These three words - worship, discipleship and mission - are what we describe as our "calling". In other words, we must do these things very well because they are critical to the life of a Christian, and the effectiveness of a church. When a person comes to The River, they will notice that everything we do falls in these three areas: worship, discipleship or mission. If it doesn't fit, we don't do it!
Mission is very critical to what we do.
We speak of mission happening ...
1. On three levels: as individuals, groups and as a congregation.
2. In two ways: in word (the Gospel message) and deed (through practical help).
3. In two places: here and there.
We have lots of individuals involved in ministry throughout the NRV. We have seen groups come together and serve. We have been involved in several congregational events every year. We have a missions team that encourages and guides our work in these areas; eventually we envision it multiplying into two teams: local and oversees missions.
Up to this point we have seen some great things happen (see samples below): We hold regularly local events called "Veritas", featuring speakers who are Christians who have displayed a track record of excellence in their fields (so far we have featured events on topics such as wine, music and entrepreneurship). We support many local ministries (YoungLife, Pregnancy Resource Center, Interfaith Food Pantry, etc.) through our time, talents and treasures. We have been involved for several years, helping build a social-spiritual ministry in Belize. We support missionaries in Central America, Africa, Kosovo, the USA, and more.
HERE ARE SOME ExAMPLES:
Don and Katrina Hines: VALOR at Virginia Tech
Don & Katrina Hines are serving with Valor at VA Tech, a CRU ministry to cadets. VT is home to nearly 1,200 cadets (future military officers). They are seeking to raise up a generation of men and women within our Armed Services who are passionate about living the Gospel out within our military both at home and abroad. Through personal evangelism, group and individual discipleship, and spiritual leadership training they are helping turn lost cadets into lifelong laborers of Jesus who will not only serve our country well, but serve our God well in the midst of their duty.
Veritas is a biannual, cooperative venture between The River and other local businesses exploring interesting aspects of culture. Veritas is a opportunity to explore often-unexpected places where the Church and Culture intersect through good conversation and thought-provoking speakers.
Past Veritas topics and speakers have included: Music (Speaker: Ken Myers, former arts and humanities editor for NPR, founder and host of Mars Hill Audio); Wine (Speaker: Randall Horst, wine aficionado and manager of Vintage Cellar); Entrepreneurship (Speaker: David Poteet, founder and president of the interactive media company NewCity). Here's a sample:
PREGNANCY RESOURCE CENTER OF THE NEW RIVER VALLEY
We support the Pregnancy Resource Center of the New River Valley and we have several people in our congregation who volunteer their time and talents at the PRC.
WYCLIFFE BIBLE TRANSLATORS: BOB AND YEZMIN ULFERS
Since 1990, Bob and Yezmin have been working with Wycliffe Bible translators in Cameroon to translate the Bible into the Karang language.
TOLEDO CHRISTIAN ACADEMY
For several years we have been partnering with Toledo Christian Academy, a school near Punta Gorda, Belize. TCA provides a strong Christian education for students in the surrounding areas, many of whom come from impoverished and broken families. In the past we have partnered with TCA to build or repair buildings, to lead a VBS program, and to minister to local families and children.
Erika Holub: Navigators at PenN State
Erika was a member at The River for several years and worked part-time with Navigators at Virginia Tech before heading to Penn State for full-time ministry evangelizing and discipling students there.
BLACKSBURG INTERFAITH FOOD PANTRY
The Interfaith Food Pantry is an entirely volunteer led organization that provides much-needed support to families in Blacksburg and McCoy. The River joins with several local churches to send donations and volunteers to support the IFP, which serves over 550 families per month.