WHAT ARE WE DOING?
Jesus not only commanded his followers to love, he said the world would be able to pick them out of a crowd because love would be their defining characteristic. People are ready for conversations on matters of life and faith and we get their attention with love. If we are to reach the world for Jesus, we need to step up our love.
Over the last several years, the number of “religiously unaffiliated” people has dramatically increased in our culture and while many may see this as a cause of alarm, it is actually a fantastic thing. Those who only clung to a religious belief system because of obligation, family, or cultural expectations are falling by the wayside. No longer are people guilted into belief but neither are they presented with only a narrow set of choices on what to believe. That means that those who stick around the church tend to be those who really believe what they are hearing or are looking for something to believe.
When we truly, radically love God and love people, those around us will ask “why?”
When we love, we live questionable lives.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS NOW?
For years, we have talked about how we seem to be “on the edge of a tipping point” at Riverview. Our ministry teams have been building firm foundations, our systems have been solidifying, and a lot of momentum has been felt across the church. Looking back on the 2013-2014 ministry season, in many ways it feels like we have “tipped” and the ball is beginning to roll downhill. This is an exciting time in the life of our church. We launched our 3rd venue in REO Town, our Holt Venue and MSU Venue had record attendances, our Life Groups system was overhauled (with the number of people involved burgeoned to nearly 1000), over 5000 people joined us for Easter (with nearly a hundred being baptized), we hosted a world class conference in Lansing, and sent out two more church planters.
The ball is certainly rolling and we want to work with this momentum until the ball starts rolling uphill again, which it surely will. While we are not all about numbers, we celebrate each of these numbers because each one of them represents people coming to faith in Jesus.
Of course, with all of these plans, we heed the caution in Scripture:
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:13–17
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
WHAT’S THE PLAN?
Taking Care of Today. $5.2M
- Funding our weekend services, Life Groups, RivKids, Compassion, facilities, (etc.) and adding some much needed staff positions
Looking to Tomorrow. $500K
- Putting us in a strong position to launch our next venue in 2016
Saving for the Rainy Days. $550K
- Replenishing our “Rainy Day Fund” for the large building repairs that come up (like the roof, HVAC, etc.)
Supporting the mission. $800K
- Planting churches through our Church Planting Residency program, helping launch 18 new churches in Michigan and the US, and one church in an unreached people group in Southeast Asia
Planning for the future. $950K
- Renovating the Holt Venue RivKids wing as well as finishing the REO Town Venue exterior and technology needs