Who are those The River seeks to serve?
If you are reading this, you are the person The River has in mind. We understand our call to provide supplemental training and encouragement to interested and hungry-to-grow Christians. Because of limits of staff, time and resources, some congregations cannot offer all the help and tools for growth their people might long for. Any Christian who see potential for his or her personal growth on what The River offers is the person we have in mind.
I don’t really have any longing for a leadership role in my local church. Why would I take classes offered by The River?
Although you might not feel you are called to be a leader or pastor in your local church, as a follower of Jesus you are on a journey toward maturity. The call Jesus extends to all His followers is to follow Him (Matthew 16:24) and to invite others to become followers (Matthew 28:19-20). If we can be of help in your journey toward that kind of maturity, whether you are a leader or not, we have classes for you.
Why would I take classes at The River rather than through a traditional Bible school or seminary?
Many Christians have no need or desire to obtain a degree or work through a traditional Bible school or seminary program—they just want to grow in their understanding of their life with Jesus. Many Bible schools and seminaries address the needs of a particular segment of the body of Christ—those pursuing academic or professional ends. The River is designed to provide the quality of education and training you might find in those settings, but tailored to your needs and interests as someone involved in your local church or settled in your own life context without the resources of time and monies typically needed for more traditional studies. If you are hungry for increased depth and breadth of your grasp of Scripture and your understanding of the Gospel, classes offered by The River might be just what you need.
Can I take one or just a few of the courses? Do I have to sign up for the whole series of courses to participate?
The River’s offerings are provided on an “as wanted” basis. You can take courses when you have the interest and the opportunity. All of the courses—theology, practical ministry, and spiritual life—are anchored in Scripture. To help all participants to approach Scripture in a similar way, we encourage everyone to take Reading Scripture. There is flexibility if you have interest in a particular scheduled class and there is no time for you to take Reading Scripture. You are welcome to come to the Intensives whenever they are offered, regardless of whether they have taken Reading Scripture.
How do the classes deal with the doctrinal differences that exist in the body of Christ?
The courses offered by The River focus on the common core of truth and practice embraced by Christians across denominational lines and throughout church history. The teachers of the courses will not side-step issues over which believers may disagree, but the emphasis in all the teaching will be on letting the Bible guide our discussion, affirming those Gospel truths that we all share in common, and agreeing to disagree agreeably about matters over which sincere believers may see things differently.
Is The River an outreach or program of a particular local church?
Although we hope that many local churches will encourage their members to take classes through The River, the vision behind this venture is to serve the larger body of Christ. To that end, The River does not intend to be an outreach of any particular local church nor is it the intent of the leadership of The River to call on the students taking classes to start a local church. This does not mean The River won’t serve alongside a local church; we have offered specific classes for a local church for their people.
Is there a cost for taking classes through The River?
The River’s vision is to provide training and discipleship and equipping to any and all who are interested. For that reason, there is not fee or payment required to take classes through The River. It would be our hope that those who attend classes and benefit from what The River offers become partners with the ministry, sharing the vision. In a desire to have others experience what they have experienced, we hope attendees will become active supporters of this work enabling us to continue to provide training at no cost to those who attend.
How would you summarize the vision of The River?
Every Christian should have opportunity for the kind of Bible teaching and training that he or she feels is important for personal growth in grace, for a deepening understanding of Scripture, and for an ever-increasing joy in Jesus.