Riverview Church is a church that has a “Passion for Loving God and Loving Others”. This vision comes directly out of the great commandments and informs everything we do as a church. As you become familiar with Riverview, you will notice that our desire is to follow and focus upon Jesus Christ in our worship, fellowship, witnessing, prayer, and teaching! God says that Jesus is not only the foundation of the church but also the head of the church and that excites us!
We have identified Five Priorities that are the core values of our church. These values impact how we do every ministry of our church. These “Five Priorities” are:
We follow Christ by, first and foremost, placing our faith and trust in Him and the fact this His death on the cross paid the price for our sins. His sacrifice becomes effective in a person’s life by a life-changing faith in Him and His redemptive work. This is what the Jesus refers to as being “born again”.
In response to saving faith, a believer now has a desire to serve Christ by obeying His commandments to love God with all your heart, soul mind and strength, as well as the command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Christ’s followers are to be characterized by loving God, one another and the world.
- Our love for God is expressed in worship and demonstrated through obedience.
- Love for our fellow Christians is expressed in fellowship and demonstrated in ministry.
- Love for the world is expressed in prayer and demonstrated in evangelism.
We follow Christ by fulfilling his commission to make disciples. We must not only be Christian in character quality, but we must also follow Christ’s ministry method. Jesus focused His earthly ministry on sharing His life with a small group of followers. He then instructed His disciples to reproduce spiritually.
At Riverview, this process involves providing biblical teaching, experiences of worship, and opportunities for ministry and fellowship, all in a variety of settings. We encourage participation in the large celebration of our worship service where people can receive exhortation and experience unity. Our mid-sized congregational groups provide the best environment to build a sense of identity and to experience fellowship. Our many cell groups create an atmosphere conducive to cultivating intimacy among the participants and fostering the accountability needed for personal maturation.
We distinguish between attracting attenders and making disciples. We view our programs and preaching not as ends in themselves, or as a way to draw spectators, but as the means of equipping our members for the ministry of multiplication. While we desire to grow in breadth as well as in depth, we believe that the priority must be placed on quality and not on quantity. Numerical growth will be a natural result of the progress of our people in spiritual maturity as they respond to their training and reach out to friends.
We follow Christ’s example by upholding the authority of the Bible. Our priorities and practices are, based upon the Word of God. Because we do not seek our own will, but that of the Head of our church, we measure every choice we make by scriptural principles. Our philosophy is not even slightly affected by what is politically correct, only by what is true.
We follow Christ’s example by expressing our dependence upon God in prayer. We require the leading of the Holy Spirit to discern and to successfully walk in God’s ways. We will not compromise our standing before God by exalting ourselves, either in flagrant sin, or in reliance upon the flesh. We acknowledge that God’s work cannot be done by the power of personality or program.
Riverview Evangelical Free Church participates with other like-minded churches. We do not suffer under the delusion that we have cornered the market on truth. We are happy to be one of many churches in our area which are leading people to obey the great commandment and working toward the fulfillment of the great commission.
Our pastors and elders lead by example, showing integrity and initiative. In partnership with the Elder Board, the pastors are to feed, lead, protect, and provide spiritual care for the flock. They are to model spiritual growth and to equip the rest of the congregation for ministry. Our Elders will prioritize the ministry of prayer and teaching, while providing general oversight for the church and specific counsel for the needy. They are to share their ministries by training apprentices to multiply their efforts. The Pastor/Teacher will provide leadership for the board and staff, giving support and direction as a coach with the attitude of a servant.
Our support staff and other lay leaders demonstrate faithfulness in responsibilities. All church leaders are expected to model discipleship, to grow in their own character quality and ministry skills and to serve the body in their respective ministries with a cooperative attitude. Authority will be delegated commensurate to responsibility and leaders will be held accountable for their efforts. Each must be committed to the purpose, philosophy and people of Riverview. All church officers and other designated leaders will regularly participate in ongoing leadership training to sharpen their skills and refocus their vision.
Our church members are all to regard themselves as ministers. As each Christian is gifted by God, our expectation is that each one would use their abilities and resources to build up the body. We will call and equip every believer to grow as a disciple and to act as a ambassador of Christ to those outside the faith. Riverview members will function as a mutually interdependent family in submission to and in support of the leaders which they have collectively recognized and called. Most congregational care will take place through the natural relationships developed in decentralized small groups. Our members will also bear the main responsibility of attracting, inviting and assimilating new attenders. Events, groups and programs will be offered at varying commitment levels as means of initiating the disciple-making process at the appropriate stage.
Riverview members are to strive by all of God’s power within them to follow our Master closely. We are to be as He is and to do what He did. As we become more like Jesus and commit ourselves to walking in His footsteps, we will in turn draw others to follow as well. Disciple-making should be the natural by-product of discipleship.
Our worship services are designed primarily for the edification of believers. While seekers may find our services provocative and even attractive, we believe that Christians need a time of corporate worship and teaching which is designed to meet their needs so that they can meet the needs of others.
What is “The Evangelical Free Church of America”?
The Evangelical Free Church of America is an association of some 1,250 autonomous (self-governing) churches united by a mutual commitment to serve our Lord Jesus Christ with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and obedience to the Word of God. We are committed to cooperate with one another in ministry and fellowship as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission which Christ has entrusted to His Church. The growing ministry of the EFCA currently extends to some 40 countries of the world.
The term Evangelical refers to our commitment to the proclamation of the Gospel and to the authority of Scriptures as being inerrant in the original autographs and the only safe and sufficient guide to faith and practice.
The term Free refers to our form of church government as being congregational. Evangelical Free Churches depend upon the active participation of lay people in the decisions and directions of the local church.
Statement of Faith – We Believe
- 1. The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and the Divine and final authority for Christian faith and life.
- 2. In one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- 3. That Jesus Christ is true God and true man, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He died on the cross, a sacrifice for our sins according to the Scriptures. Further, He arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven, where, at the right hand of the Majesty on High, He is now our High Priest and Advocate.
- 4. That the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and, during this age, to convict men, regenerate the believing sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct and empower the believer for godly living and service.
- 5. That man was created in the image of God but fell into sin and is, therefore, lost, and only through regeneration by the HolySpirit can salvation and spiritual life be obtained.
- 6. That the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation for all who believe, and only such as receive Jesus Christ are born of the Holy Spirit and, thus become children of God.
- 7. That water baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances to be observed by the Church during the present age. They are, however, not to be regarded as means of salvation.
- 8. That the true Church is composed of all such persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the Body of Christ of which He is the Head.
- 9. That only those who are, thus, members of the true Church shall be eligible for membership in the local church.
- 10. That Jesus Christ is the Lord and Head of the Church and that every local church has the right, under Christ, to decide and govern its own affairs.
- 11. In the personal, premillennial and imminent coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and that this “Blessed Hope” has a vital bearing on the personal life and service of the believer.
- 12. In the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.
“In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, charity. In all things, Jesus Christ.” — Chrysostom
The Evangelical Free Church of America is inclusive not exclusive. The great heritage of the Evangelical Free Church people around the world includes the fact that fellowship and ministry opportunities in the local church are based solely on one’s personal faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, trusting in Him alone for salvation. Membership requires commitment to sound doctrine as expressed in our Statement of Faith. However, a person is not excluded from membership because he or she does not agree on every fine point of doctrine. Within the Evangelical Free Church, there is allowance for legitimate differences of understanding in some areas of doctrine.
The Evangelical Free Church is evangelical but not separatistic. The Evangelical Free Church was born out of a heritage of commitment to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. We have deep convictions based on the authority of God’s Word, but we do not draw battle lines over minor points. Nor do we make minor issues of doctrine a test of fellowship in the local church. We are evangelical. We believe in separated living and personal holiness. But we are not separtistic.
The Evangelical Free Church of America is ecumenical in spirit though not in structure. We believe in the spiritual unity of the church, though not necessarily in structural union. We join with other Christians and other denominations of like precious faith in common goals and ministries to accomplish the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. But we believe that there is strength in diversity and that it is important to preserve our Distinctives. We recognize that union in structure does not guarantee unity of spirit. Our foremost concern is unity of spirit with our Lord, with each other and with other Christians.
The Evangelical Free Church of America believes in liberty with responsibility and accountability. We believe in Christian liberty, but freedom always has its limitations. Responsible Christians do not abuse freedom. The Apostle Paul wrote forcefully about Christian liberty in the book of Galatians. He shattered the legalists with the doctrine of grace. But in First and Second Corinthians and Romans, the apostle also rebuked believers when liberty was abused. He declared boldly the principles of Christian liberty but spoke with equal forcefulness about Christian accountability. The Evangelical Free Church desires to preserve our freedom in Christ and encourage our people to be responsible, godly men, women and young people who desire to live under the control of the Holy Spirit, in obedience to the principals and precepts of God’s Word and in harmony with God’s will for life as revealed in the Scriptures.
The Evangelical Free Church of America believes in both the rational and relational dimensions of Christianity. We believe the Scriptures must be applied to our individual lives with warmth of heart, warmth of message and warmth of concern. We believe it is essential to have solid biblical content in our doctrinal understanding of faith, but it is equally important to have a dynamic, vital relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son and to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. Sound Christian doctrine must be coupled with dynamic Christian experience. Ours is a ministry of love and reconciliation.
The Evangelical Free Church of America affirms the right of each local church to govern its own affairs. The Evangelical Free Church is committed to a congregational form of government as stated in Article 10 of our Confession of Faith: “We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Head of the Church and that every local church has the right, under Christ, to decide and govern its own affairs.”
Strong pastoral leadership coupled with discerning and well-equipped Christian lay people can produce spiritual growth as well as significant church growth. The New Testament emphasizes the importance of the Body of Christ ministering through the spiritual gifts that have been given to each believer. “Congregational in government” means that each local church governs its own affairs. Within the local church, the highest human authority rests in the congregation.