Summer Recap; Growth through Discipleship and Leader Development

In our last episode … The River Church was delving into an ambitious schedule in an effort to reach people with the gospel. And now join us once again as we find our Hero, still on His throne, reigning supreme and having His way in all things while his sidekicks, Michael and Cheryl Johnson and The River Church, limp along and do their best to keep up.

What a year it has been so far!

One major highlight from the spring was celebrating 3 baptisms in May and one salvation in June. What a joy and privilege it was to see God doing a major work in the life of our local Church body. Please be praying for our newly baptized brothers and sister, and for our brand new sister in Christ.

Our Summer Children’s Program was such a wonderful experience this year. Many churches contributed members to help out and we are so grateful. We couldn’t have done it without them! We would like to specifically thank Terrace Heights Baptist Church, Chestnut Street Baptist Church and Helping Hands 4 Christ for sending people every day to help. It was such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ coming together and working in unity to spread the gospel. We had about 60 kids attend and more than 100 people come out for the block party on Friday of that week.

We are so pleased to report that God is still raising up leaders from our local body. Two men from The River Church began seminary at the Pacific Northwest Campus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. They feel called by God to be better equipped for whatever God has for them in the future and have followed through by beginning seminary studies. Speaking of, we celebrated Michael’s graduation from seminary in June! He actually has one class to finish up but because of scheduling and a number of other circumstances, he walked and we partied in June. We look forward to him receiving his diploma in December. In the meantime, he and 3 other men are enjoying their 6 hours of commute every Monday to and from the school together. Please be praying that God will allow the two new seminarians to complete their degrees unhindered and that Michael will be able to finish strong.

We have had some wonderful growth in our discipleship groups and have several going right now. I suppose if you’re going to have anything going well in a church, you’d want it to be discipleship, since it directly involves being obedient to the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” I have to admit, that last part is my favorite! Please be praying for these small groups to continue to grow and for the people attending to be transformed by God as they learn more of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Please pray that they would be burdened for their friends and loved ones who don’t know Christ. Please especially pray for the unsaved members of these groups that they would soon see their need for Christ and surrender their lives to Him.

Last Sunday was the first Sunday in the history of The River Church that we had an actual praise team leading us in worship!!! Yay, God!!! A young woman came forward to say she would be willing to play piano so now we have a pianist, 2 singers (Olivia and I!) and Michael leading us all on guitar. It is a small beginning but definitely a move in the right direction! We are still praying for someone else to lead out in worship but are just so thankful for this development.

What our sidekicks have learned so far. . . .

Our Hero, the Heavenly Father, himself, is in no hurry. He has plans that He is seeing through in His own time and in his own way. Many of our plans seem to flop almost as soon as they are birthed, yet God sees to it that His plans come out right every time and people are hearing about and being transformed by the gospel anyway. As a friend prayed recently, there are no question marks with God. He always sees the whole picture and has it all figured out. He might even have some big, old, red bows tied on just for grins. (His grins, we always seem to get tangled up in God’s big, red bows!) His plans go forward and are never in vain, his sidekicks are just trying to keep up.

Please keep the following upcoming events in your prayers:

  • Covenant Service to celebrate our official launch as a church (TBD)
  • Marriage Retreat in October
  • Joint Community Thanksgiving Service with Crossroads Community Church (another local church plant) in November

Thank you so much for your faithfulness in prayer!

Michael and Cheryl Johnson