The purpose and vision of River Church is to be a family of disciples who make disciples of Jesus, for the glory of God and the joy of all peoples.
"BE A FAMILY"
After washing their feet, Jesus said to His disciples “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
The church is not a building, but is a family that demonstrates the love of God toward one another, and evidences the love of God to the world. We love, serve, and commit to one another. We give sacrificially in order to be a blessing to one another. And we gather regularly to be present with one another.
We have been adopted into a family where we all share the same Heavenly Father. Therefore, we love one another relentlessly, as God has loved us.
In one of Jesus' final commands to His disciples, He told them to "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19) Jesus' command to make disciples was given to those who had been His disciples first. He didn't tell them to make disciples without first showing them how. He made disciples in His three year ministry, and then told his disciples to go and do likewise.
So, what is a “disciple”? What does it mean to “be a disciple of Jesus”? Disciple literally means “learner” or “apprentice”. Disciples in Jesus' day would follow their Rabbi wherever he went, learning from his teaching and learning to do what he did. So, to be a disciple of Jesus means to follow Him, learn from His teaching through His Word, and, by His enabling, to do the things He did. And as we follow Jesus, we become more like Him.
It's very important that being a disciple precedes making disciples. Making disciples is hugely important, but unless we are following Jesus ourselves and depending on His power to work through us, our attempts to make disciples will be ineffective and exhausting. Before all of our service and efforts to reach our town and our world with the gospel of Jesus, we value first sitting daily at the feet of Jesus, enjoying a real relationship with God through Him, through reading His Word and through prayer.
Jesus has given His church one major task: make disciples. If we don’t make disciples well, it doesn’t matter what else we’re good at. We desire to faithfully make disciples of Jesus, doing so in His authority and in the power of His presence with us. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Our efforts to make disciples intentionally with our lives take both organic and organized forms. Organically, we seek to share the gospel and our lives with each other and our neighbors. Our desire is to grow together as followers of Jesus and to share the amazing news of free and full salvation through Jesus to friends in our community who don’t follow Him yet.In our organized approach to making disciples, our leaders teach from the Bible on Sunday mornings in order to equip the church to engage in gospel ministry throughout the week. And outside of Sundays, our people meet in smaller groups to grow one another, and to hold each other accountable to the mission of God.
"FOR THE GLORY OF GOD"
Why would we say that our being disciples of Jesus and our making disciples of Jesus is all about the glory of God? What does “glory” mean? In the Old Testament, glory means “heaviness” or “weight” - the glory of something is its mass, the main part of something, what makes it itself. “Glory” carries with it the idea of honor, greatness, and value.
The Bible talks about God's glory having a brightness or a radiance about it. So God's glory is, in essence, the brightness of His character and His ways. It is the essence and greatness of who He is.The Bible says that we can actually bring God glory or give Him glory when we live in a way that acknowledges, shows, or honors His greatness.When we say we “glorify God”, we are not giving God glory that He didn't have before, but we are ascribing to Him or recognizing the glory He already has. To glorify God in this way is the reason why He made mankind, so that our joy might be made full in knowing Him (Isaiah 43:6-7; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 10:31).
This is the great privilege and purpose of our lives: to so enjoy God through Jesus that we show Him to be as valuable as He truly is, and to lead other people to do the same.
"FOR THE JOY OF ALL PEOPLES"
Our desire is to be a local church with a global impact. Being and making disciples of Jesus for the joy of all peoples is an extension of being and making disciples for the glory of God.Our vision is a global vision because Jesus’ command to us to make disciples was a global mandate (Matthew 28:19)
Our vision is a global vision because Jesus’ command to us to make disciples was a global mandate (Matthew 28:19). We know that one day, every tribe and tongue and people and nation will be represented around the throne of Jesus. We find ourselves in the middle of this massive, worldwide movement of seeing the peoples of the world become worshipers of the only one who’s worthy, and we’ve been given an incredible invitation from Him to be a catalyst for the expansion of His kingdom, one disciple at a time.
We know that one day, every tribe and tongue and people and nation will be represented around the throne of Jesus. We find ourselves in the middle of this massive, worldwide movement of seeing the peoples of the world become worshipers of the only one who's worthy, and we've been given an incredible invitation from Him to be a catalyst for the expansion of His kingdom, one disciple at a time. We long for every single person under heaven to experience the life and joy that we have received in Jesus. We want that because He created them to worship Him and to enjoy His glory, and because they won't be eternally joyful until they do.(Matthew 28:18-20)