Rocket Town Church began as a local bible study, called an "Access Group," of God's House Orlando. Within that group were those who were committed to the launch of Rocket Town Church. The vision for a new church in Titusville was to start a church that “I would want to go to” and believe that others would want to come as well. The vision was for a church that was biblically- based, casual in dress, exciting and contemporary in worship, believed in healing and the gifts of the Spirit in the church, and was outward focused. The church met from the fall of 2007 until fall of 2009 in Steve and April Goodner’s living room ; then for three months we met at 8850 Grissom Parkway in Titusville in a rented banquet hall for what was called “pre-launch services” on Tuesday evenings. Then on January 17th 2010 Rocket Town Church met for the first Sunday morning services, and a new church was planted. After about a year the church began meeting at the Police Hall of Fame banquet room. In May 2012 Rocket Town Church rented it’s own building at 230 Grace St and began to grow quickly.
New Venture Church began as something of a restart of Titusville First Church of God. Originally organized under Pastor Ron Holder in 1962 in a home, the church soon built a building at 77 N. Carpenter Road where it reached the community for over forty years. In mid 2007 the church brought in Pastor Charlie Arms who was given a mandate to essentially re-launch the church as New Venture Church. This fresh start would be outward focused, contemporary. Under Pastor Charlie’s leadership the church began to grow quickly. Before long the church sold the building and began to meet first at Astronaut High School, and then in February 2012 began renting space at 3910 S. Washington Ave.
New Venture Church of Rocket Town was the result of a marvelous work of God. In August 2012 Pastor Charlie felt that his work in Titusville with New Venture Church had been accomplished and it was time for his family to move on. He then contacted Pastor Steve of Rocket Town Church to consider Pastoring New Venture because he felt that both churches had a very similar vision and approach to reach the community. The result of much prayer and planning was the merger of the two churches into one new body of believers under the name New Venture Church of Rocket Town. The church would meet at New Venture’s building, would have Rocket Town’s pastor, and would merge all other staff, board and ministry functions. This could never have happened by the plans of men, but by the leadership of God, was accomplished with an amazingly smooth transition. The entire body came out of the merge stronger and healthier than ever as we look to the future.
ROCKET TOWN CHURCH (2014)
For eleven long years, the building at 4525 Apollo Rd in Titusville, FL has languished as an unofficial hub for graffiti, petty theft, and pointless destruction. Built in 1995, once the home of New Life Christian Fellowship, now located on US-1, the aqua-roofed structure was abandoned for a larger one in 2004, and the building was empty ever since. Locals, when referencing the once holy building, casually used the term 'Graffiti Church', as the frequent break-ins and resulting defacement of the property were, for the last decade, its most noticeable attribute.
Space Coasters will be calling it the "Graffiti Church" no longer, however, because in July 2014 Rocket Town Church bought the building. To many, this was a bold move as most of the walls had been kicked in, the doors were hanging from their hinges, and there was not a window left unbroken. Indeed, there was such a level of disrepair that some commented that it might have been easier to level the property and start again.
Big changes are nothing new to the members of Rocket Town Church. In 2012, the original RTC merged with New Venture Church, also in Titusville, to form "New Venture Church of Rocket Town" which was later shortened again to "Rocket Town Church". The members of both entities embraced each other with open hearts, successfully completing a transition that has broken weaker parties, and proving their fearlessness and dedication to unite the community.
Therefore, when this new project was brought to their laps, the hearty members of Rocket Town Church were undaunted. There is a lot of history in this building for many people in the area, including Will and Michelle Merklinger, who had been married in the church when it belonged to New Life. They aren't the only ones who share a connection with it and their past -Pastor Steve Goodner (of Rocket Town Church) himself met his wife, April, after a New Life sermon in the attached building, now to be used as offices and classrooms. Neighbors living nearby have expressed joy at the endeavor, both at the rise in property value as well as a safe and loving environment to bring their children and friends to hear and grow in Jesus Christ.
The renovations were completed mainly by the selflessness of volunteers and donations by local businesses. Pastor Steve, a few retired handymen, and dedicated electricians arrived early and left late day after day to replace windows, hang drywall, provide power, and bring life to the once neglected building. "There is not a single member of this church who has not shown up with the extent of their abilities to paint, scrub, hammer, shovel, or otherwise to make this place our Home." says Pastor Steve, both humbled by and proud of his congregation.
After months in a rented office building followed by two weeks of praising from the parking lot, Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 was the first service inside the sanctuary, now carpeted and painted like new. Pastor Steve led the Congregationin a tearful dedication ceremony, reclaiming the resurrected church as holy ground. Enthusiastic to share this place of worship with the surrounding community and beyond, Rocket Town Church hosted what was called "5 Nights of Praise" from Sunday the 22nd to Thursday the 26th starting at 7pm. Guest Speakers Worldwide Missionary/Pastor Samuel Pawlak Sr, Youth Pastor Pete Morrison of Rocket Town Church, Pastor Sammy Pawlak Jr of God's House Orlando,and Pastor Larry Linkous of New Life Christian Fellowship lead attendees in worship and thankfulness for the blessings God has provided.
"It's a chance to breathe life back into what used to be an eyesore." Pastor Steve says, allegorically to the new start given to those who accept Christ into their lives and are made new. If you are interested in seeing what God is doing in Rocket Town Church, adult and youth services are every Sunday at 10:30am, and free coffee and pastries can be found in the back of the sanctuary at the Common Grounds Cafe!
Come and find... "A better way to do life!"
-Kimberlee D. Long