At The River you will discover a group of real people dedicated to following Jesus Christ and manifesting His kingdom deeply in our lives and broadly in our world. We hope you will come visit us on a Sunday morning to see for yourself what our community is like. If you do, here is what you can expect....
We believe the church is a family, knit together by something greater than our personal preferences or life circumstances. At The River, you’ll find a combination of very old traditions and new(er) western traditions. Liturgical prayers, hymns, and blessings unite us to the movement of God in church communities throughout the centuries. Contemporary music, videos, lighting, and art place our faith in the context of our everyday lives here in the 21st century. We are always striving to grow as an intergenerational, multi-ethnic community. Pre-Covid, kids joined us for the first couple of songs, then headed to their classes. Youth (middle and high schoolers) joined us regularly for musical worship and communion after the message. We hope to include kids and youth in the sanctuary again when it's safe for us to all worship together.
We believe the worship of God can take on many forms. It's no secret that music accesses a soulful place in us, swiftly and earnestly. For this reason, we spend a large portion of our worship gathering in song. From ancient hymns and prayers set to music, to contemporary songs and even secular tunes that illuminate the spiritual journey—we love to sing, listen, and engage. Some folks do this while seated quietly, others stand, lift hands, and move around. You might even see some children dancing. It's all good. Generally the band will play a few songs at the outset of the gathering, then a longer set later on. The focus is not on the musicians, but on the God who orchestrates the music of our lives.
We believe in the power of prayer and sharing our joys or burdens with one another. Prayer ministers stand by the wall near the cross. We invite you to come up anytime after the message, during musical worship. Our prayer ministers are trained to pray for you with care and confidentiality. They will listen for what God may want to share with you through images, Scriptures and phrases. We invite you to come and receive from God, as we believe He listens and acts on behalf of our prayers.
We believe that the pinnacle of our worship service is the shared communion meal, also known as the Eucharist or the Lord’s Supper. While the sermon or musical worship can touch on a myriad of topics relevant to our lives, communion is a deep and mysterious moment. Each Sunday, communion reminds us once again what’s at the very heart of the story of Jesus—His death, burial, and resurrection. For many Christian traditions, the Eucharist has been the heartbeat of worship for centuries. As a sacrament, it’s an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace. As we participate in communion together, we are unified as the body of Christ and we receive strength through the remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice for us.
What to Expect during Communion
- After musical worship, a pastor will share some thoughts as we approach the table of communion.
- We practice open communion at The River, which means anyone and everyone who wants to encounter Jesus in a deeper way is welcome to receive communion.
- Communion is taken in small groups of 5-6 people in front of the stage. You can come forward with family or friends or simply join those around you in line.
- We serve grape juice and gluten-free crackers. Please dip your cracker into the juice.
- Individual chalice sets containing grape juice and a cracker are also available if you prefer to take communion individually. Chalices are located in a basket near the Prayer wall (or ask a Hospitality team member).
We believe that 'expression deepens impression,' so we leave space in the service for the work of God to deepen in us. Often we conclude our message with reflection questions that you can share with 1-2 people near you. You are welcome to share something simple or simply choose to listen. While this moment may make some of us squirm, we believe it's a vital antidote to our Silicon Valley culture of individualism, and a small but essential reminder that God is real and moving in our lives.