Throughout 2015 we have shared multiple times that Riverside’s staff and Leadership Team have been gathering information, praying, and discerning whether God is calling us to continue to meet in our current location or to build a new facility.
In our last facilities’ communication we shared a “facilities discernment tool” that we invited you to use to compare the two potential visions and strategies. We hope that you have been able to pray and discern among those options.
We want to share with you where Riverside’s staff and Leadership Team are in our discernment, but we also want to hear from you and to see whether you are sensing the same leading from God’s Spirit. Please join us for an all-church conversation on Sunday, December 13 following the second worship service. We will eat pizza together and discuss how your prayers and discernment have gone over the past several months. Childcare will be available.
Throughout this process we have repeatedly prayed for unity despite concerns that this was impossible. Though rarely easy, we believe God that unity in Christ is worth striving for. (1 Cor. 1:10, et al.)
By God’s grace there is full unity among all of Riverside’s Leadership Team and all of Riverside’s staff that God is calling us to continue to meet in our current facility for the foreseeable future. We admit that at different points in the past year nearly everyone wanted to build a new building that is more spacious and comfortable, but ultimately came to believe pursuing a new facility would not further what we love most about God’s work through Riverside.
There were several recurring themes in our discernment:
Riverside is people, not a building. Our building is only where we meet together once a week. Our true mission is lived out the rest of the week in our families, neighborhoods, workplaces, and community. The degree of Riverside’s influence will not be determined by the usefulness of our facility, but by the Christ-likeness of our people.
We want to go deeper. Riverside’s leadership believes now is the time to focus on our discipleship efforts and how we are coming alongside of each other to grow in Christ. We do not want to divert focus from these efforts through a building project.
We want to be missional. We want to take the Gospel of Jesus to our community rather than expecting our community to come to us. We believe our smaller facility will continue to encourage us to meet for Bible study and relationship-building in homes, coffee shops, restaurants, schools, and any other places our community already is.
Riverside can still grow in our current facility. Since 2008 Riverside has nearly doubled in size. Although our rate of growth has slowed in recent years, we have continued to grow in 2015. We also believe we still have room to grow in our current building and could even consider a 3rd worship service at some point. An additional Sunday service or a non-traditional time option on Thursday or Saturday nights has been explored.
We have grown to love our “elongated government-services-looking building.” Our building is humble like we want to be. People do not become a part of Riverside because the building looks exciting – they become a part of Riverside because they have heard about our passion for God’s Word, our commitment to authentic community, and our desire to impact Tippecanoe County and beyond.
We are excited about modifications that we could make to our current building. We know that our current building has limitations, but we have loved dreaming about modifications that we could make to our current space to better meet the needs of our mission. We have considered changing our parking arrangement, creating a clear entrance and exit from the parking lot, asking leaders and others that are capable to intentionally park further from the building, expanding our facility, remodeling our bathrooms, rearranging the children’s space downstairs, painting the exterior, better utilizing the white house/garage, and so much more.
Throughout this process we have repeatedly said that no decisions will be made without congregational conversation and discernment. This remains true and we want to hear from you. Although we wanted to be honest about where Riverside’s leadership is at in our discernment, what facility option to pursue is ultimately our decision to make together and your prayerful discernment and input is vital.
Join us on Sunday, December 13. If you are unable to meet on that day, but have things you would like to share based upon your prayers over the past several months, please send an email to [email protected] before December 13.
Riverside Leadership Team