News - Children and Youth Updates

Water Days!

July 29, 2015 - 1:53 PM

Student Ministries Update

April 22, 2015 - 11:18 AM

Hello River Family!

I want to specifically encourage the families that call this church home. The Student Ministry that I have lead for the last 7 weeks has grown numerically and spiritually. The excitement I see on every one of the kid's faces shows how this ministry exists for a reason. This is not a futile effort. This is a worthwhile effort that is pleasing to God. I feel privileged to come alongside you parents and provide additional teaching for their spiritual maturity. 

They have been recieving biblical teaching alongside Pastor Joshua's lessons. Recently, we have been going through the various fruits of the Spirit. The best part? They GET IT. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfullness, gentleness, and self-control are not simply good worldly attributes. They are a reflection of who God is. This last week I used a mirror to represent this fact. If God is love, we ought to aspire to that same love. If God is peace, we should want to have peace as well. In short, the study through Galatians has opened their minds to who God actually is, rather than what they hear from the world.

I encourage you all to communicate these truths to them "when you sit in your house, when you walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up." (Deuteronomy 6:7) It should be a consistent process, not simply a Sunday morning activity. My primary purpose as the River's new Youth Director is to help you all do this. This is also the purpose of the Discussion Questions. These questions act as a springboard into biblical discussions with your kids; awkward or not. The fact is, I am not a parent quite yet, and I don't know everything there is to know. However, I am here for you all. I am always free to provide guidance and encouragement as you raise your kids. 

Please understand that I am just a phone call away. I am praying for you all through this difficult task. Though difficult at times, it is through the power of Christ that makes it all possible. 

Have an amazing week everyone!

Tyler Mollenkamp
Associate Director of Student Ministries
(319) 354-3118 ext. 103 

Welcome New Staff!

March 11, 2015 - 9:24 AM

Hello River Family! My name is Tyler Mollenkamp, and I am your new Associate Director of Student Ministries. I just arrived last week, and I am very excited to start this new adventure with you all! My job will consist of overseeing kids from birth until college, incorporating our Gather, Grow, Go purpose, and helping them mature in their faith.  

I have a huge passion for ministering to kids, and I have served middle school students for the past two years. I love connecting with the lives of kids and teaming with parents for effective discipleship. I am currently in my last semester of college at Southern Evangelical Seminary. I will also be continuing my education next year, pursuing an M.A. in Biblical Studies.

Alongside my passion for youth ministry, I also love hiking, camping, and generally anything outdoors. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me in order for me to get a better grasp of the church and the area. 
Phone: (319) 354-3118 (ext. 103)

It feels great to be in the great state of Iowa! I look forward to see how God can work through his church by using families to glorify Jesus Christ.

Tyler Mollenkamp 

The Wall is Down!

January 14, 2015 - 1:57 PM


Praise God, we now have a space that is large enough to house our growing children's ministry.

Continue to pray for our progress as we consider other ways to better use our facilities.

Thanks for all your support and hard work!



Kids Church Podcast for Families

November 30, 2014 - 10:12 AM

This year Kid's Church is using Elements Kids worship curriculum. Each month the children will be focusing on a different element of the Christian faith during our time together. We will learn our memory verse, watch a brief video, and then break into small groups and do an activity that will reinforce the element discussed during the lesson.We are excited for your children! We hope parents take the time each week to listen to the 3 minute podcast posted here as well as on the Children's Ministry Page. The podcast will give the parents more info on each lesson and encourage them on ways to reinforce the element in their family's lives.


Week 1: Pride
Week 2: Pride
Week 3: Pride
Week 4: Pride


Week 1: Brotherly Love
Week 2: Brotherly Love 
Week 3: Brotherly Love 
Week 4: Brotherly Love 
Week 5: Brotherly Love 


Week 1: Armor
Week 2: Armor 
Week 3: Armor 
Week 4: Armor 


Week 1: Hope
Week 2: Hope
Week 3: Hope 
Week 4: Hope 


Week 1: Stewardship
Week 2: Stewardship 
Week 3: Stewardship 
Week 4: Stewardship 
Week 5: Stewardship 


Week 1: Temptation
Week 2: Temptation
Week 3: Temptation
Week 4: Temptation


Week 1: Contentment
Week 2: Contentment
Week 3: Contentment
Week 4: Contentment 
Week 5: Contentment 


Week 1: Sacrifice
Week 2: Sacrifice
Week 3: Sacrifice
Week 4: Sacrifice 


week 1: The Word 
week 2: The Word 
week 3: The Word
week 4: The Word
week 5: The Word


Week 1: Submission 1
Week 2: Submission 2 
Week 3: Submission 3 
Week 4: Submission 4 


Week 1:  Reconciliation 1
Week 2:  Reconciliation 2
Week 3:  Reconciliation 3
Week 4:  Reconciliation 4 


Food Bank Move

June 20, 2013 - 1:41 PM

Our River Food Bank has moved! We are now located at IC Compassion at 2400 Towncrest Dr. in the Towncrest area in Iowa City. The new food bank hours will be Wednesdays from noon until 5:00 pm. This is a great space for us! We will need ongoing donations as we are still a huge part of this ministry in its new location. A little goes a long way!  Thanks! Here is a recent article that was in the Press-Citizen about it!

To Him be the Dominion Forever and Ever. Amen.

May 24, 2013 - 1:15 PM

To Him be the Dominion Forever and Ever.  Amen.  

I Peter is a letter written to early Christian churches in Asia Minor (present day Turkey).  They were people who lived on the margins of society.  Their practices were different.  Their guiding principles were different.  Their purpose in life was different.  Their Lord was different.  And that last point, guided the previous three.  These were people who recognized that Jesus of Nazareth was more than a good rabbi.  Much more.  They recognized that Jesus of Nazareth was the prophesied Christ, the Son of David, of the Hebrew Scriptures and, even more, he was the Son of the Living God...the resurrected Savior of the Cosmos.  And to Him alone, be dominion forever and ever.  Amen.  

This Sunday ("Trinity Sunday") we will conclude our teaching through this letter of Peter's and I encourage you to come out and worship the One whom has dominion over all things...our Creator, the Triune God...Father, Son, and Holy Spirit...the lover of our souls.  

God's grace and peace be with you.


The Spirit of Glory Rests Upon You

May 18, 2013 - 12:16 PM

Sunday is "Pentecost"...the day we remember the unique descending of the Holy Spirit upon Christ's apostles. In an amazing narrative (Acts 2) we read of how Peter stands among the amazed crowd, who hear the praises of God in their own tongue,  and speaks of how Joel's prophecy is now being fulfilled.  The Good News of Christ and His Kingdom is now being taken to the world like never before!  And by the power of the Spirit of God!  It is often referred to as the birthday of the Church.  

In Peter's letter to the churches of Asia Minor (present western Turkey) and the text we'll be exploring Sunday, he alludes to this event when he reminds the recipients: "If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you." (I Peter 4:14)  And that same Spirit of God rests upon us and it is by the indwelling Spirit of God that we can endure patiently in times of suffering and kept humble in times of blessing.  

As we come together to worship this Sunday, may we give thanks for the gracious gift of God's indwelling Holy Spirit.  And may we endure suffering and be humble in blessing as we walk with God in this great mission of proclaiming the Good News of His Kingdom to our city through our words and our works.  Let's celebrate Pentecost and the birth of Christ's Church, together; for how else could it be celebrated, but together?



Jesus Christ at the Right Hand of God

May 11, 2013 - 2:36 PM

Jesus Christ at the Right Hand of God

This Sunday is Ascension Sunday.  It is the 7th Sunday of Easter and the time when we remember the ascension of Jesus, the Son of God, to the right hand of the Father (Acts 1).  And it is one of the least noticed and remembered holy day in the Church year.  Sadly.  


To have Jesus at the Right Hand of God the Father means that we have an advocate in the Most Holy Place.  When I pray, I remember that I can approach God boldly (as the author of Hebrews encourages us), because Christ sits as my advocate before our Holy Father.  And he is your advocate, too.  It encourages me to know that the One who understands the human predicament, stands before the Father on my/our behalf, and intercedes for us.  He knows our pain, he knows our struggles, and he knows how we've missed the mark and fallen short of the glory of God.  And yet he still stands as our advocate.


To have Jesus at the Right Hand of God the Father also means that all authority has been given to him.  Our God (Father, Son, and Spirit) is sovereign over all creation: time, space, matter, everything!  There is no situation that is beyond his knowledge.  There is no "unglorified" person beyond redemption.  There is nothing in all creation that he does not stand over as Lord.  Christ has been given all authority and now sits at the throne: King of kings and Lord of lords.


There is more we could say, but to remember the Ascended Christ as our Advocate and Lord is a great start.  This past Thursday a number of us ascended into the Upper Room and witnessed a marvelous musician perform at the Big White House.  After the concert in the "Bird Room" a few of us stuck around to hear more of his story (of which I knew next to nothing).  In a nutshell, he shared that he had chased all the things in life that he thought he needed and came up short and wanting. He shared how he had come to his nadir, his lowest point, last fall.  Then after crying out to God, "What do you want?!", he heard, "Everything."  And that, he said, was when he really began following, trusting, even loving Jesus.  He met his advocate and found grace; and upon finding grace surrendered everything to his Lordship.  


It was a beautiful story of the power of Christ's ascension and purpose (advocacy and sovereignty), and a timely one.  I was encouraged to remember Christ my Advocate and Lord...and to live in that reality, though presently veiled.  I hope you are encouraged, too.  Let's come together to celebrate our risen and ascended Lord tomorrow!


Grace and peace,


Honor Christ the Lord

May 4, 2013 - 1:26 PM

Honor Christ the Lord

Peter in his letter (I Peter) is writing to followers of Jesus who are on the margins of their culture. Their beliefs are misunderstood, their practices slandered, and their Lord, Jesus the Messiah, rejected.  Never before in our own country and culture are these things more true for us. Our beliefs are often misunderstood, our practices sometimes slandered, and our Lord increasingly rejected.  It can be discouraging.  

So what does Peter encourage his 1st century readers to do? Argue? No. Fight back? No. Give up trying to live in that culture and form an insulated "Christian bubble"? Certainly not!  Peter urges these early Christians to be people who love when hated, to be a blessing to those who curse, and to above all to "honor Christ the Lord" and not to fear others, in essence giving them lordship.  And if they suffer for doing good, then so be it. The Lord suffered, as well.  

And those words couldn't be more timely for us today in our culture. We are not to be fighters, but peacemakers; we are not to be haters, but lovers; and we are not to be people of fear, for Christ is Lord over all.  

Let's honor Christ the Lord tomorrow together!


once yu were not

April 19, 2013 - 1:37 PM


Peter wrote a letter to the followers of Christ sown in a region which is now western Turkey. In the letter he reminds them that as citizens of God's Kingdom through faith in Christ they are now exiles, aliens, strangers. Why? Because they are now operating under a different Lord, namely Jesus, and they are called to a different standard of living, namely God's.  

In the text we will be exploring Sunday, Peter urges the recipients of his letter (even us!) that as "set apart" one's we are now "a people"...that is "God's people".  They/we are called out of the "darkness" into "his marvelous light" and set apart (made "holy") for the task of representing their/our Lord of the Cosmos through their/our words and actions; we are to "grow up into salvation"...that is, we are to mature in godliness...reflecting the One who delivered us.  We are to live "honorable" lives, so that others "may see [our] good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation." (Christ's return)  

God's glory alone is our call and purpose...and it is in His glory that we experience life and joy and hope and grace and peace...and love.  May we reflect all of that as we draw nearer to Him individually and collectively.  And may reflect on all of that this Sunday together, as we worship the King and consider afresh what it means for our church to represent Him in our city at this time.

See you Sunday!


Preparing Your Minds for Action

April 12, 2013 - 2:14 PM

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian and pastor executed by the Nazis, prior to his death wrote a poem called "Stations on the Road to Freedom" (  

The second stanza of the four stanza poem goes like this: 

Daring to do what is right, not what fancy may tell you, 
valiantly grasping occasions, not cravenly doubting – 
freedom comes only through deeds, not through thoughts taking wing. 
Faint not nor fear, but go out to the storm and the action,  
trusting in God whose commandment you faithfully follow;  
freedom, exultant, will welcome your spirit with joy.

Bonhoeffer recognized that the road to freedom in Christ was not about personal happiness and comfort, but about the stages of Discipline, Action, Suffering, and even Death.  In the stanza above he speak of the "daring to do what is right", the "valiantly grasping (of) occasions", and, ultimately, the "trusting in God" as we "faithfully follow" in carrying out his commands; commands that, as Jesus states, are rooted in love.  

In I Peter 1:13, Peter exhorts the hearers: "Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."  We, the Church, the ones called out of darkness into his marvelous light, are to be people of action.  And our hope is to be rooted fully on the grace of God that will be fully revealed to us at the coming of Christ; this is our encouragement to action.  

Peter goes on and reminds the hearers that they (we!) are to be "holy in all [their] conduct".  "Holy" again means to be set apart.  Followers of Jesus are to be a people called out and set apart for the good of others and the Glory of God:  a people of action!  

May we be just that.  Let's come together this Sunday to explore this more.  

God's grace and peace be with you,


Born Again to a Living Hope

April 5, 2013 - 7:54 PM

This week we begin an 8-week series through Peter's first epistle ("letter").  In the first section (1:1-12), Peter writes that we ("the Church") are "born again to a living hope".  The theme of the letter is to encourage us to be a people who truly flesh out what it means to be "the Church".  The Greek word for "church" literally means "called out ones".  We who have been given a new life ("born again") are given a "living hope" through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This is a fitting reminder on the heels of our Easter celebration and during this Easter Season which runs through Pentecost Sunday (May 19).  Peter writes later in the letter that we are "called out of darkness into his marvelous light".  I encourage you to come together this Sunday to consider how we might remember this calling and be a people of living hope in a world full of darkness.  
I'm looking forward to what God has ahead for us together!

you have said so

March 29, 2013 - 5:34 PM

These are the only words that Mark records Jesus saying at his trial before Pilate.  Pilate had just asked, "Are you the King of the Jews?"  And Jesus replied, "You have said so."  That seems peculiar, doesn't it?  What's going on?

Here's what's going on.  In the Greek word order, Pilate asks this way, "You are the King of the Jews?" with "You" being emphatic: "YOU are the King of the Jews?".  That makes sense of Jesus's response, doesn't it?  And it has been the point of Mark's gospel all along to demonstrate this fact.  And more.  He not only is King of the Jews, but King of the whole world. He is the Son of God!  

Tonight (Friday) we will remember how he is "exalted" mockingly on the cross.  We will remember his death and his burial.  

And Sunday morning we will remember how he is exalted gloriously at his resurrection!  And that the witnesses now have seen the Kingdom of God "come with power"...just as he said they would.  (9:1)  And so have we!  

Let's celebrate Him together.

Grace and peace,


Stay Awake!

March 23, 2013 - 9:54 AM

During the summer of 1988 I was working on a project that was studying the effects of pesticides on Great Horned Owls.  My role was to nightly map out the home range of owls that we had previously affixed radio transmitters. I drove lonely gravel (and sometimes dirt) roads for hours at a time during the night to triangulate signals from various birds.  During the day, as part of my graduate research, I was searching for Cooper's Hawk nests.  Let's just say, hooting with the owls at night, didn't lend itself with soaring with the hawks during the day!  Or vice versa.

Staying awake, especially at night, was an issue. One evening on my owl route, I remembered fighting sleep while driving.  I saw a sign that warned of a sharp turn ahead.  I then saw the sharp turn just 50 yards ahead or so and told myself, "Don't fall asleep."  But I did!  And my head bounced up just in time for me to make the turn.  The sign was there, but I couldn't stay awake.  

In Mark 13, Jesus before his betrayal, conviction, and execution, points out the signs that his disciples should take note of...signs of the end of the "temple age" and signs of the absolute end of the age.  And he warns them (three times!) to "Stay awake!"  

Ever since his ascension to the right hand of the Father, 40 days after his resurrection, God's people have been in the end times. Signs throughout the centuries remind us that Christ will return.  And today is sooner than yesterday.  In light of this, we must also "stay awake!" We must stay awake and not be lulled to sleep by wealth and health and comfort...and then before we know it make wealth and health and comfort our gods!  We must be vigilant in remembering that as followers of our suffering Christ, we also must be willing to lay ourselves down for the world.  Even when we are betrayed, falsely accused, and suffering.  It's the way of love.  More so, it's the way of God.  

Sunday we will explore this most difficult text some more and hopefully be encouraged to more faithfully follow the Master as we enter this annual reminder of his way of suffering, even to the cross, because of God's love for the world.  

Grace and peace,