“Where there is no vision the people perish.” — Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)
Without vision nothing very good happens in life. Where there is no vision for a healthy family, discord and divorce is common. Where there is no vision for a debt-free lifestyle, we can be the richest country on planet Earth and yet the one swallowed by the most debt. Where there is no vision for our bodies, you can desire a six-pack, but end up with a keg.
Where there is no vision for life, people find it hard to get through the day. That’s why God never leaves his people without his vision.
Where do we find God’s vision for River Hills? A river is purest at its source, so we’ve taken our cues from the first church, the early church we see described in the book of Acts. From the church in the Bible we get a picture of what the church at its best should look like today. Here are seven high ideals, timeless principles, which shape our ministry.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching.” — Acts 2:42.
There are three things you can be sure of about the apostles’ teaching. It was dangerously life changing. It was culturally-relevant communication. It was theologically pure. At River Hills we teach the Bible in relevant, fun, challenging, and life-changing ways.
“All the believers were together and had everything in common.” — Acts 2:44
No one stands alone at River Hills. As a church we live in community with one another. As followers of Christ we realize our need to be linked with other believers in small groups for the purposes of growth, support, accountability and care.
“They gave to anyone as he had need.” — Acts 2:45
The generosity of the new Christ followers in Acts is so outrageous it is scary. Once these believers entered a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, they became extremely generous, just like Jesus. River Hills is a group that gives itself away. We understand that as followers of Jesus we are to be responsible stewards of the resources God give us. We recognize that regular financial giving and a willingness to share in ministry with those outside the walls of the local church are the responsibility of every believer.
“Every day they continued to meet together.” — Acts 2:46.
River Hills is a church with lots of groups meeting in lots of places. We are adding more small groups all the time, and we now have multiple campuses for Sunday morning gatherings. Soon we hope to have even more sites to come together around Cincinnati. Stay tuned!
“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” — Acts 2:46.
In a healthy church the masks come off. River Hills is a people of open, sincere hearts. No pretense. No show. We are real with one another. We love one another. This is a community where people are cared for; a big extended family where we take care of one another. A church can have impressive buildings, lots of real estate, a staff of knowledgeable teachers and leaders, a great band to lead worship and a schedule full of special events, but if it doesn’t have love then it just isn’t a church.
“The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” — Acts 2:47.
Reproduction is about recognizing the life God has produced in us and then going about reproducing his life in others. Here at The River we want Christ followers reproducing Christ followers, leaders reproducing leaders, and churches reproducing churches. We want to share and pass along to others what God is doing in us.
“They never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” — Acts 5:42.
Our focus is Jesus. We are and always will be a Christ-centered community, a Christian church. The Christian life begins by entering into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in which we abandon our own efforts at salvation and trust in God’s grace alone, as expressed in the life and death of Jesus Christ.