Madison residents Brian and Shannon Bradford spent many years working and praying through the logistics of one day launching a new church in this area, so they were ecstatic when their family finally arrived in north Alabama in the fall of 2019 to bring their vision to life.
Rocket City Church in Madison, Alabama
They decided early that their non-denominational church would be named Rocket City Church.
As natural planners, they had it all worked out: they’d spend a year getting to know our community better while building authentic relationships and developing a launch team. Their 2020 calendars showed a slew of planned events and gatherings that would all culminate in a highly-anticipated, celebratory first official launch day/church service in September 2020.
But we all know how 2020 played out, and the Bradfords were forced to pivot.
Despite a year that looked highly different than they planned with more challenges and roadblocks than they could have ever anticipated, the Bradford’s faith and confidence in their mission never wavered. They know there are people in this area who need Jesus, community, and hope.
And now, it’s go time. Houston, Rocket City Church is ready for launch!
About Sunday Services at Rocket City Church
This Sunday, January 24th, 2021, RCC will hold its first-ever church services at Cineplanet 15 at 9:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Attendees can expect a roughly 60-minute service that includes practical teachings, upbeat high-energy music, and a vibrant kids ministry. Online live-stream services will also be available via Facebook.
“Guests can expect a very modern, contemporary service,” shared Pastor Brian.
The kid’s ministry is available for children from birth through fifth grade with rooms that will be broken up by age group. Each class will include adult leaders and have its own curriculum, music, storytime, and general fun.
Guests are encouraged to pre-register online so that RCC can better prepare their kids area, proper socially distant seating, and more. Though encouraged, pre-registration is not required. Shannon shared that a guest check-in area will be available in the lobby and that she and other launch team members can’t wait to meet you and your family on Sunday.
Shannon shared that they “will be following all COVID state guidelines, include mask-wearing, seating that is 6+ feet apart (our location in the movie theater lends itself to that), temperature checks for all volunteers, and capping capacity (which is why we are recommending pre-registration).” To read more about their COVID-19 response, click here.
Pastor Brian shared that his family “clearly felt God’s call” to north Alabama.
“There are over 150,000 people in the Rocket City that are spiritually unresolved or who say that they do not have a church home.”
He continued to say that “that’s 150,000 reasons that another life-giving church is needed in this area.”
The Bradford family moved to Alabama from Chicago but have actually lived in several parts of the country. Shannon is originally from Chicago and Pastor Brian grew up in Louisiana.
“We feel like this is the perfect mix between who we are. Neither of us is from here, and there are so many new transplants here just like us,” Shannon shared. “Come and be new with us!”
Pastor Brian joked about how he visited Huntsville 30 years ago to attend Space Camp, and that as a kid he loved rockets, space, and all things NASA.
“All of that interest is now coming full circle as we launch a church here in the Rocket City!”
Despite the complications of a global pandemic that have tried hard to throw a wrench in launching RCC, Pastor Brian and Shannon and their launch team have pushed forward with optimism, excitement, and expectancy for what’s to come.
“You can’t stop hope in the midst of a pandemic,” shared Pastor Brian. “Hope and community will still continue in spite of all the factors that have been fighting against us. We don’t ever want to stop pushing forward in spite of these obstacles.”
When asked what they’re most excited about when it comes to finally launching RCC, Brian shared that he can’t wait to meet people who may feel spiritually or socially disconnected and help them find a place to call home.
“Piggy-backing off of that,” says Shannon, “I can’t wait to watch people find connection with one another again. This is one of the biggest reasons we chose this area to plant this church. We knew that so many people would be moving here from other places, and there is so much difficulty that comes with that for them, especially in this tough season.”
Pastor Brian says that “the pandemic has reinforced our need for community and for people to have hope in something other than what this world has to offer.”
“I want people to find connection,” added Shannon. “I want them to find their people that they’ll do life with and that they can grow together with as they take their next steps in their faith journey.”
The Bradfords both emphasized that people are always looking for a fresh place to start, whether they are newly married, new parents, new to our area, or just looking for a fresh start in general.
“There is no better time and no better place than right here, right now. New churches help people start new.”
The heart of Rocket City Church
Brian and Shannon emphasized numerous times that they are passionate about creating a place where others will feel like they belong no matter what.
The mission of Rocket City Church is “to help people to know and follow Jesus.”
“That’s the end goal, period. Whether we have a church of 200 people or 2,000 people, we want to be a church that is healthy, vibrant, and that is regularly seeing people come to faith.”
What makes RCC different?
Pastor Brian says that a key distinctive for this church is that “we are uniquely passionate about equipping you to reach your friends, relatives, neighbors, and co-workers with the love of Jesus.”
He continues to say that “our model is to help you see that you are so blessed by God, in a way that you may not even realize how blessed you are. We want people to see that they can bless the people in their lives as well.”
Rocket City Church places a high emphasis on meeting people right where they are in their faith journey, whether they’ve been a follower of Christ for decades or whether they don’t believe in God at all.
“We want to be that place for you to come and just be. You don’t have to have this figured out because none of us have arrived at that point just yet,” shared Shannon.
“Come see what it’s all about,” encouraged Pastor Brian. “There is no us without you.”
To read more about what they spiritually believe, click here.
To give financially and support Rocket City Church, click here.
To pre-register for Sunday’s service, click here.