River City is
June 20, 2021
Change is Coming!
I sat in the chiropractor’s office this week, and as we were talking before my adjustment, he told me of how life had changed for him in the past 5 years. After talking for a bit, he quipped, “The only thing you can count on in this life is change.” I wanted to add something about death and taxes, but there was truth in his words.
We started meeting at Highland Elementary School for preview services at the end of 2018, and ran those practice gatherings until our official launch in April 2019. Even though there was setup and tear down every week, we liked the school for the options it gave us:
- Great parking lot
- Direct interactions with people in Riverside (teachers, administrators)
- Classroom space with expansion options
- Located in the residential section of town; visible presence on Sunday mornings
But then COVID happened, and groups were not permitted to meet in the school building. We were forced to find a new home for a while, and we landed at Copper Creek Ridge. It’s a beautiful space, to be sure, but it falls short in these areas:
- Parking is ok
- Direct interaction with only the owner
- Limited classroom space with no expansion options.
- Located away from the city; not visible on Sunday mornings.
- And, it’s $400/month more in rental fees to be there
We knew it was a temporary solution, but didn’t know how long that would be.
Where We Are
After our first full year in 2019, our average attendance was somewhere close to 80 each Sunday. Then, in 2020, when we weren’t online, we were near 100. And now in 2021 we’re somewhere around 120! So River City is growing! But here’s where things get a little interesting.
- In 2019, 21 of those 80 people were children under 12.
- In 2021, we are averaging just shy of 40 kids per Sunday! That means ⅓ of our regular River City attenders are under 12! But we only have space for 15 of them, those ages 5 and under.
Our goal has always been to continue to develop KidCity (our children’s ministry) to where we have classes for children up to age 10 or 11. We want them to hear the gospel in a way that they can understand, and be able to interact with the Bible through multimedia, tactile activities, interactive teaching, etc.
We’ve been pretty clear all along that we’d rather be at the school. It fits our vision for River City a lot better, and gives us room to grow, especially in the area of children’s ministry.
So We’re Headed Back!
The school board finally opened the doors for groups to use their facilities again early this Spring, and are once again opening the doors for River City! We’re excited to be able to get back to the place where it all started, especially back to a building that suits our vision much better.
That said, for some of you this change will be very difficult. It will look different, sound different, smell different – it just won’t feel like home, and you might not like it. You’ve only known Copper Creek as the place where you go for Sunday Gatherings, so driving to a different location might even feel like you’re switching churches. For others of you, this will feel like going back home. You already know where to go, where the restrooms are, which side of the gym the coffee is on, etc.
Regardless of where you land on that continuum, it’s going to be a major change. We’re going to have to learn how to use that building again. It’ll take time to get used to. But for the visionary reasons mentioned above, we believe it’s the right move for us.
So about the time all the Back To School sales are in full swing at the mall, we will be headed back to School as well. September 5 will be our first Sunday at the school, followed by our Fall Vision Sunday on the 12th!
What Happens If They Ask Us To Leave Again?
There of course is a bit of risk in moving back. We once again return to government property, where we are at the mercy of a school board whose job it is to keep children in school, not churches in schools. They don’t owe us anything, and they can make us leave at any point. We understand that risk, but have decided that our faith in this matter is not in the school board or even the state/federal government to let us use the building forever. We are trusting that God has opened the doors for us to return, and if we have to leave one day in the future, that he will once again provide for us as he has all along. Additionally, we continue to keep our eyes and ears open to potential properties in or near Riverside where we could build our own space.
Until that day, please continue to pray for River City’s future. We are confident that God still has much for us to do in Riverside! Please continue to pray that God will open doors for us to have our own space. Pray that nothing – not even a space to meet – ever replaces the gospel of Jesus as our top priority. And pray that God would work through us so that one day, every man, woman and child in Riverside and the surrounding communities would be able to have a gospel-centered interaction on a daily basis.
For the name and fame of Christ,
The River City Leadership Team
If you have questions or concerns about this move, please click the button below.QUESTIONS