We are a Christian congregation serving the Rim Country in Payson, Arizona.

Our Story

Rock of Ages started as a local mission by those who support the teaching of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).  The WELS has been around since 1850, and serves hundreds of thousands of Christians both in North America and around the world.

Rock of Ages began in 1979 when five families who treasured Scripture gathered together in Payson. They met regularly to grow in faith by gathering around God’s Word.  God blessed their planning, and the congregation soon called a full-time shepherd. In 2002 our current worship space was built and dedicated to God’s glory.  Today, Rock of Ages’ vision remains the same: 1) Find refuge in Jesus, our Rock and  2) Share the hope we have in Jesus with the Rim Country and beyond.


Our Shepherd

Pastor Tom Barthel began serving Rock of Ages in 2017.  He and his wife, Bethany, along with their eight young children, are excited to be a part of the Payson community.

Our Beliefs

We are members of WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod), a group of Christians united by a common confession of faith, which we are happy to share with you.

You’re invited to join a Starting Point class to learn the basics with us.  This class is for everyone who wants to learn the Bible or refresh their faith.  See our calendar or contact our pastor to schedule a time.

  • In an age of anxiety, we believe that real peace comes from Jesus Christ.
  • In an age of confusion, we believe that the Bible is the word of God; without error, and it will endure forever.
  • In an age of doubt, we believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
  • In an age of guilt, we believe that Jesus died on the cross to remove the power of sin from our lives.
  • In an age of hopelessness, we believe that Jesus rose physically from death; and so will we rise.
  • In an age of skepticism, we believe that God is at work in the sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.
  • In an age of despair, we believe God’s promises to heal and transform us.
  • In an age of violence, we believe that God calls us to embody his love in the world.
  • In an age of constant change, we believe in the unchanging Holy Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • Want to learn more? (Click Here)

Our Heritage

Rock of Ages follows the Bible first and foremost. We also hold to the Lutheran Confessions (found here). These documents were prepared in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation.  We recognize life is not the same today as it was in Germany in the 1500s.  We face many challenges, old and new.  But God remains the same forever. The truths of grace, love, redemption and the practical wisdom for life that God has given us through his Word, are just as real and useful today.  We seek to share the life giving message of Jesus honoring the past and looking to the future.