News - Ministry Updates

New Women's Class Beginning

June 28, 2015 - 1:40 PM

Women, are you looking for others to connect with and be encouraged in your crazy lives?

Join us for our new series beginning July 12, a great time to plug in!

Join our community as we dig into God's Word to grow.

Women's Ministry - Off and Running!

March 19, 2015 - 10:05 AM

The Women's Ministry has been hard at work serving and having fun! There are several events planned for the upcoming months including birthday parties, Sunday morning study, teas, sewing projects and other workshops. Pick up a schedule from the Welcome Center Sunday. Here's a picture into what is happening....

What a productive morning the women had working on liners for the Days for Girls kits this month! Don't miss our next opportunity to continue making items for the kits at the Women's PMS (Pizza, Meals and Sewing) Night on Saturday, March 28! Sewers and non-sewers alike are needed. Why not join us?

Thank You to Our Volunteers

December 15, 2014 - 2:17 PM

Dear Community Volunteers:

Pastor Joshua Tilley, the leadership and the church family of The River Community Church want to thank all of the people in the community who volunteered on Thanksgiving Day for our annual Thanksgiving Day meal. 

We fed over 500 meals in the dining area, delivered over 100 meals to the VA hospital visiting families and staff workers on duty and also several to shut-ins in town. Our volunteers "taxied" quite a few people to and from dinner also.

Volunteer helpers this year were magnificent and effective. 

We can't thank you enough for your time, support, donations and prayers. You made it a very special day for those who were served. We look forward to serving along side of you next year!

Kids Church Expanding!

March 7, 2014 - 10:45 AM

We put the call out for help last week to fix up the class room for the Kids Church and the response was wonderful! We had people in the room painting as early as Tuesday and trim board being installed on Thursday. Friday morning the crew got the painting and trim done and the room vacuumed, chairs arranged and now it is ready to be used! Thank you so much to all of the volunteers who came out and helped. We are still in need of volunteers to come and minister to the children. We are still growing and the need is there. If you want more info come talk Jen Kruse.

Childrens Ministry Thoughts

February 28, 2014 - 1:41 PM

We are knees deep in the Elements Kids Worship experience. The last two months the children have been learning about Reconciliation and Submission. This month we kick off a series on The Word. The kids are going to learn about the true power of The Word of God. The big ideas that the kids will discuss will range from the importance of memorizing scripture to the eternal nature of scripture. Keep on praying for our teachers and students that this ministry will continue to grow in love and maturity with Jesus Christ.

With the addition of the Tilley family, we have just under 40 children on our roster for babies - 6th graders. Our classroom for Kids Church is getting smaller and smaller with this growth. The need is fast approaching to make changes to our current classroom set up. One of the options is to knock down some walls to make bigger rooms. The buildings and grounds team has talked a little about this option, nothing has moved forward but it is still a possibility. In short, the church is growing and we are going to need to make some big decisions when it comes to how we can adequately and excellently minister to our children.

Energy and Change

January 17, 2014 - 2:46 PM

Now that we are on a a journey towards a new era with Pastor Joshua Tilley there is a palpable energy in the church right now. The children's ministry is experiencing new things already. The new check in process, which will take some getting used to, is going to create a safer environment for the kids and raise our security for the children's ministry staff. The weekly podcast for Kids' Church is going to be available every Monday for parents to take a listen to as a resource to encourage them to interact more with their children. The podcast is available on the The River's website. We are working on making it easier to access so, please, bear with us as we get used to this new element to our ministry. Other exciting things that are happening is that the building and grounds team is purging the building of unused items. If you are an organizer or just simply have time to take items to The ReStore, please, contact Tyler Kruse or myself. . We are reclaiming one of the classrooms in the West Wing from being a storage room and we are re-purposing it as a classroom once again.

Exciting Times!

January 10, 2014 - 11:32 AM

This is an exciting week at The River Community Church. Last Sunday we kicked off our new Kids Church program, initiated a new children's security check in policy, and Gail started a new series preaching on Abraham. This weekend we have the Tilley's here to candidate for our Senior Pastoral position. There are still opportunities for you to meet the Tilleys, just check the schedule that we handed out last Sunday, emailed this week or you can contact anyone on the search team or leadership team to find out when the events are happening and where.

If you are a parent of a student who attends Kids' Church, take some time to listen to the audio podcast that compliments the lessons taught from this week. You can find the podcast on the church website, both the homepage currently and the children's ministry page. Also, the children are bringing home discussion starters for you to look over with them throughout the week along with this month's memory verse. At the end of the month we will give prizes to children who can recite the verse.

The after-school program came back together Thursday from two weeks off for the holidays. We are beginning a new series called "Can You See It." In this series we are focusing on helping the students realize there is something wrong with the world the way that it is and we need to find the solution, and that solution is in Jesus alone. 

Happy New Year! Let's Change Everything!

January 3, 2014 - 1:50 PM

This weekend is the kick off for the brand spanking new kids' church curriculum! This  new curriculum is called Elements Kids Worship. Every month the children will be focusing on a different element to the Christian faith during the Kids Church time. We will learn about Reconciliation this January. This first Sunday we will learn our memory verse for the month, watch a brief video about Reconciliation, and then break into small groups and do an activity that will reinforce the element discussed during the lesson. I am so very excited about this Sunday for your children and I hope that parents take time this week to listen to the 3 minute podcast that will be on the Children's Ministry Page  on Mondays. It will also be listed on the Ministry Updates Blog on the Home Page while we get started. The podcast will give the parents more info on the lesson and encourage them on ways to reinforce the element in the childrens' lives.

Throughout the childrens' ministry we will have new procedures for checking your child in for nursery and kids' church. When checking in your child to the nursery you will be given a bracelet with your child’s assigned number(s), your child will be given a corresponding tag that will pinned to the back of their clothing so that when you come to pick up your child you will hand the bracelet to the nursery worker to pick up your child. The nursery worker will remove the name tag from your child and then release them to your supervision. Children will only be released to the person who has their corresponding bracelet, if you are having another person “pick up” your child, please, let the nursery staff know when you check in your child.

The procedure for checking in your child for Kids' Church is simple, you can pick up the child's name tag in the kids' wing and sign them in at the table. The child can wear the name tag to the church service and keep it on when they come back to the Kids' Church worship time. When you come get your child, they will give their name tag back to the teacher before they are released to the supervision of their parents.

There will, naturally, be some time to get this ingrained in our church's culture, but this will help increase our security procedures for our children's safety.

If you have questions about these changes, please, contact me and we can clarify the issue. 

Kids Church Ministry Update

December 13, 2013 - 11:53 AM

I am excited to share with you that in light of the success of the Day of Prayer for our children and the negative critique of our current curriculum we are going to transition into a new structure for our Kids Church ministry. We will partner with D6 Family Ministry and use their Elements Kids Worship material for the next calendar year. D6 is in reference to Deuteronomy 6, where Moses is relaying God's commands to His people to raise their children in worship of the Lord. D6 Family emphasizes family involvement in the spiritual development of children in our church through Biblical lessons and fun email resources for parents to use to help solidify the weekly lessons that the children will be learning. The biggest change that we will notice is that we will bring all of the children together at the beginning of the Kids Church time for a time of teaching/ story telling or drama/ Video/ Music and then we will dismiss the two age groups to separate rooms to do application activities.

During this transition we will provide opportunities for the older children in the ministry to take part in teaching or acting in the skits. This will allow the children to learn how to serve one another and develop confidence in sharing their faith with others.

The email resource for parents is called SPLINK, and I have looked it over and found it to be one of the funnest, practically formatted email devotionals for family spiritual growth and fellowship. You can sign up for the email by going to

Along with SPLINK we will have an audio podcast that parents can listen to each week which goes over what the children will be learning in kids church. To access the podcast we will provide a link weekly in this newsletter and Pastor Steve's blog. It will also be available each week on The River's website.

More information is coming in the very near future. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please, let Pastor Steve know.

Holiday Cheer

October 25, 2013 - 1:05 PM

We're getting ready for the Holiday season these next couple of months. We will be in need of different volunteers for multiple projects coming up in the church. The first project is Operation Christmas Child, we need people to come and help receive boxes, package the boxes, and transport the boxes to Cedar Rapids. Secondly, the Thanksgiving Dinner is over a quarter of a century old and we will continue the tradition of feeding our community. If you want to help cook, serve, deliver, answer phones, etc... we have a lot of volunteer positions for this event. Thirdly, we will need help decorating the church for the Advent/Christmas Season. If you have an eye for interior Christmas decorating schemes let us know.

The Crossing

September 13, 2013 - 11:32 AM

We had an impressive number of students here this week for the after school program. 28 students noisily filled up the fellowship hall Thursday afternoon. 8 of which we had last year and 20 that we hadn't met until the last two weeks! 20 students we got to meet for the first time! It was loud, it was rowdy, but we still shared that Jesus is God's Son who came to save them. We will flesh out this truth of Jesus as savior throughout the rest of the fall. We are trusting that God is moving through this ministry and will bless this neighborhood using our church. We are still looking for help with snacks for all of these students. If you want to drop off food, or serve food throughout the school year let us know. 

Children's Ministry Volunteer Training

September 6, 2013 - 10:59 AM

We hold safety as a high priority in our childrens ministry. This weekend we are having our training for all of our volunteers that work with children. The meeting will include lunch and not go beyond half an hour. So please, make an effort to attend this meeting. If you are unable to attend please let Sharon or Pastor Steve know, so they can meet with you soon.

This week we had 16 Lucas Elementary Students attend our inaugural Crossing After School group. 8 of the students I had never met before! We are excited for the coming school year and are looking for more help with providing snacks for the children. If you are able to donate or serve snacks please let Pastor Steve know.

The Lucas Elementary back to school Bar-B-Cue is this coming Tuesday. If you are interested in helping serve a meal to the families in our neighborhood contact me as soon as possible. Last year we served 159 families! We will need all the volunteers we can get.

Reaching Our Neighborhood

August 30, 2013 - 12:29 PM

August is going to be over very soon. Which means that school is back in full force, with the exception of early dismissals due to the heat. Sharon told me a story about another parent on our preschool's board whose child attends Lucas Elementary. This mother went to the registration at Lucas Elementary and saw some pamphlets that we gave to the school about our after school group, the Wednesday morning mom group, and the food bank. She said that she was first concerned about the separation of church and state, but then realizing it was our church and knowing our role in the community the last few years she said she had a "warm" and "comfortable" feeling! That tells me that the Holy Spirit is using our church to bless our neighborhood. If you are looking for a way to help in reaching our neighborhood for Christ please pray about helping with the back to school bar-b-cue for Lucas Elementary on September 10th. If you want to help please let us know. 

Back in Full Swing

August 23, 2013 - 8:07 PM
A new school year and ministry year is upon us and that means that our family ministries are back in full swing this weekend.

Children's Sunday School
The Steeles are working with our Pre-K and Kindergarteners again this fall. They are continuing there lessons from "The Jesus Story Book Bible". Jen Kruse will be working with our elementary students looking at characters in the Bible. The kids will have classes that start at 9:30 am Sunday mornings.

Pre-teen Sunday School
The pre-teens of the church will be walking through the old testament and learning God's promises. This will be a great opportunity for the kids to form a firm foundation of what our faith is built upon.

Parents Sunday School
Mark and Julie Jessop will be leading a class using the book "Power of a Praying Parent" by Stormie Omartian. This class in an opportunity for you to pray with fellow River parents for the children in your family and the children of our church.

Adult Sunday School
Claude Williams is continuing his teaching through the New Testament. Right now he is covering 1st Timothy, followed by 2nd Timothy and then Titus. Claude is consistent in his Bible teaching and people of all ages and spiritual maturity will be blessed from attending his class.


August 2, 2013 - 2:20 PM

This week we are starting our sermon series focusing on Ephesians. Yes, we are going back to Ephesus! Recently I was talking to someone about Paul’s letters and how they all seem similar. The issue that I saw from the conversation was that there was a sense of redundancy in Paul’s letters. What we need to remember is that Paul’s teaching to Ephesus, Galatia, or Colossi was much different to his teaching in Corinth or Rome.  The redundancy is significant because it shows that in all of these cities, the Christians were struggling with the same issues. The difficulty with Paul’s ministry to these communities was that he could not simulcast his messages or send out a mass email to all of the churches, instead he had to write them out and send them via messenger to be read and memorized by the people of these small local churches. Redundancies, sometimes, are good things. They strengthen Paul’s over all message of God’s redemption of all people through Christ.

What we need to focus on in this series, as Gail will attest to, is UNITY. We are a church who will experience transition for a third time in less than a decade. How we keep our fellowship united will make this transition successful or difficult. The leadership team is getting ready for the transition by assessing our ministries and identifying leaders to advocate for areas of the churches ministry structure. The Elders are being assigned roles of accountability over those ministry leaders. It is exciting to be a part of this new era of The River Community Church, and hopefully, through the power of the Holy Spirit we will grow closer to Christ-Likeness and grow in effectiveness for the Kingdom of God.