RIVER CITY CHURCH
In May of 2018 a group of local believers attending a church in another city started meeting in homes in the Riverside and Kalona area, testing the waters to see if God was leading them to start a church in their own community. Almost one year later River City Church officially launched on Easter Sunday with a desire to see the city of Riverside becoming a place where the good news of Jesus is seen, enjoyed, and lived out on a daily basis.
River City meets at Highland Elementary School in Riverside IA
Gatherings begin at 10:00am
Questions? Text or Call: (319) 302-3221
We are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:20
Our vision is that one day every man, woman, and child in Riverside and the surrounding communities would have a gospel-centered interaction on a daily basis.
THE LEADERSHIP TEAM
Rodney + Jodi Gehman
EQUIPPING + TEACHING
Rodney is the lead pastor at River City, whose primary roles are teaching on Sunday mornings and leading Biblical Training classes. Rodney has a passion for seeing people able to read and understand God’s word for themselves, and loves seeing people get excited about something they read.
At most Sunday gatherings, you’ll find Jodi and one or more of their four children helping out on the worship team.
They currently live in Kalona.
Nate + Janene King
Nate and Janene oversee anything related to business, finances, and administration at River City. They have a passion for seeing things done with order and excellence while making sure people don’t get lost in the systems of the church.
They have a passion to see neighborhood folks connected into River City, having an opportunity to experience true gospel community.
You may also find Janene on the worship team or Nate bringing the word during a Sunday gathering from time to time.
Nate and Janene welcomed their first child, Jax, into their family in May 2021.
Steve + Kiff Hall
Steve & Kiff have a passion to see families and marriages thriving. They oversee our men’s and women’s ministry, as well as additional family ministries like KidCity.
On a Sunday morning, you might find them serving together in nursery or other KidCity classes, setting up or tearing down equipment, or you might even find Steve in the pulpit preaching the word.
Steve and Kiff have three adult children, and currently live in Kalona.
Nevin + Natalie Bontrager
MUSIC + SINGING
Nevin and Natalie lead and oversee the music at River City. Nevin grew up around music most of his life, writing songs and performing in multiple bands. He and Natalie have a passion for music that is lyrically biblical and gospel-centered, and for people to see Jesus more clearly through the words we sing.
They are kept busy throughout the week with raising four young children to know and love the Lord, as well as owning and operating their own trucking company in Kalona.
Gail + Jo Ellen Crowe
HOSPITALITY + SCHEDULING
Gail and Jo Ellen were some of the first people who agreed to be part of River City at the very beginning, and to this day it is likely they will be some of the first people you might meet when you visit a Sunday gathering. It’s also very likely they are the last people out the door when it’s over.
They also oversee ambassador scheduling and hospitality, they lead a community group at their home in Riverside, and are involved in most men’s and women’s events.
Brock + Danielle Moore
EVENTS + CONNECTIONS
Brock and Danielle are an integral part of helping people make connections at River City. Brock heads up event planning for our newly formed Men’s Ministry, and Danielle can often be found helping new River City attenders make connections. There’s a good chance you’ll meet her at the front door on Sundays as you visit River City, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Brock with a walkie-talkie as he serves on the security team.
They currently live in Kalona with their two teenage children.
Doug is our Director of Facilities and Setup. Because River City is currently a “church-in-a-box,” where we setup and tear down everything on a Sunday morning, it requires a lot of strategy to make all the sound equipment, chairs, supplies, etc fit into our trailer. Doug masterminded the construction of a lot of how we make it all fit. While Doug oversees everything related to the facility and equipment, his wife Clarine can be found serving at the welcome & hospitality table.
They have three adult children, and live in Lone Tree.
Miranda oversees our children’s ministry that we call KidCity. She keeps things running smoothly between the three children’s classes that we provide, as well as helping out with kids and family community events. Miranda has a passion to see KidCity be a place where children can learn truth from the word of God, and find Jesus for who he really is.
Miranda and her husband Josh live in Riverside with their four young daughters.
Word & Prayer
Before we are committed to anything else, we are committed to God’s word as our final authority for living, and it’s the door we walk through to know God and know our true selves. Our worldview is seen through the lens of God’s word, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Our preaching is intentional about going verse by verse through books of the Bible.
Prayer, then, is our lifeline. It’s where we go for strength and wisdom and repentance and lament and sorrow and gratitude. We pray together as the gathered church on most Sunday mornings, as well as in our community groups throughout the week.
After our commitment to God is our commitment to each other. People are not meant to be isolated. Yes, God saves individuals from their sin and knows you intimately as a person. But when he saves us from sin, he saves us into community, into family, and gives us spiritual gifts for the encouragement and building up of others in the Church. So we commit to being ambassadors to each other and to our communities.
You can see this value played out both inside River City and outside. We have bi-weekly community groups where 8-10 families gather in homes for fellowship, a meal, and prayer. We encourage each other and help each other out when the opportunity arises.
Outside of River City, we want to make an impact in Riverside by serving our neighborhoods in whatever ways we can so that we are seeking the welfare of the city.
God has welcomed us in Christ Jesus to know him, to be known by him, and to walk with him daily. He has thrown open access to himself through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, giving us access to him through faith.
We want to put that kind of hospitality on display in everything we do. It’s high priority for us that when you come to River City you feel welcome. We are open about our weaknesses. We don’t pretend to be the perfect church, or perfect people. It’s okay to be weak here.
God held nothing back when he gave his Son to die for sinners. He also tells us that in Christ, we have everything we need and that he will supply all of our needs according to his riches – not ours.
Therefore, we make every effort to live open-handed. If someone has a need, we want to step up to help meet it. We are managers, not owners, and at the end of the day, everything we have is a gift from God anyway.
River City isn’t the church to end all churches. One of our goals is to plant another church locally, nationally, or internationally. While we want to grow here in Riverside, we want you to invite your friends and neighbors to Sunday morning, to Groups, to events, we believe there are people God cares about and loves in other cities, other small towns, other countries that he may call us to reach.
Another part of multiplication is training and equipping. Through Biblical Training classes and leadership development, we want to train others to do our job at all levels so that the church doesn’t depend on one or two people’s gifts, but flourishes as more and more are actively participating in the life of the church.
River City’s Statement of Faith provides a clear, simple, and biblical confession of faith that unites us, as significant yet small participants in the Story of God.
THE TRIUNE GOD
We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love, and glorify one another. This one true and living God is infinitely perfect both in his love and in his holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. We believe that God has exhaustive foreknowledge of all future events, including the free choices of all moral agents, both angelic and human, that he hears and answers prayer, and that he saves from sin and death all who come to him through Jesus Christ. Immortal and eternal, he perfectly and exhaustively knows the end from the beginning, and he now sustains, upholds, governs, and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about his eternal good purposes to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation, to the praise of his glorious grace.
God has graciously disclosed his existence and power in the created order, and has supremely revealed himself to fallen human beings in the person of his Son, the incarnate Word. Moreover, this God is a speaking God who by his Spirit has graciously disclosed himself in human words: we believe that God has inspired the words preserved in the Scriptures, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, which are both record and means of his saving work in the world. These writings alone constitute the verbally inspired Word of God, which is utterly authoritative and without error in the original writings, complete in its revelation of his will for the salvation of mankind, sufficient for all that God requires us to believe and do, and final in its authority over every domain of knowledge to which it speaks. We confess that both our finitude and our sinfulness preclude the possibility of knowing God’s truth exhaustively, but we affirm that enlightened by the Spirit of God, we can know God’s revealed truth truly. The Bible is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it teaches; obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; and trusted, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises. As God’s people hear, believe, and do the Word, they are equipped as disciples of Christ and witnesses to the gospel.
CREATION OF HUMANITY
We believe that God created human beings, male and female, in his own image, righteous and without sin. Adam and Eve belonged to the created order that God himself declared to be very good, serving as God’s agents to care for, manage, and govern creation, living in holy and devoted fellowship with their Maker. Men and women, equally made in the image of God, enjoy equal access to God by faith in Christ Jesus and are both called to move beyond passive self-indulgence to significant private and public engagement in family, church, and civic life. Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church. We believe that God’s original creative design, as set forth in Scripture, is for complete fidelity (physically, emotionally, and spiritually) within heterosexual and monogamous marriage. Regardless of one’s marital status, we believe the Christian should pursue purity and abstain from sexually immoral practices such as adultery, premarital sex, and pornography. In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, but rather they complement each other in mutually enriching ways. God ordains that they assume distinctive roles which reflect the loving relationship between Christ and the church, the husband exercising headship in a way that displays the caring, sacrificial love of Christ, and the wife submitting to her husband in a way that models the love of the church for her Lord. In the ministry of the church, both men and women are encouraged to serve Christ and to be developed to their full potential in the manifold ministries of the people of God. The distinctive leadership role within the church given to qualified men is grounded in creation, fall, and redemption and must not be sidelined by appeals to cultural developments.
We believe that Adam distorted the image of God and forfeited his original blessedness—for himself and all his progeny—by falling into sin through Satan’s temptation. As a result, all human beings are born alienated from God, corrupted in every aspect of their being (e.g., physically, mentally, volitionally, emotionally, spiritually) and condemned finally and irrevocably to death—apart from God’s own gracious intervention. The supreme need of all human beings is to be reconciled to the God under whose just and holy wrath we stand; the only hope of all human beings is the undeserved love of this same God, who alone can rescue us and restore us to himself.
We believe that Satan, originally a great and good angel, rebelled against God, taking a multitude of angels with him. He was cast out of God’s presence and is at work with his demonic hosts to establish his counter-kingdom of darkness and evil on the earth. Satan was judged and defeated at the cross of Christ and will, at the end of the age, be cast forever into the lake of fire which has been prepared for him and his angels.
THE PLAN OF GOD
We believe that from all eternity God determined in grace to save a great multitude of guilty sinners from every tribe and language and people and nation, and to this end foreknew them and chose to draw them to faith in his Son, and that he will one day glorify them—all to the praise of his glorious grace. We are therefore justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. No ordinance, ritual, work, or any other activity on the part of man is required in order to be saved. This saving grace of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, also sanctifies us by enabling us to do what is pleasing in God’s sight in order that we might be progressively conformed to the image of Christ. We also believe that this salvation, once truly received, can never be lost. The elect of God are eternally secure. In love God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, having set his saving love on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer.
We believe that the gospel is the good news of what God has accomplished for sinners through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—God’s very wisdom. Utter folly to the world, even though it is the power of God to those who are being saved, this good news is christological, centering on the cross and resurrection: the gospel is not proclaimed if Christ is not proclaimed, and the authentic Christ has not been proclaimed if his death and resurrection are not central (the message is: “Christ died for our sins . . . [and] was raised”). This good news is biblical (his death and resurrection are according to the Scriptures), theological and salvific (Christ died for our sins, to reconcile us to God), historical (if the saving events did not happen, our faith is worthless, we are still in our sins, and we are to be pitied more than all others), apostolic (the message was entrusted to and transmitted by the apostles, who were witnesses of these saving events), and intensely personal (where it is received, believed, and held firmly, individual persons are saved). The Gospel is not only the means by which people are saved, but also the means by which people are sanctified. The truth of the gospel enables us to genuinely and joyfully do that which is pleasing to God, and to grow in progressive conformity to the image of Christ.
THE REDEMPTION OF CHRIST
We believe that, moved by love and in obedience to his Father, the eternal Son became human: the Word became flesh, fully God and fully human being, one Person in two natures. The man Jesus, the promised Messiah of Israel, was conceived through the miraculous agency of the Holy Spirit, and was born of the virgin Mary. He perfectly obeyed his heavenly Father, lived a sinless life, performed miraculous signs, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead on the third day, and ascended into heaven. As the mediatorial King, he is seated at the right hand of God the Father, exercising in heaven and on earth all of God’s sovereignty, and is our High Priest and righteous Advocate. We believe that by his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension, Jesus Christ acted as our representative and substitute. He did this so that in him we might become the righteousness of God: on the cross he canceled sin, satisfied the wrath of God, and, by bearing the full penalty of our sins, reconciled to God all those who believe. We believe that Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified. By his sacrifice, he bore in our stead the punishment due us for our sins, making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on our behalf. By his perfect obedience, he satisfied the just demands of God on our behalf, since by faith alone that perfect obedience is credited to all who trust in Christ alone for their acceptance with God. Inasmuch as Christ was given by the Father for us, and his obedience and punishment were accepted in place of our own, freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in order that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners. We believe that a zeal for personal and public obedience flows from this free justification. By his resurrection Christ Jesus was vindicated by his Father, broke the power of death and defeated Satan who once had power over it, and brought everlasting life to all his people; by his ascension he has been forever exalted as Lord and has prepared a place for us to be with him. We believe that salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name given under heaven by which we must be saved. Because God chose the lowly things of this world, the despised things, the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, no human being can ever boast before him—Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.
THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that this salvation, attested in all Scripture and secured by Jesus Christ, is applied to his people by the Holy Spirit. Sent by the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ, and, as the other Paraclete, is present with and in believers. He is fully God, equal with the Father and Son, and His primary ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and by his powerful and mysterious work regenerates spiritually dead sinners, awakening them to repentance and faith, and in him they are baptized into union with the Lord Jesus, such that they are justified before God by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. By the Spirit’s agency, believers are renewed, sanctified, and adopted into God’s family; they participate in the divine nature and receive his sovereignly distributed gifts. The Holy Spirit is himself the down payment of the promised inheritance, and in this age indwells, guides, instructs, equips, revives, and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service. We believe that the ministry of the Spirit in signs and wonders continues to be as broad, [tangible] and powerful among believers today as it was in the early church. We also believe that all the biblical gifts of the Spirit continue to be distributed by the Spirit today; that these gifts are divine provisions central to spiritual growth and effective ministry; and that these gifts are to be eagerly desired, faithfully developed, and lovingly exercised according to biblical guidelines.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
We believe the Kingdom of God came in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, and continues to expand by the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Church, and that it will be consummated in the glorious, visible, and triumphant appearing of Christ when he returns to earth as King. We believe that those who have been saved by the grace of God through union with Christ by faith and through regeneration by the Holy Spirit enter the kingdom of God and delight in the blessings of the new covenant: the forgiveness of sins, the inward transformation that awakens a desire to glorify, trust, and obey God, and the prospect of the glory yet to be revealed. Good works constitute indispensable evidence of saving grace. Living as salt in a world that is decaying and light in a world that is dark, believers should neither withdraw into seclusion from the world, nor become indistinguishable from it: rather, we are to do good to the city, for all the glory and honor of the nations is to be offered up to the living God. Recognizing whose created order this is, and because we are citizens of God’s kingdom, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves, doing good to all, especially to those who belong to the household of God. The kingdom of God, already present but not fully realized, is the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the world toward the eventual redemption of all creation. The kingdom of God is an invasive power that plunders Satan’s dark kingdom and regenerates and renovates through repentance and faith the lives of individuals rescued from that kingdom. It therefore inevitably establishes a new community of human life together under God. We believe that after Christ returns, he will bring about the ultimate defeat of Satan, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment, and the eternal blessing of the righteous. At that time, the Kingdom of God will be completely fulfilled in the new heavens and the new earth, in which righteousness dwells and in which he will be worshipped forever.
We believe that the Church is the Bride of Christ and is comprised of all believers in every age. The Church is also God’s primary instrument through which he is fulfilling his redemptive purposes in the earth. We believe that God has called the Church to preach the gospel to all nations, and especially to remember the poor and to minister to their needs through sacrificial giving and practical service. We also affirm the priesthood of all believers and the importance of every Christian being joined with and actively involved in a local community of the saints.
BAPTISM AND THE LORD'S SUPPER
We believe that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordained by the Lord Jesus himself. The former is connected with entrance into the new covenant community, the latter with ongoing covenant renewal. Together they are simultaneously God’s pledge to us, divinely ordained means of grace, our public vows of submission to the once crucified and now resurrected Christ, and anticipations of his return and of the consummation of all things. These ordinances are not a means of salvation but are sacramental channels of God’s sanctifying grace and blessing to the faithful in Christ Jesus. Only those who have personally and consciously placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are qualified to receive the sacraments.
THE RESTORATION OF ALL THINGS
We believe that when Christians die they pass immediately into the blessed presence of Christ, there to enjoy conscious fellowship with the Savior until the day of the resurrection and glorious transformation of the body. We also believe that when unbelievers die they are consigned to hell, there to await the day of judgment when they shall be punished with eternal separation from the presence of God. We believe in the personal, glorious, and bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ with his holy angels, when he will exercise his role as final Judge, and his kingdom will be consummated. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both believers and unbelievers—the unbelievers to judgment and eternal conscious punishment in hell, as our Lord himself taught, and believers to eternal blessedness in the presence of him who sits on the throne and of the Lamb, in the new heaven and the new earth, the home of righteousness. On that day the church will be presented faultless before God by the obedience, suffering and triumph of Christ, all sin purged and its wretched effects forever banished. God will be all in all and his people will be enthralled by the immediacy of his ineffable holiness, and everything will be to the praise of his glorious grace.
The River City Church Statement of Faith language is borrowed from Summit Church, Naples FL and The Gospel Coalition.
In the creation account found in Genesis 1 and 2, God says that it’s not good for people to be alone. We feel the same could be said about churches, that it’s not good for them to exist on their own or be isolated. We have taken intentional steps to ensure strategic partnerships with other churches both locally and around the country as we work to advance the gospel. We are not associated with any denominations, but are linked with a national church planting network called Harbor Network.
THE GOSPEL COALITION
Through multimedia content, events, books, and international outreach, TGC seeks to communicate both the costly call (Matt. 16:24) and the comforting consolation of Christ (Matt. 11:29-30), whose gospel presents both a countercultural challenge and an audacious invitation to any who would hear it. River City pastors are part of the Iowa City chapter of TGC.VISIT WEBSITE PODCAST
A harbor is a sheltered body of water that provides a place of safety and supply for ships and their crews to prepare them to return to the open water. This metaphor aptly describes who we are and what we do. In Harbor Network, we aim to cultivate safe places for church leaders to find rest and renewal, to find our bearings and refuel for the journey ahead. And built on that safety, we return to the mission stronger as we launch more churches. Together, we pray that the gospel of Jesus Christ will renew people and places as we launch, lead, and multiply thriving churches.