Today, I write to you with a heart overflowing with gratitude and exuberance because our congregation and our church has been THRIVING and growing so much during this very difficult time! I am immensely proud to be the lead pastor at River City Church. I don’t want to keep all of these good reports to myself, so let me share with you some big WINS that we are all privileged to be part of during this time.
First, take a look at some ways our congregation has grown so strongly in spiritual life.
- The RCC prayer culture has grown significantly through weekly prayer and worship meetings and nightly prayers. Prayer is the fuel for everything that we do in God’s kingdom. Hundreds of people are viewing and participating in these meetings.
- We have found new and creative ways to share the gospel via social media and acts of God’s lovingkindness.
- We were able to open our church sanctuary to the public in a safe manner the first weekend that it was possible (May 10).
- We have seen dozens of life groups launch through Zoom and other platforms, including many with people who did not belong to our church before the crisis began.
- People have completed Growth Track and several others have started it. You can learn more about how to do it yourself at this time at rivercity.info/growthtrack!
Next, let’s look at some of the milestones we’ve reached through generous giving:
- We gave more than $25,000 to Convoy of Hope’s One Day to Feed the World program through our Easter Offering on Easter Sunday even though we were not meeting in person. This is simply amazing!
- We have maintained every single commitment to missionaries throughout the US and around the world.
- We have remained financially viable during this difficult time thanks to our congregation’s incredible generosity.
- We have kept employing all those serving at the church and in our childcare ministries.
I’ve been so impressed with the way our ministries to next generations and families have gone above and beyond in leading their groups to grow in maturity and understanding of their faith.
- River City Kids has entered the homes of many families via social media, and new families in our community have connected to Pastor Jamie.
- River City Students adapted to a new, totally online format that keeps teens connected and engaged with each other and God. This includes a high level of Bible engagement as nearly 50 students are enrolled in an online Bible study together. Also, students are taking on visible leadership roles on social media, encouraging each other to grow spiritually.
- River City Leadership College students had the opportunity to get hands on learning in how to lead a church in a crisis. They’ve learned many new technical, practical and ministry skills and stretched their leadership abilities. Each of them successfully finished the school year strongly. We are so proud of and grateful for our students! This season would not have been the same without our RCLC students.
- Through Adventure Station and STEAM Academy, we have served essential workers, including many first responder’s families.
This has all been possible because our worship and production teams have taken this time, not to turn inward and withdraw, but to reach out, step up, and shine like never before.
- Production responded with flexibility so that Easter Eggstravaganza could move completely online. Through several teams (RC Kids, Worship, & Production) working together, RCC delivered gospel-centered family engagement to over 3700 viewers over Easter Weekend.
- Between March 13 and May 9 (8 Weekends) the production team has blessed our congregation and our community with their excellence, flexibility, and perseverance to problem-solve and respond to a variety of needs as we took our message online.
- We have brought our church’s weekend worship service back to TV on the local FOX channel.
These incredible measurements of growth in individuals, which also strengthen our church as a whole, have positioned us, through River City Community Center, to serve the many around us who desperately need a tangible demonstration of God’s love.
- We distributed $70,000 worth of resources in the last couple of weeks through a shipment that was given to us by Convoy of Hope.
- We have fed hundreds of families through our food pantry, with no gaps in our weekly food distribution. We continue to be one of the largest distribution points in the county.
- We are partnering with the American Red Cross to host blood drives, benefitting so many locally with a desperately needed resource.
- In partnership with Purdue University, we sponsored a week-long, virtual health fair, addressing both prevalent community health concerns and COVID-19 issues.
- We will be an early-voting polling center for the upcoming elections in our area.
Finally, let me remark on two aspects of maturity that I’ve noted in all layers of our church. These two ideals are goals that any organization strives to achieve. I’m so impressed by our Dream Team members and our staff and leadership.
- As Pastor Adam Howard mentioned in a recent pastors meeting, “The true test of any team is how they perform under pressure.” We are seeing lots of fruit from our Dream Team during this time. This is clearly the result of time and effort put in by team members and leadership to develop spiritual maturity before the crisis. Small, but significant habits, pursued over time, result in the fruit of spiritual maturity.
- Our leadership teams have remained unified during this uncertain time. Through countless meetings of strategizing and planning, just to need to change the plan again to respond to new information, our team (church board and pastors) have remained unified behind our mission and with great camaraderie as it is carried out. I am incredibly grateful to be able to serve with this team. River City family, you can have every faith in your leaders!
I leave you with the words of Paul in Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!” As we continue to face these difficult circumstances, let’s take a moment to REJOICE in the work of God through us, and let it strengthen us to continue to face our troubles, knowing that God walks ahead of us, leading us every step of the way and bringing glory to His name as he goes.