Welcome Dear Guests,
Thank you for taking a moment to visit the River Hills web site. I’d like to be the first to welcome you as you open this virtual door to our community. A church can be an intimidating place to walk into for the first time. I am thankful (and hopeful) that our website may make it just a bit easier for you to get a little insight into the ministries, the missions and the people that make up this fantastic church. Not unlike you, my first glimpse into the church before I arrived in June of 2012 was the website. While I was impressed by what I saw online, it pales in comparison to the warmth and reception I received when meeting with the people that make up the heart of this great place.
I am a healthy skeptic and critic when it comes to religious people and institutions. Some of my best times and some of my greatest disappointments have been at the hands of the religious. My experience has been that when people choose to put faithfulness first, and concern themselves less with righteousness, the foundation that they build for their life is far more solid than anything the world has to offer.
The same holds true with the Church. Vitality comes with genuine community built on faithfulness. This is the Church that I strive to serve, and when we are at our best, we exemplify it by the fruit that it bears: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control.
We realize that many people are interested in pursuing a vital life, but have tried “religion” and found it wanting. A full life is more than a busy life. Exchanging the busy-ness of life with more religious activities is no more fulfilling. At River Hills, we believe that a vital life goes far deeper. In part, it is building a greater capacity for the important things in life. For example, every single person has the ability to be at peace, but it is possible to grow a greater capacity for peacefulness, resisting anxiety or fear. Everyone can love, but growing our capacity to love, even when times are tough and on those days we don’t really feel like it, leads to a more fulfilling life. For myself, it was God’s challenge to increase my hope that brought me back to the church. I was doing a pretty good job on my own of building my life. The things I hoped for were all possible if I worked hard and applied myself. It wasn’t until one day when my heart was hurting for the young people around me. Their life’s foundation was failing them as their faith floundered. I realized that my circle of hope was very small. If I genuinely wanted to be a part of the solution, I needed to have faith and hope that could expand that circle. I needed to genuinely rely on more than my own abilities. God has given me a path and I continue to walk it daily.
So, as one of the founders of our movement, John Wesley, put it, “If your heart is with my heart, give me your hand.”
If you do not have a faith community, I want to invite you to check us out.
Look around the web site and you will see some indication of the kind of community we choose to be. When I looked for the first time, the things that caught by attention included:
- Gamblers Anonymous – Inviting outside groups to help reach the pain of addiction
- Cub Scouts – Opening up their facility so that a community organization serving young people can have a home for their activities
- Childcare and Preschool – Invested in helping families do the hard work of raising children in a world that demands so much of parents
- Adult Ministries – Activities to build relationships and strengthen faith
- Mission Trips – Committed to service
- Staffing – Investing in leadership
- Music – Involving all ages to get involved and share their talents in many different ways.
Let me know what you see, or what you hope to find in a faith community. I would love to hear from you! Do not hesitate to drop by or send me a note – RBraudt@RiverHillsUMC.org.
Thanks again for sharing this valuable time with us.