Ridgeline Community Church - Riverside's next church plant
Ridgeline Community Church
Gibson answers the most common questions about Riverside's next church plant...
Why plant another church? Don't we have enough churches? Those are good questions that I hear often. The short answer is "obedience." I didn't really want to plant a church! It's hard work! I was fortunate to plant a church in Oklahoma City in 2001, but it took a lot of work! Do we have enough churches? Not at all. Consider the Sellersville area: in a 7 mile radius there are 110,000 people, 31% of them self-identify as belonging to a church. That leaves 69% that likely don't attend church at all! Jesus builds His church and He does it by using us to make and gather disciples. As long as there are people outside of His church, there will be a need for new churches. Also consider that statistics show that it takes over 70 members to reach 1 new person per year in churches 10 years or older. In new and younger churches, it takes only 7 members to reach 1 new person per year.
What will Ridgeline be like? Ridgeline will reflect a lot of my personality (for better or worse!), but it will also reflect the basics of the bible! Jesus is the Head of the Church, we believe the Bible is the pure Word of God without any mixture of error, we believe that we are called to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples, we believe our gathering should be for worship, prayer, Bible study, fellowship, community, etc. (Acts 2:42-47). We are conservative and reformed in theology, but radical and relentless in our expression of the basics of the Bible. We love people who are far from God and are committed to reaching people for Christ and walking with them to maturity.
Why "Ridgeline"? We wanted a name that would be representative of the area where we are planting. There's a big ridge out there that spans 25 miles or so. It helps define the geography of the area. We can locate anywhere in the region near the Ridge and the name makes some sense. It wasn't a very spiritual decision, though. We did some community polls, showing people lists of names and asking them to choose which church they would go to based on name alone. People who don't go to church chose "Ridgeline" more than any of the others. We wanted the name to attract everyone, not just "churchy" people. A simple geographical name seemed to work best.
Tell us about your calling to plant. For years our pastor Aaron has cast a vision for multiplication through church planting. 2 previous staff members have left Riverside to plant churches, so I came in knowing that it was a possibility! Over the last three years, me and Aaron and Ezra would discuss Riverside's next church plant - where it would be and who would lead it, etc. We tried to get another campus going a few times, but the Lord never worked it out. Last year (2010) I began to pray seriously about planting; asking the Lord if He wanted me to go in that direction. It seems like every few months that prayer was fueled by circumstances, until the summer of 2011. On June 21st I was reading in my daily schedule and the Lord spoke to me through several passages, confirming His call to go and plant in the Sellersville area. I texted Charles (he lives in Sellersville), asking about housing in that area without saying anything about planting a church. He called back and said, "Funny you ask, we've been praying for months that you and your family would move out here to plant a church!" A week later five families from the area met to pray over the summer if we should move forward with the plant. We prayed through six obstacles that would prevent us from planting. Over the next 10 weeks, all but one obstacle was removed and we all voted to move forward!
Who will be a part of Ridgeline? There are some families from Riverside that live in that area that met together all summer. The Gregoire's, Pappas', Watson's, Muller's, and the Vuckovich's have all committed to being a part of the church plant. In addition, there are some families that don't go to Riverside who have felt called to come alongside. We have met every Sunday evening at the Watson's house. There are now about 16 adults and 30 kids under age 10 meeting weekly! Lots of kids:) There are other families who are praying about joining, but we encourage everyone to be where God calls you. We're not interested in taking strong families from Riverside, or any other church for that matter. We want to reach un-churched families with the gospel. If God has called you to that and you live in the area, you're welcome to come out!
When will you leave Riverside? Our goal is to continue at Riverside while we do our core team training through December. In January of 2012 we will leave Riverside and begin meeting as a core team on Sunday mornings. Our goal is to launch a public worship service in the fall of 2012.
How can we pray for Ridgeline? We can use all the prayer we can get! Specific requests: I need to find a house to live in out there! We are also praying for partnering churches to help us financially and prayerfully, so that we can launch with momentum and health. We also have a strong desire to reach un-churched families, so pray for us to be effective in outreach efforts. You can pray for health and growth in the core team, faith, and God's provision. Thanks!
(If you would like more information about Ridgeline, email Gibson Largent at gibson @ riversideconnect.com)