Church, Retreat, and Ministry Training Center
In Addition to Operating as a Local Church, The River is also a 501c3 Non-Profit Organization that Functions as a Retreat and Ministry Training Center for Pastors, Missionaries, and Young Adults. We Provide Rest, Refreshing, Healing, Training, and Discipleship to Christian Leaders and Young Adults from Around the World. For More Information and to Donate to The River, visit The River's Website by Clicking Here.
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What People are Saying about The River
“One thing will be certain at The River, you will be loved! Russ and Shari are passionate about people and they are even more passionate about people finding, understanding, and obeying the big plans God has for them. This is a place to check out, connect, and grow.” - Jeff H.
“God definitely has His hand on this ministry. Russ and Shari are wonderful people, leaders, and followers of Jesus Christ. You will be blessed to be a part of this group.” - Bonnie W.
“I have had the pleasure of watching countless young adults come to a greater understanding and walk with Christ and each other! This ministry inspires, encourages, and refreshes our community - empowering them to serve others.” – Jenny C.
“Pastor Russ has such a great heart for people! He has the ability to make following Christ look like a really fun adventure. Even as the church is being started, many people are drawn into the events that Russ puts together; and, through the great Christian fellowship, they're drawn to Christ. It's an organization where EVERYONE is welcomed with open arms!!!” - Becky Q.
“I have known this couple for many years. If I lived in VA it would DEFINITELY be my church but I am all the way in MA. The main reason...authenticity. One thing Pastor Russ asked God for in the midst of a prayer meeting five years back was for us to pursue our passions that God has placed in each of us. His passion for this alone would draw me to be a member because I believe that it is in the midst of us pursuing what God has placed in us that we become more joyful and closer to God. Both he and Shari have a passion for people. She actually led me to Christ in 1997. She loved me through all of my struggles without judgment and showed me God's mercy. Not the judgmental God I believed, but a loving and empowering God who has walked with me ever since. I highly recommend checking out if this church is a good fit for you.” - Katie M.
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Ministry Core Values
Love God, Love People
Jesus said if His disciples do these two things, then we are fulfilling the heart & essence of everything found in the Old Testament law. Instead of focusing on following external laws and rules, we should focus our time and energy on maintaining healthy relationships with God and the people around us. Paul said that love does no harm to a person and that love is the fulfillment of the law; thus confirming Jesus’ words that if we love God and love people, then we are truly following Christ and living out the example He modeled for us. (Matthew 22:34-40, Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 5:14)
Love & Unity
Jesus said His disciples & Christianity would be recognized and distinguished by a few things: our love for one another, our unity with one another, and the fruit that is displayed in our lives. One of our greatest testimonies to the world is our love for other Christians and our willingness to work together in unity to love and help the world around us. (John 13:34-35, John 15:7-8, John 17:20-23)
Encouraging the Saved, Winning the Lost
Outside of worshipping God and enjoying daily fellowship with Him, it seems we have two main responsibilities as we walk through life; edifying and encouraging other believers toward spiritual maturity, and actively seeking, praying for, evangelizing, and discipling the lost. Jesus is the answer for all of the problems and issues that humankind faces, so it is our job to point people to Jesus and help them love, know, and follow Him in a greater capacity than they are now. (Luke 15:3-7, John 1:40-42, Romans 14:17-19, Ephesians 4:29)
One of the greatest and last commandments Jesus gave to His disciples was to go out into all the world and teach, train, disciple, and baptize people in His name. We may not all travel to other states or nations to do this, but it is our responsibility to love, pray for, and do what we can throughout our everyday lives to fulfill this commandment with the people that cross our path. We are God’s representatives and ambassadors on the earth and so we must take responsibility to do what we can to contribute to the overall work of what God is doing throughout the earth. (John 3:16, Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Corinthians 5:17-20)
The Bible says we can not be in love with God and be in love with the things of this world at the same time. At some point in our Christian experience we must realize how much more eternally powerful and wonderful God’s kingdom and its value system are compared to the ways and value system of the world. We should seek to see ourselves, our lives, people, and the issues of this world through the lens of Biblical truth. (James 4:4, Matthew 24:35, John 17:14-19)
God says we are citizens of Heaven. This world is not our home; we are simply passing through during this journey of life to discover God, receive Him, and fulfill our God-given destiny before we return to Him. Because of this, everything we think, say, and do should reflect the idea that eternity is a greater reality for us than this life. After all, we will spend 80 years or so on this earth but all of eternity with God and other Christians in Heaven. (Psalm 119:19, John 14:1-4, Philippians 3:20, Hebrews 11:13-16)
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