Christian Education & Spiritual Formation
We learn to be followers of Jesus in community together. We gather in small groups and larger gatherings to learn, to grow, and to fellowship – all in the name of the One who gathers us. We are blessed to have many varied groups gathering to journey together in faith. Join us as we learn to follow the Way of Jesus together!
The ministry of adult Christian education at River Road Church, Baptist is concerned with the holistic (both individual and congregational) experience, understanding, and the expression of Christian faith as revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This adult ministry seeks to provide experiences within a faithful, supportive community that will ultimately lead to a heightened awareness of God. It strives to offer learning opportunities that lead to an informed understanding of God.
River Road Church offers several Adult Sunday School classes which meet Sunday mornings from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. Several classes use the Formations literature to explore Bible texts, while others us “Nurturing Faith” from Baptists Today and its contemporary electronic curriculum FaithElement, an innovative online Bible study and discipleship program created by FaithLab; these curriculum are linked to the Revised Common Lectionary texts for each Sunday. Some classes will explore books together on occasion, and others will focus on current events and how our faith can inform our responses to them.
Discovery Class (Age: 30s and 40s)
Discovery Class (Age: 30s and 40s) is an interactive, lively discussion group about faith and life in the “real world.” The class is a mixture of self-taught and guest teachers, topics range from Bible studies to current events. Social events and mission projects are held regularly (both family and adult only). Class begins at 10:00 a.m. and meets in room 145 near Chapel Hall.
About the Discovery Class:
We’re a group of 30- to 40-somethings.We are a mixture of married couples, singles, parents of young children, and non-parents. While some of the people in the class grew up in the church, a lot did not but have found the center of their church home to be the Discovery Class. In short, it’s a great place to be, and to make lifelong friends who will support your spiritual and mission-focused growth, and just generally help you have more fun in this life.
A sampling of the activities we have throughout the year:
- CARITAS – we choose a night to bring a serve dinner to the guests who stay at our church twice a year (homeless shelter program)
- Rise Against Hunger – packaging meals for distribution through the Rise Against Hunger network
- Preparing a box of food for Thanksgiving for a family in need
- Collecting school supplies for a child in need
- Other one-time missions projects that our class members are interested in and we do as a group
- Super Bowl party at a class member’s house
- Ladies’ Night Out (or In)
- Easter Brunch (at church)
- Summer cookouts at class member’s house
- Pumpkin carving party
- And probably the class favorite – annual progressive dinner & White Elephant gift exchange in December
- Other social events as planned – we try to do something at least once a month, and we try to do a combination of family-friend and adults-only events
Pastoral Care/Social Support:
We also make a point to serve and care for each other, celebrating joyous events, and supporting each other in difficult times. For example, we always bring meals to parents of new babies, take meals to a class member who has surgery, throw baby showers/bridal showers, and otherwise care for our friends as appropriate when difficult situations arise, either on a individual, small group or large group basis.
Faith Walk Class
Faith Walk Class is a small, participation-oriented class which strives to create a trusting, caring Christian community for members. A round-table discussion format lends itself to sharing thoughts about such things as a Christian perspective on current events or discovering the practices of spiritual disciplines. Topics are based on mutual interest and are intended to guide our path as we walk in faith through our daily lives. The class meets in room 104 off the Lower Commons.
New Horizons Class
New Horizons Class is a group of single and married adults, ranging in age from the fifties and beyond. The curriculum is planned by the class. Study topics are rotated on a periodic basis. Resource materials include the “Nurturing Faith” series from Baptists Today which is based on the Revised Common Lectionary, books written by Christian theologians or writers, and books covering contemporary social and life issues. Activities include class parties and recreational socials. The class regularly participates in missions opportunities sponsored by the church. Discussion is led by class members or by outside speakers. The class meets in room 106 in the Lower Commons.
Shepherd-Holland Bible Study Class (Age: All adult ages)
Shepherd-Holland Bible Study Class (Age: All adult ages) is an intergenerational group of adults who bring rich theological and personal experiences to their study of the Bible and share ideas from various commentary sources. The studies are chosen by the class and proceed verse by verse for a deeper understanding of the scriptures. Dr. Thomas Graves, President Emeritus of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, provides stimulating, in-depth lessons that evoke much discussion and reflection. The class supports local mission projects, sponsors the Holland Lectures (formerly known as the Catacombs Lectures), and enjoys a weekly newsletter that enhances collegiality. This class meets in Room 102 off the Lower Commons and is named for the late Mr. Robert Shepherd, Esq. and Dr. Henry Holland.
Friendship Class is composed of a group of caring, diverse, multi-talented individuals who support each other and extend their concern of support to mission activities sponsored by the church such as CARITAS, the Christmas Stores, and Camp Alkulana, among others. Outside the church members also participate with Meals-on-Wheels through FeedMore. Various class members provide the teaching leadership and the class frequently uses the Formations literature, but also includes book reviews and topics of interest determined by class members. This class was formed over 55 years ago and continues to welcome new members. The class meets in room 228 off the Upper Commons.
Life Class is a fellowship which seeks to discover Bible truths to help with practical matters in daily living. The class explores a variety of literature resources, book studies, video series and small group discussion material, all of which are biblically focused. The class regularly makes use of the “Nurturing Faith” series from Baptists Today which chooses texts from the Revised Common Lectionary for each Sunday. The class meets in room 230 off the Upper Commons.
Robert Smart Class
Robert Smart Class is named in memory of longtime River Road Church Sunday School Director Robert Smart, this class consists of adults ages 35-55. Most participants are married and have children but there are some singles in the group. The class is taught by Ed Pruden who bases his lessons on the lectionary readings for that week or on other topical subjects and books. Members of the Smart class plan several social events throughout the year and participate in class and church sponsored missions activities. This class meets in the Adult Assembly Room, off the Lower Commons, at 9:50 am for fellowship, and the lesson begins at 10 am.
Thoughtful Faith Community (TFC) is a time for our congregation to come together for fellowship and education. The schedule has been aligned the schedule to allow children, youth, and adults to participate more fully. Additionally, intergenerational and mission activities have been included, as well as youth opportunities and new children’s programming.
5:30-6:15 p.m.: Dinner
5:45-6:30 p.m.: Children’s Choirs Rehearsal
6:00-7:00 p.m.: TFC-Youth
6:15-7:00 p.m.: TFC-Adults
6:30-7:00 p.m.: TFC-Kids (pre-K to 2nd grades and 3rd to 5th grades)
Childcare is provided for newborns through pre-k (3-year-olds) from 5:30-7:00 p.m.
Upcoming Wednesday’s schedules are below. Schedules are posted each Thursday.
Thoughtful Faith Community Wednesday, February 1, 2023 5:30-7:30 p.m. Supper, 6:00-6:45 p.m., Fellowship Hall Entrée: Penne Pasta Alfredo Primavera with Chicken OR Penne Pasta Primavera (V, GF) Sides: Salad Bar (V, GF); Italian String Beans (V,GF); Garlic Bread (V);...
Thoughtful Faith Community Wednesday, January 25, 2023 5:30-7:30 p.m. Supper, 6:00-6:45 p.m., Fellowship Hall Menu: Roast Pork Loin (GF), Mushroom Gravy OR Jerk Veggie Skewers (V, GF); Salad Bar (V, GF); Buttered Rice (V,GF); Steamed Broccoli (V, GF); Hot Biscuits...
Thoughtful Faith Community Wednesday, January 18, 2023 5:30-7:30 p.m. Supper, 6:00-6:45 p.m., Fellowship Hall Choice of Chili: Chili Con Carne (GF), White Chicken Chili, Vegetarian Chili (GF, V) Kids Entrée: Hot Dogs Sides: Cornbread (V), Coleslaw (GF, V), Salad Bar,...
While our congregation is large and our worship style formal, the warmth and friendliness of our members are apparent as you become involved in our small groups.
From Sunday School classes to choirs and special interest groups, the strongest bonds, the closest relationships are found in small groups. It is here that we experience some of the warmest exchanges of friendship and expressions of caring. For more details on these and to find out about other small groups and events, contact the Church Office and ask to sign up for our e-mail newsletter, the e-Spire.
Amicitia — latin for Friendship — is a group of young adults, 20- to 30-somethings who share life together through fellowship, friendship, and spiritual growth through mission service and learning opportunities. For more information about this group, please contact Katie Merritt (email@example.com).
The Comma Club
12:00 p.m., Fellowship Hall
The Comma Club meets once a month for lunch and a program at the church. On occasion the group plans a day trip in pursuit of their constant curiosity and desire to learn new things. Primarily made up of senior adults, though it is not a requirement; anyone interested in a program or trip is invited. Reservations for lunch are requested, and generally cost $10 per person.
First & Third Thursdays
8:00 a.m., Reception Room
The FIXERS group is dedicated to keeping our beautiful church facility in top working order by doing light maintenance tasks. The group meets twice a month for a hearty breakfast and fellowship that lasts about a half hour. For the next two or three hours the group scatters out about the church tackling an assortment of jobs, some easy and some not quite so easy. If you have any level of handyman ability, you are welcome to join in on the fun. If you would like to join us one week, please contact George Davis (804-285-9782).
Men’s Fellowship Breakfast
7:00 a.m., Reception Room
The men of River Road Church are invited for breakfast, fellowship, and partnership in prayer. Reservations are requested, please fill out the form below or call the church office.
Women’s Bible Study: Joyful Hearts
Fall & Winter/Spring Semesters
Mondays 9:15 a.m., room 102
Joyful Hearts is a Bible study and fellowship designed for women of all ages. They meet for multi-week sessions on Monday mornings, 9:15-10:45 a.m., during the fall and spring months. At the present time, the group is using Max Lucado’s book entitled Cast of Characters: Common People in the Hands of an Uncommon God. As we study these characters in the Bible, we reflect on the questions “Who do I want to be?” and “How do I want to live my one life in this time and place?” This group is led by River Road Church members and welcomes women from the community.
Mondays or Thursdays
5:45 p.m., Assembly Room
Hatha Yoga is a gentle form of stretching exercise that offers many health advantages. Darcie Anderson, a Registered Yoga Teacher is our instructor. There is a $10 fee for each class you attend. Beginners and newcomers are most welcome. View our church calendar to see when the next session is scheduled.
Book Lovers’ Group
7:30 p.m., room 102
Book Lovers is designed for women of all ages who enjoy reading and discussing books. The group chooses monthly selections, ranging from best-sellers to the classics, and a member volunteers to research the author and to moderate the discussion. They meet on the fourth Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. from September through May in room 102 off of the Lower Commons. Visitors are always welcome to attend.
7:30 p.m., room 102
Evening Bridge is for singles or couples who enjoy playing party bridge for fun. They meet on the first Tuesday of the month in room 102 off of the Lower Commons at 7:30 p.m. Contact George or Kitty Davis (804-285-9782) for more information.
FLO – For Ladies Only
50+ Single Again, Just Single, and Caregivers
12:00 p.m., Offsite
FLO is a widows and single women’s support group that meets monthly for lunch and other outings. For more information or to plan a FLO outing, please contact Jean Ellis (804-272-7672).
Men’s Group: The Huddle
8:00 a.m., Reception Room
The Huddle is a men’s group that meets on Wednesday mornings to minister to one another, learn together through book study, and hold one another accountable for their faith journeys. This small group caps at about eight men, but the church is open to hosting a second group, should there be enough interest.
7:00 p.m., Off Site
River Road Church WMU is a group of women who support missions and emphasize fellowship. The group is responsible for monthly assignments from the RBA to support the programs at the Baptist Centers, Camp Alkulana, the BCMs at VCU and UR, and other missions organizations.
On the floors of several European cathedrals are drawings, now often unnoticed, that served an important function during life in the Middle Ages. Called labyrinths, the spiraling pathways provided an opportunity for the faithful to “go on pilgrimage.” Though sometimes used as a form of penance, more generally the labyrinth served as an occasion for a walking meditation as a “pilgrim” slowly moved toward the center and then returned with a renewed sense of focus about God and the responsibility of the self in God’s world.
Our canvas labyrinth is a replica of the one originally laid in the 12th century in the floor of the Chartres Cathedral in France. River Road Church cordially invites you to experience a meditative labyrinth walk which is traditionally scheduled 2-4 times a year in the Fellowship Hall. Written material about the labyrinth’s history and symbolism will be available. Bring a friend or come alone. We suggest that you allow approximately 45-60 minutes for the labyrinth experience. Typically, the labyrinth is self-guided, but our staff will be available to assist you if you would like a guided meditation. Look for announcements about staff availability while the labyrinth is open.
The labyrinth encourages choices and freedom. As you walk the labyrinth you will change directions many times; as you do so, you may allow your body, heart, and mind to make changes of direction as well. You may enter the labyrinth with a question or in silence, in your heart or mind; the choice is yours. The labyrinth may be used to problem solve, relieve stress, draw closer to God, experience the holy within, or share a pilgrimage with others.
We hope that you will come, bring your friends, and enjoy this ancient practice of pilgrimage, prayer, and praise.
Stations of the Cross
From the earliest days of the church, Christians have journeyed to Jerusalem to retrace the path Jesus took as he carried his cross from Pilate’s house to Golgotha. This path has become known as the Via Dolorosa or “Way of Sorrow.” Markers were put into place where Jesus started, received the cross, stopped and fell, met his mother, and was assisted by Simon of Cyrene. There was no set number of stations in Jerusalem, but eventually the number was generalized in Europe to 14 stations.
These 14 stations are routinely walked and meditated upon during Lent and especially during Holy Week. Our lives are about following the Way of Christ, including the taking up of our own crosses. The 14 Stations of the Cross trace Jesus’ path from Pilate’s house to Golgotha to his tomb, mixing some events that we find in Scripture with some that come to us via the tradition of the church.
River Road Church, Baptist’s Stations of the Cross
River Road Church, Baptist has Stations of the Cross set up in the Fellowship Hall during Holy Week. The walk takes no longer than a lunch break. Each station has a written explanation and prayer. You may walk and read these to yourself or come in a group and have a person read at each station.
This journey is a walk of prayer and reflection. At every point along the way where we stop and pray, is a station on the journey of Jesus to the Cross. The stations provide space for worshipers to reflect on the passion of Christ, from the moment of his condemnation to his body being laid rest in the tomb. The movement between stations, the meditation on the scriptural narrative, and the prayers uttered as one walks the stations, create a spiritual environment that will provide a special place to experience the power and sorrow of the week leading to a joyous resurrection on Easter morning.
River Road Church encourages its community to engage in spiritual retreat and Sabbath. All ages in our community are invited to attend retreats either individually or in their small groups. Local retreat centers like Richmond Hill and Roslyn Retreat Center are excellent short-term opportunities, and the church will gladly assist in sponsorship of retreats for small groups.
Make time for Sabbath in your life – contact the church pastoral staff for more information.
“Like a path through the forest, Sabbath creates a marker for ourselves so, if we are lost, we can find our way back to our center.” —Wayne Muller