Monthly Archives: November 2013

Moving Forward

Six years doesn’t seem like a long time.

It’s longer than the life of your average band and most TV series.

But six years in the life of a fledgling church that has walked a long and winding road seems a lot longer when you start looking back at where you’ve been.

This Sunday will mark the 6th anniversary for The River A Christina Church in Las Vegas. And it is one that, after some trials that would have staggered most mega churches, seems to be celebrating a rebirth as it moves forward.

River-Video-LogoI came to The River in the Spring of 2010, having just met my soon-to-wife online and getting ready to start a new life. My first visit was one marked by meeting senior pastors Ed & Lorri Conover. Lorri greeted me briefly with an effervescent smile and a hug. I only met Ed for a moment as he was in what would prove to be the final stages of a battle with cancer. He passed about five days after that encounter while I was back at home packing to make the move.

Unbeknownst to me at that time, Lorri had also been diagnosed with cancer, a battle she fought until June of this year when the Lord called her home. My last moments with her were spent with my wife holding her hand and my reading the book of James to her, Ed’s favorite.

Losing one pastor is a lot for any church to handle, but losing two is usually has people packing up and moving on.

But The River family has instead closed ranks and chosen to stay true to the call given their founding pastors six years prior.

As the last three years have passed I have become intimately involved with the administration of the church. It started with volunteering in the sound booth when its director left. I came in to help out and four weeks later was placed in charge of it.

A few months later I was the church “historian” (for lack of a better word), asked to record all of the events and what not through photography.

In the last year and a half I have taken on the roles of marketing and web administrator.

They keep me around much longer and they’re going to have sign some deeds over to me or something.

But as we prepared for Sunday’s celebration, I tried finding a theme for graphics and what not that I might circulate through our social media outlets. And so I looked at what the expected gifts might be for such an anniversary.

Traditional: Candy and Iron.

Modern: Wood.

Someday somebody is gonna have to explain who came up with that stuff and why, but that is for another day.

But as I pondered those items it became clear that they were very appropriate for The River in this season.

No doubt, it has been a very bittersweet six years. The creation of a church and being involved in such wide-ranging events as The Sound and Passion Play were certainly high marks. The loss of two pastors and the travails that come with not having your own building, not so much. Like a bag of Halloween candy, there’s always some you can’t wait to get to and other s you hope your parents will take.

The resolve that The River family has shown in this season is inspiring. Like Iron being forged in a fiery furnace, it may be shaped and bent to the master’s end purpose. But when it is done it will be stronger for it and be more useful than the lump of mineral components could have ever been.

And when building for the future, as The River is now, it requires a good foundation and framing. It requires that it be done right and that it be done with craftsmanship so that it stands the tests of time. So that when the storms come, and they will come again, that it will not be blown down or torn asunder by the shifting sands.

Six years. Seems like a long time. But in the scope of what The River was called to do, it’s but a blink of an eye.

And those eyes are only looking ahead as we move forward.

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