In 1863 a party of 30 prospectors discovered gold seven miles south of Prescott and on Lynx Creek a few miles east of Prescott. Prescott was born and the next year President Lincoln signed legislation establishing the Territory of Arizona, for which Prescott became its first capital. In 1879 Indian raiders were still active across the Arizona Territory. Fort Whipple, a mile outside Prescott’s northeast border, was manned by Army cavalry put there to protect Prescottonians and outlying ranchers from Indian depredations, although by then most of the Yavapai Indians, the ones who originally occupied the territory about Prescott, had been forced to move to the Apache reservation at San Carlos. In all the territory there were only eight Protestant churches but some five hundred saloons. If there was ever a region in need of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, this was it. Into this untamed, central Arizona mining town through the providence of God a Baptist missionary was directed to venture.
It was in 1879 that the Rev. R.A. Windes, his wife and two small children came riding from Alabama in a wagon drawn by their two mules. Determined to establish a Baptist church in Prescott, Rev. Windes sought a nucleus of Baptists for the start of a congregation, but discovered, in his words, that “Baptists were as scarce as hen’s teeth.” Nevertheless, four were found. These in 1880 became the nucleus of a congregtion named the Lone Star Baptist Church, the first Baptist church to be established in all the Territory of Arizona. The congregation first met in the Methodist church, later in a schoolhouse being built north of town in Miller Valley. Soon for $2,500 a lot was purchased and a house of worship built on Academy Hill. This was on Fleury Street, the present location of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Rev. Windes came under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society.
In 1884 Pastor Windes left to take up mission activities elsewhere in Arizona, the pastorate being taken by Rev. J.M. Green, also sent by the Home Mission Society, as were several pastors to follow. The congregtion, now filling the little church, decided to move, the move being contemplated, according to an article in the Weekly Arizona Miner, because “people of weak lung power find it impossible to make the ascension to the temple of God in one day, hence many are deterred from attempting the journey.” The building was pulled on log rollers to its new site on South Cortez just south of the present downtown Post Office.
Over the next several years, the growing church membership purchased three properties on the corner of Goodwin and Marina, the present location of the church. In 1922 the church began the construction of the Stone Building that stands on the northwest corner of the intersection. In 1925 a local bank failed and the congregation lost its substantial savings of $1,800 which had been put aside toward the new building. Nevertheless, with a loan from the American Baptist Home Mission Society, the building was completed. The auditorium of the new church was up a flight of steps into what is now the gymnasium. On Easter Sunday, April 17, 1927, the building was dedicated.
In 1934 the church voted to change its name from the Lone Star Baptist to the First Baptist Church of Prescott. In 1950 the church formally affiliated with the Conservative Baptist Association. This is a voluntary association of Bible-believing Baptist churches for fellowship and missionary endeavors, following the historic Baptist principle of independent local churches committed to common faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.
As the Tri Cities area population explanded, the church had a concern for its spiritual needs and founded the Prescott Heights Baptist Church on Rosser Street (now the Heights Church on Larry Caldwell Drive). With its ongoing concern for local missions, the church later founded both Grace Baptist in Chino Valley and Bethel Baptist in Prescott Valley.
The congregation continued to grow, especially under the ministry of Rev. Roy H. Boldt, who arrived on the field in 1955. In 1958 work was begun on a new and more spacious auditorium, the one now used for worship services. It was completed and dedicated on July 8-10, 1960, the membership then reaching 428. Subsequently an educational wing was added, and later a structure facing the courthouse on Cortez Street was purchased and remodeled to become the H.Allan Smyth Educational Building. The building was named for a popular and dynamic pastor who served from 1975 to 1982, his ministry tragically ended by cancer. Christian education has been a concern of the congregation, so in 1981 the church began the Christian Academy of Prescott, which makes use of church facilities during weekdays. The Academy serves children from preschool through eighth grades.
By 2001 the active membership had grown to 711. With its continued growth, the church needed more room for its varied ministries, and so purchased the former building of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church across Union Street and the Union Station on Union Street.
In 2015, the church once again decided to change its name. While Solid Rock Christian Fellowship remains part of the Conservative Baptist Association, locally Southwest Church Connection, it desired to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider a new identity in the Prescott Community. The church was renamed with the hope of clarifying who we are, and reduce the confusion over what the name “baptist” has come to represent in our current culture. We believe that “Solid Rock” reminds us to live on the Rock, who is Christ; that we are distinctly “Christian” in our beliefs and behaviors; and that we desire to gather together in mutual edification and “Fellowship” as God’s word reveals.
Over the years the church’s growth has come because it has never lost sight of its call to proclaim the gospel of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone and to build and strengthen each of its members spiritually through preaching and teaching the whole counsel of the Word of God. Neither has the church lost sight of its divine commission to reach others at home and abroad with the message of Christ through its support of home and foreign missions.