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An Overview of River Road Church, Baptist’s Mission Vision in 2017

Our Stewardship Committee, along with other key leaders, has come together and prayed, asking God to give us a vision of how we should minister to those whose lives are touched by River Road Church’s love and care. On the one hand, we seek to provide a budget figure to reach those goals, and on the other hand, we seek not simply to reach budget goals, but to dig more deeply into the meaning behind our giving – to see what God is doing among us, and to provide a narrative of our mission and vision to the congregation.

A Starting Place for an Increased Budget

The estimated cost of our mission vision is $1.8 million. The Finance Committee recommended that we establish $1.8 million as our goal for 2017 pledges, and the recommendation was approved by the Board of Administration.

The goal represents an increase of $206,000 over our 2016 budget. Most of the increase is needed to pay for the cost of personnel — positioning our church for growth. The highest priority as we reshape our staff will be investments to support and expand our ministries to young families, children, and youth.

As you may know, our personnel budget has remained flat over the last several years. With the exception of Bob Gallagher, our Minister of Music, all of our ministers are serving on a part-time and/or interim basis. These ministers have served our church faithfully and with distinction. We recognize, however, that now is the time to make a transition to a permanent ministerial staff.

Over the last six months, the Personnel Committee has carefully considered the appropriate staffing for our church. It has consulted with the Pastor Search Committee and with individuals experienced in pastoral transitions. It has benchmarked salaries and benefits for possible positions. It has stated its belief that it is important that our new pastor have the ability to shape both the job descriptions and types of personnel that would comprise our permanent staff.

While acknowledging that it is premature to conclude what the exact positions will be, the Personnel Committee has recommended that our 2017 budget provide for a ministerial staff of up to five full-time-equivalent ministers and a full complement of administrative staff, along with provision for search and relocation costs. The stewardship campaign goal was established with these requests in mind.

The Personnel Committee will be working closely with the new pastor on the structure of the staff. Determining the appropriate staff structure and then finding and employing the right people will be a high priority. While it is impossible to know the precise dates that new staff members might be in place, it will likely be late 2017 or early 2018 before we have a full staff complement.

The Board of Administration will recommend the 2017 budget to the congregation in January of 2017. By then, we will know the amount pledged and, thus, the size of the budget that we can afford. We hope that you will demonstrate your support of our mission vision, including our investment in staffing, by your 2017 pledge.

The Mission Vision: A Narrative Budget for 2017

This narrative has two purposes: first, to describe the mission vision and the cost of that mission to you, our congregation; and second, to ask that you thoughtfully, thankfully, and generously increase your giving so that together we can achieve our shared vision.

We have tried to state the value of our mission in a visionary way that reflects the cost of our church’s ministries. We feel that this provides you a much truer and more comprehensive picture of what our church does in God’s name than does a traditional line-item budget. Our vision is not simply the 2017 budget: we hope that the proposed budget can help to inspire us collectively to pledge the amount needed to make the vision a reality.

Our 2017 ministry vision has four categories: Worship, Congregational Care, Education and Spiritual Formation, and Missions.

We want to know what God is calling us to be — and what God expects us to do with the resources entrusted to us. As recipients of God’s gifts, we reverently, respectfully, and expectantly ask for God’s guidance and blessing. Please pray with us as we seek to find God’s will in this vision at River Road Church, Baptist:

Almighty God, whose loving hand has given me all that I have: Grant me the grace to see that all I have is really Yours; and all that is under my control You have placed under my control to manage for You and Your ends. Grant me the grace to joyfully, cheerfully, and freely honor You with that substance in a way that brings glory and honor to You. This I pray through Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Our Worship Of God

River Road Church is blessed with inspiring and meaningful liturgical worship in an architecturally exquisite and beautiful sanctuary. Led by dedicated, faithful clergy and musicians, Sunday morning worship is a joyful time of thanksgiving and blessing.

Our worship is made manifest in prayers of thanksgiving and petition, reading of scripture, outstanding sacred music, thoughtful reading and preaching of God’s word, and the asking of God’s blessing upon our various endeavors such as the dedicating of new lives and the commissioning of lay leadership and mission trip staffs.

The inspiring worship that occurs in our Sanctuary provides an empowering inspiration for our continued worship throughout the week, both in our personal lives and all our corporate ministries, such as our music program, our educational and discipleship efforts, our fellowship work, and our numerous and varied outreach programs.

A witness to the beauty of worship:

On the first Sunday that Sandra and I came to RRCB, we were in the pew when the Chancel Choir began the Introit.  I have to tell you that Sandra and I turned to each other simultaneously and said, “Wow, now that’s a choir worthy of its name and music worthy of God!”  And we have never stopped coming – and never expect to.  I fully expect that when my days are done, my ashes will be interred in the columbarium from which I fully expect to continue to be wowed by the Chancel Choir!  What a way to start worship!

~ Currie Carter

We estimate that the cost of our vision for worship ministry will be $450,000 (25% of the total). We know that worship is the heart and soul of our inspiration to be more committed Christians. One of the ways God transforms our lives is through worship. This essential work could not be done were it not for your generous financial gifts to our worship ministry. Thank you.

Congregational Care

Loosely defined, Congregational Care has two components: Pastoral Care and Fellowship. The nature of pastoral care is such that many moving stories of personal faith are unknown for reasons of confidentiality. To that end, it is difficult to tell you personalized stories of how lives are transformed and made more whole by this ministry. But here is one:

There’s very little in my life that I have faced that was more devastating than discovering I had breast cancer. The sudden realization that I was facing my probable death and that I had absolutely no control over what was happening as my health got worse and worse and my death appeared more and more imminent was overwhelming.

I had surgery and started six months of chemotherapy. Days of brutal sickness and weakness that would not allow me to raise my head off the pillow followed. I thought, “I can’t do this anymore.” But then, members of River Road Church stepped into my misery and gave me such outpourings of love and support that I was able to work through the despair.  That love, and worshipping at church when I was able, kept me going. Today, as then, I feel the presence of God when I’m in our sanctuary. And in those times, both then and now, I feel the warmth, kindness, and love coming from my River Road family. To this day I find a renewed sense of purpose and direction for my life when I worship at River Road. Being there grounds me for the coming week. This church is truly a gift from God. How can I possibly be thankful enough?

~ Jean Cauble

Here are a few details to help you understand the breadth and substance of our pastoral care ministry:

  • As of this writing, River Road Church has 68 shut-ins in 11 different retirement centers who, rather than being lonely and forgotten, have their lives brightened regularly by Chester Phelps’ and Dan Bagby’s visits. These caring ministers visit at least a dozen home-bound members each week;
  • In addition, there are numerous people at home who are also visited on a regular schedule or an as-needed basis;
  • Beyond that, in the past year, there have been 24 funerals, each of which takes 12 or more hours of pastoral work to help a family through its grief;
  • On average, there are four surgeries each week, six hours of pastoral counseling, and the periodic wedding (which requires about nine hours per event);
  • River Road Church also has a team of trained Stephen Ministers, whose whole ministry is largely unknown due to the confidential nature of their work.

All of these pastoral visits (and more!) serve to better the lives of our people, and they are made possible by your financial generosity to our ministry. For this we say, “Thank you.”

Fellowship includes much that is hard to enumerate. We do know that where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, He has promised to be in the midst of them. One aspect of every River Road Church gathering, regardless of the meeting place, is the presence of God’s Spirit. The Spirit of God in Christ is always transforming our lives into the wholeness and fulfillment that comes alone from God. When we gather for fellowship, transformational life blessings are “in the making.” These times include such groups as Wednesday Night Dinner, our women’s Bible study “Joyful Hearts,” our men’s group “The Huddle,” the Comma Club, the youth ministry, and the children’s ministry.

Last year I became a part of the Joyful Hearts group at RRCB.  I cannot tell you how this group has made a difference in my life!  I am truly blessed to be able to meet weekly with such a devoted and beautiful group of women who are all actively seeking God’s will for our lives.  We do this together through Bible study and prayer.  The strength, support, and shared experiences of this group have helped me in my spiritual journey to become a better Christian and follower of Christ.  I cannot thank my “Joyful Hearts Sisters” enough for their love, guidance, and support!

~ Martha Day Dumas

Martha Day’s story can be told again and again by many other people who attend these fellowship events.

If you really want to see the scope of the fellowship activities that our congregation is strengthened by and committed to, look at our church’s activity schedule: In October 2016 alone, there are more than 150 scheduled meetings and events on our calendar – all of which strengthen the participants, regardless of whether they are members or are simply guests attending a meeting at River Road. This is made possible by our ministry.

We estimate that the cost of our vision for the ministry of Congregational Care will be $540,000 (30% of the total). The Church — as well as those who directly benefit from this ministry — thanks you. Your gift makes it possible to do God’s work, and it allows for the beneficiaries to be blest by this vital ministry.

Education and Spiritual Formation

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

So Jesus charges us. At River Road Church we take seriously the making of disciples of all of God’s children – from the youngest to the oldest. Discipleship is an ever ongoing process that never stops from the day we are born until the day we go to be with God.

All of our ever-continuing educational and spiritual formational efforts are intended to help all our people develop a thoughtful, articulate, substantive, and growing faith throughout their lives. We recognize that we can never ever learn enough about God’s transforming love. But it is this very love that gives each of us the hope, the strength, and the courage to live a Christian life in the face of a fragmented, broken world that mistakenly tells us that life is hopeless and without purpose. And so our efforts are unending, just as the spiritual benefits are innumerable.

With respect to our children’s ministry, we believe that our children should always know from their earliest consciousness that they are loved by God, that they are cared for by God, and that they have always been and will always be continuously in God’s mind. It is our intent that they should never know a moment when they don’t know they are God’s.

My guys love to be the first to say, “I see the steeple!” as we drive up River Road on Sunday morning. From participating in the Cherub Choir to VBS, they are always so happy to be with their church friends. I hope they will treasure these memories as much as they treasure the love of Jesus as they continue to grow.

~ Kate Knerr 

As the young ones turn into teenagers and young adults, we are still walking and growing along with them. These stories from our youth reflect how this church’s ministry has transformed their lives:

Ministry is something that I have been interested in since the summer before eighth grade.  That summer at PASSPORT Camp, I developed a passion and desire from the counselors which led me to being called to ministry by God by the end of the week…  As a rising senior, I still have this passion to work in the field of ministry, whether it be with youth, missions, adults, children, or the elderly.  This summer I had the privilege of working and observing at the church for two weeks for a 60-hour internship… [What] I took away was more than I ever imagined…I learned…this: ministry is a 24-hour job and then some.  I think… being a minister to everyone you encounter is what Christ wants for us…  This is definitely something that I still want to pursue in the future and I hope to lead others towards Christ’s love…

~ Beth Rooney

And about the high school retreat:

With texting and Snapchatting and who-knows-whatting probably surpassing face-to-face conversation as the primary means of communication for us youngin’s, it feels so special to spend time with people who don’t just view you as a name on a screen.  These are people who don’t have something “better” to do than be with you.  They want to be with you.  And with that, I could feel myself opening up, letting myself be totally honest with those around me.  As we frequently discussed on the trip, with these people, I don’t have to be who I think people want me to be. I just have to be me, and people will still love me for it.

And once I found myself, finding God wasn’t too hard.  And that simple reminder became a catalyst in my mind, and soon I found myself thinking of all the great things God does in my life every day.

I found God … on this trip: with friends who loved and supported me and… through [that]… I also found myself.

~ Joey Mistretta 

We believe the same about our adult members. We adults are also God’s precious children and our realization of that truth depends on our being in a Godly fellowship of faith that also teaches these truths to us. Our education is ongoing. Below are two representative stories of how our ministry helps people grow in their faith.

Every Sunday I come away with new insight, perhaps even more so than in my many, many younger years.  Regardless of our age and stage in life, we all face new challenges every day.  Only by growing a more “thoughtful faith” through systematic, ongoing Christian education can this pilgrim meet them with confidence, head on.

~ Scott Leake

…I didn’t think much about Sunday School at all until I was in college and attending the Bible Study class led by the late Dr. Bob Shepherd…[H]is superb preparation led to deep discussions …[in which]… questioning was encouraged… This new way of study and thinking enriched my faith journey and led to a deeper understanding of what it means to be both Baptist & Christian…

~ Marguerite Bostic

We estimate that the cost of our vision for the ministry of education and spiritual formation will be $540,000 (30% of the total). Thank you for your faithful and continual gifts which make this ministry possible.


River Road Church is a great place to learn both the meaning and the effect of Missions. If only we could count the total number of hours that our church gives to the world’s needs! We feel sure that this total would be in the thousands of hours. There are so many different ways we reach out to our community and around the world that it takes more than a full page of single space entries to list what we do on an ongoing basis to show Christ’s love and care to the world. The length of this list is stunning in how it represents the breadth of our ministries (1) within our own Church, (2) within our neighborhood, (3) within our state, and (4) within the larger world. These are accomplished on our own and through cooperative projects with other Baptist entities.

Some examples: CARITAS, Micah Project, CrossOver Clinic, various prison ministries, Catch the Spirit at Westover Church, Camp Alkulana, Youth Mission Tour, family mission trip to Nickelsville, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Partnership for Global Missions, Bland County Ministries, Stop Hunger Now (10,000 meals packed for overseas shipment.)

Here is a story from one of our ministry partners (CrossOver Clinic) about helping a person with diabetes live a healthier life:

Leticia was one of the patients matched with a Coach/Mentor to help her navigate the journey of living with diabetes.  When she came into the program, Leticia had poor control of her disease and was plagued by other physical issues that were frustrating her. Her A1C, a test that measures the amount of sugar in the blood stream was… double the normal reading…

Through coaching and lots of hard work on her part Leticia has lowered her A1C number! Leticia is very happy with what she has been able to accomplish and now is working hard with goals to lose weight and continue to maintain what she has gained in knowledge and control.

Jesus promised that God would show us in undeniable terms that the love and care we have for others was proof of how we love God: “…when I was hungry you fed me, when I was naked you clothed me, when I was in prison you visited me… .”

We hope that in the presence of God in the time to come, God will say of us and of our good work at River Road Church… “Well done, good and faithful servant, come, celebrate with me.”

We estimate that the cost of our vision for our ministry of missions will be $270,000 (15% of the total). We could not respond without your faithful and generous gifts. And without those gifts, the lives of others would be immeasurably diminished. Thank you.


River Road Church, Baptist has a strong call to envision a mission worthy of the Kingdom of God on earth. We hope that you are already inspired by what our church is currently doing. We hope that you will be even more inspired, as we are, about what we will do in 2017 under the leadership of our new pastor, Dr. Daniel Glaze. To that end, we challenge each of you to thoughtfully, prayerfully, joyfully, thankfully, and generously increase your support for River Road Church’s ministries. “For perhaps we have come to this place for just such a time as this.” We are excited, and we hope you’ll join in the excitement.

Again, let us say that we approach the vision God has given us with great anticipation and that we are grateful for all that you give to make God’s kingdom a reality in a world with so many needs. Sunday, November 20, 2016, is our ingathering of pledges – See you then! (A Gift Profile Chart can be found on the back.)

Finally, we invite you to meditate on this stirring hymn text, and as God bids you:

Come, labor on.
Who dares stand idle on the harvest plain
while all around us waves the golden grain?
And to each servant does the Master say,
“Go work today.”

Come, labor on.
Claim the high calling angels cannot share:
to young and old the gospel gladness bear.
Redeem the time its hours so swiftly fly
the night draws nigh.

Come, labor on.
Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear!
No arm so weak but may do service here:
by feeblest agents may our God fulfill
his righteous will.

Come, labor on.
No time for rest, till glows the western sky,
till the long shadows o’er our pathway lie
and a glad sound comes with the setting sun:
“Servants, well done.”

Jane Laurie Borthwick, 1859

Gift Profile Chart

“Prayer Not Pressure”

The chart on this page represents the number of gifts needed in each range to fund the $1.8 million mission and ministry plan. Please prayerfully consider the amount you and your family would be willing to give to help River Road Church to realize its mission vision in 2017.

Number of Gifts Gift Level
4 $35,000-50,000
5 $25,000-34,999
6 $20,000-24,999
8 $15,000-19,999
10 $10,000-14,999
15 $8,000-9,999
25 $6,500-7,999
40 $5,000-6,499
50 $3,500-4,999
65 $2,000-3,499
80 $1,000-1,999
Many Less than $1,000

Pledge Card
Commitment Sunday is November 20, 2016

Your pledge card will be mailed to you in the coming weeks.