Red Rocks Church began in the unlikeliest of places—the back of a remote, run-down theme park named Heritage Square—in Golden, Colorado on January 9, 2005.
Red Rocks Church began by word-of-mouth and only the bravest souls made the long hike up the hill to the back of Heritage Square for church. As we met in our small, rented space, a spirit of unity formed which grew the church from 100 to 500 people, and then 500 to 2,000 people. Individuals were finding community, serving alongside one another, giving their lives to Christ, and sharing the love of God with their families and friends.
We called Heritage Square home, embraced its many oddities (one example: a miniature train that you could ride, which ran around the perimeter of the park), and even made our first RRC rap video about it, but it became apparent that we would soon need another location. Red Rocks Church’s second campus launched on Easter weekend, 2012, and in pure Red Rocks style the Littleton Campus was previously a run-down dinner theater.
The options were now plentiful; you could sit in the 100 degree/no-air-conditioning auditorium in Golden or you could sit in the former dinner-theater auditorium in Littleton, where a room full of old theater costumes sat next to the stage. Regardless of the unorthodox locations and their many quirks, the Word of God reached thousands of people and soon our locations were approaching 6,000 attendees and hundreds of people were giving their lives to Christ each year.
Following the same multi-site model, Red Rocks began holding services at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility with the prison ministry God Behind Bars. Hundreds of women packed the prison’s gymnasium to watch the message and worship alongside our other Denver campuses.
In late 2014, we were informed that our building’s lease in Heritage Square would not be renewed and that the theme park would be torn down altogether. The hunt for a new location began again, but a brand new building was out of the question; God had made it clear that this church was meant to build stories, not to build new buildings.
A Vietnamese grocery store, that was for sale in Lakewood, soon came to the attention of the Red Rocks Church leadership team. It contained aisles of food, rows of fish on ice, and even live frogs. The enormous space wasn’t pretty, but it was perfect in terms of size, parking, and location.
Red Rock Church’s “Building Stories” campaign raised the money needed to purchase the building, and a temporary Denver location, nicknamed “Catfish” (for its large size, and unfortunately because of the smell). The Catfish Campus served as additional space for us until the Lakewood Campus opened its doors in February 2015.
That year, God again showed us that He was leading the church and that He was in complete control. Abundant Life Church in Arvada approached us with a large building and a proposal: they would sell their church building to Red Rocks if we would help reach the people of Arvada with the gospel.
In September 2015, the Arvada Campus launched with overflowing crowds. The church building had once been office spaces, so it fit in nicely with the theme park, theater, and grocery store that housed our other campuses. Shortly after, a second God Behind Bars campus opened outside of Colorado Springs in the men’s Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility.
On Easter 2016 we hosted our last services at Heritage Square, and finished things off with one final rap video to bid adieu to our beloved “creepy theme park.” Shortly after the Heritage Square campus closure, plans began for a set-up/tear-down campus in Evergreen, Colorado.
In June 2016, the Evergreen Campus of Red Rocks Church began meeting in the auditorium of Evergreen High School. Just four months later, Red Rocks Church also launched its first international location in Brussels, Belgium. The Brussels Campus met in St. John’s International School and an amazing team from Red Rocks worked tirelessly to connect with those in Brussels who desired to call Red Rocks home.
Red Rocks Church’s Littleton, Lakewood, Arvada, Evergreen, Brussels, and GBB Campuses were now reaching thousands of people. Hundreds of individuals were getting connected in groups, giving their lives to Christ, and getting baptized each year.
After two years serving in the mountain community, the Evergreen Campus closed its doors and God opened up a possibility for our set-up and tear-down equipment to be used in another state entirely.
In August of 2018 Red Rocks Church branched out with an entirely new location in Austin, Texas. The Austin launch team moved from Denver to Texas and began planting a new location there. After months of development, the Red Rocks Austin location kicked off services in early 2019! Later that year a third God Behind Bars location began in the men’s Sterling Correctional Facility in Colorado.
Right when it seemed like our love of quirky spaces might be at an end, a large building that had previously been a gym (complete with locker rooms, a giant climbing wall, and a bit of a smell) went up for sale in the Park Meadows area.
After renovations were complete, the Park Meadows campus opened in November 2019 and hundreds of people called the location home immediately (many of them who had been part of other Red Rocks Campuses for years)!
As 2020 began, the Red Rocks Austin location kicked off services in their newly renovated building and in March of 2020 each of our locations transitioned to online-only as the Coronavirus emerged. In this season of transition it was made clear that Red Rocks Church is not defined by its buildings or physical spaces, but by the presence of God in its people. Red Rocks Church met online beginning in March and over 40k households joined us as we celebrated Easter 2020 together! Throughout 2020, Red Rocks Church provided consistency and truth to individuals and families during a truly unprecedented time.
Red Rocks Church’s journey from 2005 to now has been filled with celebrations, miraculous moments, and amazing spiritual growth. Regardless of what happens next, Red Rocks Church’s mission is to “make Heaven more crowded” and to prioritize authenticity, humility, unity, and generosity. As we pray about what’s next for the church, we keep these things at the forefront of our minds.
If you have been part of the Red Rocks Church family for any amount of time during this season, we want to say thank you! Thank you to those who have prayed, served, sacrificed, and contributed for the sake of advancing the work of God in our cities. We are truly one heart, one mind, and united in the purpose God has for us and we can’t wait for what lies ahead!