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! Also, when a person comes to the River's newcomer process, they will notice a clear discipleship path. We want them to grow in their understanding of (personal and public) worship, discipleship and mission.
Here are several ways that we emphasize personal worship:
We distribute quality devotional guides twice a year: in Advent (the four weeks leading to Christmas) and again in Lent (the seven weeks leading to Easter).
We encourage individuals and families to read the lectionary (see our "Resources" page), which takes the reader through daily Bible readings, covering the entire Bible in three years.
Our staff (and other leaders in various forums) emphasize the spiritual disciplines of Bible study, prayer, fasting, solitude and so forth. This happens on both an informal - unplanned - basis as well as through Bible studies, sermon series and adult education classes.
We teach a class for newcomers (called "Essentials") that walks through the basics of the Christian faith, including how to have time with the Lord on a regular basis, resources, etc.
Here are ways that we emphasize public (corporate) worship:
We spend a great deal of energy devoted to excellence in our worship service - because excellence means doing everything well to the glory of God! This includes having a value of excellence in preaching and music, digital slides and sound, right down to the quality of the materials we produce because they should display God's beauty in artistic creativity. If you are passionate about corporate worship (which includes of course music), please email Ross Wilsie.
We have two major seasons of the year, which offer various off-Sunday morning opportunities for The River to gather corporately and worship. These include Ash Wednesday (which begins the season of Lent), Maundy Thursday (the night Jesus celebrated Passover), Good Friday (the night of Jesus' death) and Holy Saturday (an ancient service the day before Easter when reconciliation and baptisms of new converts occurred). These follow the life of Jesus. This is how it looks in pictorial form:
Finally, we celebrate the sacraments (baptism and communion) on a regular basis, which brings us together as a participating family, not just as spectators. These sacraments are powerful symbols, outwards signs conferring inward grace, welcoming people into the Body of Christ (baptism) and remembering Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension (communion). For more information about these sacraments, check out the articles on the R column here.