We have three words that help shape our life together: calling, values and vision. Our CALLING describes what we do (our imperatives), our VALUES describe who we are (how we relate) and our VISION describes where we are going (our preferred future).
Jesus said “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me (worship) and drink (discipleship) … out of his heart will flow (mission) rivers of living water." (John 7:37-38)
There are three aspects of our calling: worship, discipleship and mission. These three are like channels that guide The River —providing us with intentionality and determination how we spend our time, talents and treasures; as imperatives, they guide what we do (and what we do not), providing a process of maturation. When a person comes to the Lord they discover Christ (in private and public worship), they need a community to surround them with teaching, care, and companionship (discipleship), and they require guidance and opportunity how to live out God’s passion for the church and world (mission). These three words - worship, discipleship and mission - describe the process of coming to Jesus, drinking from Jesus and flowing with Jesus.
Values drive practices, create behaviors and form patterns of living. If I value sweets, I’m going to use more sugar or buy more chocolate; if I value being in community, I’m going to seek out relationships! The following values are IN our community and also are SHAPING us as we are transformed BY others. These values describe many of us and—as we relate to one another—they call forward beliefs and behaviors. These have been discussed by our leadership but are still (and will always be) “in process”:
- Proclaiming Jesus Christ and the Scriptures above all else.
- Living the Gospel as both a one-time decision and a life-long process.
- Loving all people as a diverse, multi-generational community.
- Embracing complexity, paradox and mystery in life and faith.
- Growing through Spirit-led prayer and genuine, Godly relationships.
- Equipping followers of Christ for lives of Worship, Discipleship, and Mission.
- Engaging God’s beauty in culture and creation.
A vision takes us from our present reality to a preferred future. A future vision creates a need for prayer, expectation and action. While driving, when we see a road sign far off that says “slippery when wet”, we adjust our thinking and behavior to prepare for the future reality. Vision is what we look forward to, and what we work towards. Vision is also the fulfillment of what are we going to look like because of a calling that drives and values that guide
- A worshipping community with two services - a Sunday morning service and an evening service which is different than the other. The evening svc is targeted towards those who may not feel they “fit” in the Sunday morning service, and vice-versa.
- A church with a multi-purpose facility that engages in activities and events for the benefit of the Blacksburg/Christiansburg adult and young adult community (as well as the River’s church community). These events can include great coffee, live music, entrepreneurship, recreational activities, organic farming, beer brewing, coffee roasting, art, media, business, sports, and so forth. It is a place where Christians intentionally share space, passions and interests – collaborating, creating and enjoying culture - with those outside of the Church. It will not be known a “place for Christians”, but be very much dedicated to God and His mission in the world.
- If we grow over 300, develop a singular church plant or multiple “chapel” plants that are close enough for resourcing but with their own indigenous identity, personality and ethos.