God moves beyond our wildest dreams! Solid Rock's story began over 40 years ago when He began to place a burden and desire upon a woman serving Him in the mission field of Africa. Pat Wilson sensed that God was leading her back to Wapello and began praying that God would reach Wapello with the Gospel and with a Church that would be actively preaching it.
On from this moment, God began to raise other people up around the area through the years with the same conviction. In 1994, the Lord directed Phill Hall, Church planter and Director of Missions with the Baptist Convention of Iowa into the communtiy of Wapello. Phill had been working with the work at the Louisa Center just outside of town, but saw that work come to a close. As Phill continued to be in the community, he felt God was saying He was going to work in this community. Phill had no idea of the other prayers going on in this community for a new church.
Shortly after Phill's impression, he received a phone call from another Director of Missions in Arkansas, Harrison Johns, who said they had felt the leadership of God to help establish a new church start in Iowa. He asked if Phill had any place in mind for them to become involved. On August 25-29, 1994, the group from Arkansas met with Phill and others from Iowa at the Roy El Motel in Wapello for a time of prayer to ask God for his direction on whether to start a Church in Wapello. Two things were decided out of this meeting: 1) They would wait until God raised up an initial contact family in Wapello. 2) They would wait until God raised up a sponsor church.
At the end of September, 1994, Dan Doolin, a pastor in Centertown, MO was visiting with a fellow pastor, Guy Thomas at an annual Association meeting in Jefferson City, MO. Guy shared the names of Chris and Lawrence Stigge who were residents in Wapello who might be interested in starting a Southern Baptist Church. The communtiy name, Wapello, resonated with Dan because he had heard his brother-in-law, Phill Hall, speak of it in family conversation. Dan shared the Stigge's name with Phill and the rest is history.
Phill met with the Stigge's in October. They agreed to work with Phill. In the mean time, First Southern Baptist Church in Burlington, IA made a unanimous decision to sponsor any work that might happen in Wapello. The two criteria out of the prayer meeting in August had been fulfilled. Madison Baptist Church in Fort Madison, Iowa also agreed to help in the Church start as did the Concord Baptist Association of Jefferson City, MO. The Baptist Convention of Iowa and Arkansas Association were already committed to helping the Church begin and exist.
On October 19, 1994, a communtiy meeting of interest was held at the Heritage Center in Wapello. Eighteen people came. Phill shared how a church could begin. The group committed to the start. In November 1994, Paul Patterson, Pastor of First Southern Burlington, and his wife, Verlee, came to Wapello and began working with the children in this original group. Phill became the initial leader for the group followed by Mike Roberts who taught an "Introduction to the Christian Life and What it Means to Be a Southern Baptist Church". Ken Barlow of Ft. Madison, IA then followed and became the interim pastor. The group moved from the Heritage Center to meeting at the Wapello State Bank. The search for a full-time pastor began and the group was quickly growing.
Within two years, a group of around 50 people were regularly coming to Solid Rock. During this time, the group moved to CC's Place in Wapello for their meeting place. Two pastoral candidates were dealt with during this period of time, but neither worked out. But God was still moving. In August of 1996, God placed two pastors back together at a Summer Children's Camp, Dan Doolin and Guy Thomas. Guy shared with Dan that Wapello still did not have a pastor. Dan felt the Holy Spirit moving in his life and after talking with his wife and praying to God, he submitted a resume. In December of 1996, Solid Rock called Dan Doolin as their first full-time pastor. Dan, his wife Lori, and his children, Bailey and Tanner moved onto the field in March of 1997.
In September 1997, Solid Rock moved to a new meeting facility - the REC building at 829 1/2 Washington Street in Wapello. God began to pour out his spirit after this move with leading 23 people to identify their lives with him in baptism, church membership,and dedicated service. The church voted to build a multpurpose worship center that would accomodate 300 people and accepted a land donation of five acres from Grimm Brothers Plastics Corporation of Wapello.
In April of 1998, a constitution committee was formed and charged with the writing of the church constitution. The purpose of this was to break ties with our mother church, First Southern Baptist Church in Burlington, and to become a legal entity so Solid Rock could own real estate. This was the first major step in Solid Rock's building program. The constitution was adopted on August 9, 1998 and Solid Rock became an independent Church working cooperatively with the Great Rivers Southern Baptist Association, The Baptist Convention of Iowa, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
In November of 1999, Solid Rock moved once again to a larger facility across from the Wapello Elementary School at 514 N. Cedar and is continuing to grow in attendance and membership.
On May 30, 2004, Solid Rock moved into its new multipurpose worship facility at 14041 Locust St. in Wapello.
The Solid Rock story tells of the faithfulness of God's plan for Wapello. A prayer that began over 40 years ago is now being completed. Solid Rock is established, growing and working now on building a permanent worship center. God has used the cooperation of Southern Baptists in three states to bring this work to existence. He has challenged people who have lived most of their lives in Wapello to faithfully serve Him. Those who helped start the work and especially the local members have paid the price for Solid rock to exist. Everyone at Solid Rock knows that our purpose for existence is not to build our name, but to carry Christ to our community.