The Rock Church, located in Liberty Station at 2277 Rosecrans Street, San Diego, CA 92111, is home to over 18,000 people in San Diego that attend church services at one of The Rock’s five campuses or watch the online broadcast. Beginning at San Diego State University on February 27th, 2000, The Rock opened its campus in Liberty Station in 2007, where it has continued to grow and expand internally and through the start of its four additional campuses.
Along with its size, the Rock Church is a force that leverages itself to make a difference in the community. Currently, the church runs over 60 outreach ministries, ranging from programs for teachers in the community to human trafficking victims.
In June of 2018, the work of the Rock Church expanded further into the community when they purchased the body shop called “Nude Girls” located at 3776 Riley Street for $1.2 million.
Chuck Leslie, pastor of stewardship at The Rock Church, oversees special projects at the church, and this project fell into his purview. He said that this process began when a church member, who had been praying about the strip club for years, notified the church in an email that the property was for sale. The property was being looked at by others in the original industry, and the church did not want this to continue as the fate of the property.
“We realized we had to buy the property or someone else in the industry was going to buy it,” Leslie said. “We started the process of buying it so that it can never be a strip club again.”
The Rock came together with supporters from the community to purchase the property, forming a Limited Liability Company, with The Rock as the biggest owner group. The Rock contributed around half of the $1.2 million needed for the purchase, with all of the funds specifically donated to The Rock for this reason. The influence of the church was seen in this purchase, as a large portion of the funds, according to Leslie, were donated by people who are not affiliated with the church outside of their donation.
Currently, the church is in the process of deciding what will happen to the building. The church may utilize the property as a women’s resource center in the future if funds are available. In the meantime, the church is committed to holding the property for two years, as the license for the use of the property as a strip club will expire at that point.
“They are trying to turn it into something more beneficial for the community, so if you look at the heart behind it, I think it is a good thing,” said Victoria Rupp, a junior managerial and organizational management major at Point Loma, who attends The Rock Church.
“We have received a lot of praise for this purchase,” Leslie said. “These exist, but they shouldn’t have to be right in your face. We just want to be a part of creating a positive neighborhood. We love the women who work in these clubs, we love the men who go, but we want to show them a better way.”