Along with the exploding population of Midlothian, one church is in the midsts of development at the northwest corner of U.S. Highway 287 and Walnut Grove Road. The steel beams of Stonegate Church stand on the 23-acre lot and await completion in October.
Not only does the size set the church apart but also the programs that are in place. Pastor Rodney Hobbs expressed his joy with the success of Stonegate’s children and student ministries. The church also boasts of a more intense discipleship ministry for marriage, called “What Did You Expect?” Also, it has a specialty class for finances, called “Crown Ministries,” and offers a program that’s more generally known as “Redemption Groups.”
Unlike most modern churches, it has an Orphan Care Ministry program that supports and helps families within their church with resources for them to get involved in adoption and fostering.
Lastly, Stonegate also has a worship residency, which involves training future worship leaders, and a church planting residency, where staff teaches future church planters.
Hobbs is not sure but said he feels that Stonegate’s new facilities will make them one of the largest churches in the city of Midlothian. Stonegate currently hosts two services at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. every Sunday. Hobbs plans to continue to have two services in the new building, with the bonus of the new auditorium, which will give the church plenty of room to grow.
The 38-year-old pastor realizes that he, his staff and congregation have the wonderful opportunity of impacting even more lives in the area of evangelism. The thriving church, which affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, broke ground on Sept. 24, 2017, and plans to open in October of 2018.
A MOBILE CHURCH
Stonegate originally planted its roots in August 2009, which comprised of only 20 to 30 people in a living room. But over the years, Hobb’s family relocated to Midlothian and was even operating inside of the Midlothian Conference Center.
“When our church looks back over the last eight years of its existence, we are so grateful to Jesus. There is so much to celebrate,” Hobbs elaborated. “My new little family, wife Laura Hobbs, baby Hannah (now nine) and I relocated to Midlothian in November of 2009, just a few months after we publicly launched Stonegate.”
“Our church has been ‘mobile’ for the last eight years. The City of Midlothian has been so gracious to us, allowing us to meet inside of the Midlothian Conference Center,” Hobbs explained. “We are so excited about our new base for mission, and can’t wait to move into our new complex, tentatively set to open in October of 2018.”
FINDING HIS PASSION
Hobbs grew up in a small town in Oklahoma and thought of himself as a regular guy in high school. His younger years were full of sports like wrestling, football, and golf, as well as, trying to catch big bass, and hunting. After graduating from high school, he later attended the University of Oklahoma, where he obtained an undergraduate degree in finance.
“Go, Boomer Sooner,” Hobbs exclaimed.
When asked how and when he decided to become involved in Christian ministry, he replied with the question, “How long do you have?” He continued, “When I say that I’m a pastor, I still have to double check that — just to make sure it’s right. Growing up, I would never have dreamed I’d be a pastor — which I now consider to be the greatest job in the world. The journey toward that began when my student minister asked me to come back to my hometown to intern after my freshmen year of college. I didn’t know it at the time, but that particular ‘Yes’ changed the trajectory of my life.”
“That led to another internship at my home church the next summer, and then another internship at Walnut Ridge after the summer of my junior year,” he continued. “It was during that summer that it became more apparent that my gifting seemed to work in vocational ministry. Soon after Walnut Ridge offered me a job, and the rest is history.”
Hobbs claims pastoring is the greatest job because he serves the local community.
As one of the pastors of our church - God’s given me a front row seat to His power to change a human life,” Hobbs gleamed. “I get to see marriages rescued by Jesus. I get to see Jesus satisfy the hearts of people. Pastoring feels like an unbelievable privilege Jesus has given me.”
VISION FOR THE FUTURE
As he looks into the future, Hobbs explained, “We want to be a church that serves Jesus and serves our city. So, we’re praying our new base for mission would be a help to Midlothian, a place where people find refreshment and new life in Jesus.”
In conclusion, Hobbs exclaimed, “I have sleepless nights thinking about those disconnected from Jesus and disconnected from his bride, the church! That need will never be anything less than great and urgent. The need is even more critical when you consider the future of our city.”
He mentioned the inevitable growth and interpreted it as an opportunity for gospel advancement.
“Over time our city is expected to grow to somewhere between 60,000 and 90,000 people,” Hobbs relayed. “There is a great need for every church in Midlothian to live “sent” lives for the sake of those here now and those who are coming soon.”