This has been an amazing four years. Wow, I can hardly believe I just typed that. Four years have already passed since we launched River of Leland. Is that even possible?
September 18, 2010 I only had a concept of what River might become. We knew that we wanted to reach Leland. That would mean both “new” and “old” Leland. What a diverse demographic! We had no clue exactly how that would happen, but I intended from day one that River would be a hands on church. One which would be both active in the community and which would be of service to the community. River would be a church which would truly be the hands and feet of Jesus. We knew that we would Live for Jesus everyday of our lives. We would Serve Him with every ounce of our being and we would Broadcast Him everywhere we go. How we would make that happen was still to be seen.
Along the way I have met some amazing people who call Leland and Brunswick County home. Among those, at least 45 have given lives to Jesus, 10 this year alone, with untold more having started fresh in the most important relationship of their lives. Just today I have had the honor of trying to locate a baptistry for us to use in two weeks. How awesome is that?
We’ve spread our wings in support of fledgling ministries in Eastern Europe. In fact, we’ve sent more than $12,000.00 that direction in just two years alone, we’ve made four trips to Moldova and I think it is safe to say we have a large and growing family there.
We spent our first years exploring the mobile life of church planting always hoping, but never dreaming that just four years in, we would call a HUGE warehouse home. We are seeing the lights on more days of the week with various groups making use of the amazing space. Ladies’ Bible Study, Men’s Bible Study, Youth, Children, Scouts, bands. . . but I can’t wait to fill it up on the weekends! Hey, multiple packed services on the weekend wouldn’t hurt my feelings a bit!
I’ve been blessed to serve along side some fantastic leaders in these four years. Some are still with us, others have moved on to help with other ministries. Today I find myself more encouraged than ever about the leadership developing within River. I see more passion, more drive, more desire to see lives changed for Christ than at any time since our launch. That invigorates me and I can’t say thank you enough to God for bringing this team together. I’m humbled and more pumped than ever to see where God is taking us. Travis and I gleaned a phrase from another church planter in our first year which definitely frames my mindset today, “I’m just trying to stay out of God’s way!”
I can’t wait to see what the next four years will hold for River. As I dream ahead and seek God’s vision for this young church, I know that we are better positioned today than at anytime before to accomplish what we set out to do four years ago – to be a church which will Live, Serve and Broadcast Jesus! We are a church filled with people passionately following God. Everything we do in weekly worship, hands on ministry, one on one discipleship, global missions or through teaching is to help ordinary people discover the extraordinary plan God has for each of our lives. This vision is becoming reality. If you haven’t worshipped with the River family lately, you’re missing out on a true glimpse of heaven on earth!
Whether you helped River get her start as we dreamed out what she would one day become way back in the fall of 2009, you helped with our prelaunch ministry in the spring and summer of 2010, or you have served with us anywhere along the way since, I am humbled and honored to call you friend and partner. May God continue to be blessed by the ministry you helped launch. May countless lives continue to find new life in our Lord Jesus Christ through River Church!