 2018, sharing Isaiah 43:18-19: “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” She encouraged everyone to be open to allow God to work through us to do a new thing and ask God to give us a word. Let’s come into the new mindset that God has for us.
I had only heard about the anointed teaching of Pastor Jay Francis, and now I had the opportunity to hear it firsthand. He spoke of 2018 being a YEAR OF ENCOUNTERS. The Bible is filled with encounters. Billy Graham, Joyce Meyer and Billy Sunday all have had encounters with God. We must be open to a GOD ENCOUNTER. May we be ready to be blessed beyond! He read a bulletin insert entitled “2018 – a Year of Encounter”. He spoke about “Digging Ditches”, quoting 2 Kings 3:15-18; “Make this valley full of ditches. For thus says the Lord: You shall not see wind, nor shall you see rain, yet that valley shall be filled with water so that you, your cattle and animals may drink”. We must continue to “dig ditches” by obeying God’s word, through true praise & worship, by thanking God and helping others fulfill their destiny. The worship, the dream, Pastor Sharon’s message, and now Pastor Jay’s message … every part of this service flowed together in a way only God could have orchestrated.
The church is very closely connected in partnership with International Accelerated Missions, a ministry meeting discipleship, outreach and humanitarian needs in our region, country and throughout the world. Pastor Jay is the founder/president and Pastor Sharon serves as overseer/ vice-president. The annual “IAM” conference is held at Rock Road each Spring with passionate worship and relevant messages by prominent speakers in the Body of Christ. Rock Road Chapel serves their community in a variety of ways. They provide food and personal care items to those in need (Wed. 7-9am & Sat. 9-11am) and provide clothing, household items and furniture as needs arise. Every Wednesday morning the church blesses their neighbors by inviting them to a free, hot breakfast served from 7-9am. They are also a certified Red Cross emergency shelter to help those displaced in the event of a natural disaster.
Pastor Jay has always had a vision for Unity in the Body of Christ. He began the Capital District Minister’s Fellowship which brings pastors and churches together, to complement one another and pray together. I share Pastor Jay’s passion to reach across the lines of division in the Body of Christ. This church and this man has a reach that goes so far beyond the area of Berne / Westerlo / Knox … far beyond the Capital Region … and to the world!
Church Website – www.rockroadchapel.org
By Donna Hansen Munafo