Tuesday , 24 October 2017

It’s a Faith Walk: The Mission of Pastor Rock

Pastor Rock Carpenter’s kidneys have failed him.

The man well known to Dallas and McKinney as the Sugar Hill Pastor is difficult to find deep in the bowels of Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. He’s been moved several times from room to room as the doctors attempt to find the cause of his health problems. Since May, Pastor Rock has suffered from a tumor in his sinus cavity that required surgery. Now, his kidney function has stopped, and his life is threatened by multiple blood clots that could break free and travel to his heart or lungs. He is undergoing the rigors of chemotherapy.

Nevertheless, when I find Pastor Rock resting in his room, he is smiling. Having done battle with drug dealers and thugs in his fight for the disenfranchised of Collin County, he doesn’t seem to be too impressed with the direness of his condition. “It’s a faith walk,” he confesses, “but I know it’s happening for a reason.”
You see, just because Pastor Rock is flat on his back doesn’t mean he isn’t still fully engaged in spiritual warfare.

In 2007, the Pastor was profiled in a three part series for the Dallas Morning News for his tireless work to clean up the East Side of McKinney. For years, Pastor Rock has reached out to first the adults and then the children invisible to most citizens of one of the richest counties in America. He’s stood up to the drug trade, organized crime, and poverty to champion those in our county who have the least.

However, the Pastor makes a request after I introduce myself and settle in the chair next to his hospital bedside. I am not to refer to him as a civil rights champion or a hero. “I’m a servant, plain and simple,” he says. “And I don’t want this article to be about me.”

No, Pastor Rock’s indomitable spirit is unchanged by the illness that’s ravaging his body right now, as is his mission, which he requests I write down and include here verbatim:

Evangelize to the lost. Reclaim the drifting. Show compassion to the hurting. Give hope to the hopeless. Feed the hungry.

“It’s most important you write about the mission,” says Pastor Rock. I ask him how his recent decline in health has impacted his spirit and his participation in the fight.

“Everything happens for a reason,” says Pastor Rock. The Enemy knows he is a major threat to the forces of darkness, and spiritual warfare can manifest itself in the physical world. “I was getting too close,” he smiles.
Pastor Rock is referring to his church, Living Hope Church, being on the precipice of purchasing a beautiful abandoned church building located at 301 West Davis Street in McKinney, only blocks from where he stared down poverty and hardship on Sugar Hill.

“We’re going to provide shelter,” he says. When I ask him about the spiritual impact illness has had on his church’s mission, he smiles again. “There’s meaning and purpose to my being ill.”

Pastor Rock points out his illness has already served to bring a reporter to his room. “You wouldn’t be writing this article if I weren’t here,” he smiles. Pastor Rock is pleased his illness has brought attention once again to his life’s work: Evangelize to the lost. Reclaim the drifting. Show compassion to the hurting. Give hope to the hopeless. Feed the hungry.

“There are no accidents,” Pastor Rock sighs, closes his eyes, and rests his head against the pillows. We are interrupted by doctors. They tell him about the kidney dialysis he will begin the next day. They update him on the deadly blood clots floating in his legs. They, too, are clearly touched by Pastor Rock’s warmth and acceptance. He keeps smiling as they give him the bad news.

Evangelize to the lost. Reclaim the drifting. Show compassion to the hurting. Give hope to the hopeless. Feed the hungry.

“Faith is the opposite of fear,” the Pastor reminds me as we finish up our conversation. I tell him about a bumper sticker I once saw that said “If God is your co-pilot, switch seats.” He laughs heartily. “I’m here for a reason. It brought you here. You can spread the message that once we have that church building on Davis, we are going to provide shelter.”

Pastor Rock and Living Hope Church are in the midst of a $100,000 fund raising drive in order to purchase the beautiful historic church in the downtown McKinney area. Your donation is tax-exempt, and your generosity enables Living Hope Church to give to those who are not as fortunate. There is something we can all do.

Pastor Rock Carpenter believes his being ill might just be what draws attention to the fact that his work in East McKinney is far from over. Times are even tougher than they were when the Dallas Morning News profiled him in 2007. And in usual Pastor Rock fashion, he’s willing to carry this load if it means inspiring others to take up the cause with him:

Evangelize to the lost. Reclaim the drifting. Show compassion to the hurting. Give hope to the hopeless. Feed the hungry.


Donations for the purchase of the Davis Street Church can be sent to The Living Hope Church, PO Box 2092, McKinney, Texas, 75070.

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