Values for every Christ Centered Bible believing Church are the same. They might use different language or words to describe them, but they would essentially be the same.
To keep things simple The River have simply embraced The Fruit of the Spirit as the values and aspirations we seek to live out and embody. Again, these are the fruit of the Spirit, not something we can hope to achieve on our own strength.
Aour Values are...
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Contrary to Values, Guiding Ideas of any church communicate what make the church unique from every other church.
Here are some of our Guiding Ideas
We desire to be a people who are real, not fake. If God loves us for who we are, accepts us as we are, that means we don't have to feel like we have to fake it whenever we are together. Doesn't give us licence to treat people poorly and with disrespect just because we might be having a bad day, but it communicates that we don't have to wear a mask with others and with God. The God we read about in Scripture tells us that God in Christ loves us where we are at, and loves us too much to leave us there.
We want to take Jesus' Word seriously where it says that we can boast about our weakness, knowing that God's strength is somehow made perfect in our weakness. We desire to be a people who model what it looks like to GET REAL knowing that Jesus' "Way" is the best way.
1 Corinthians 15:10 says, “But whatever I am now, it is because God poured out His special favour (grace) on me – and not without results.”
The world doesn't understand grace. What it understands is KARMA - it understands Religion. Karma and Religion is all about self-effort. What I can do to make the cut or better my future life. It's working for God's favor rather than just receiving His grace, which is found in the person of Jesus. Karma and Religion take the position of work; Grace takes the position of Rest. Jesus invites us to enter the rest only He can provide (Hebrews 4).
We are saved by grace, we live by grace and we live to extend grace to others and ourselves. But we can only give away what we have first discovered ourselves. The scriptures tell us "freely we have received, now freely give." Jesus was full of grace and truth, so we too desire to be a people full of grace.
Galatians 5:13 says, "For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love."
More than 50 times in the New Testament the phrase "one another" is used: "love one another;" "encourage one another;" "accept one another;" "bear one another's burdens;" "build up one another;" "pray for one another." A Simple Church is the best place to be there for "one another" in all these ways.
Life and "ministry" is all about relationships, not programs. Look back on your growth and development as a follower of Jesus and you will see that your growth didn't come through taking another class - pounding more and more information into your minds. It came in the context of a trusting Spirit-led relationship. We believe that we are transformed as we do life together. As we put ourselves into environments where we are known by others, we experience more of Jesus. This is why the Church is described as Christ's Body or as a Family. The Christian life was never meant to be walked alone; it has always been about community.
In 1 Corinthians 16:19 Paul passes on greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, his friends in Corinth who helped him start the church. It is to be noted that in that culture, when a couple or team are mentioned, the strongest of the two leaders are always listed first. We see this in the listing of Paul and Barnabas and here when the married couple Priscilla and Aquilla are mentioned. So we know that Priscilla's role was more than host who made sure the home was tidy and the food was prepared. Most likely Priscilla was a gifted leader and teacher, who played an important role in establishing the church in Corinth alongside Paul.
In Luke 10 we read of the Mary and Martha account. In agreement with NT Wright we believe it would be wrong to see Mary and Martha as they have so often been seen as models of the 'active' and the 'contemplative' styles of spirituality. Active and Contemplative styles are both valuable and important. Without the first, you wouldn't eat.
It must be noted that Jesus taught his disciples because He believed that one day they would be like Him, and that they would do what He did. Here Jesus is teaching Mary about the Kingdom with the intention and understanding that one day she would speak of it too. Give it away, and teach others.
At the River we believe that we are stand on level ground at the foot of the cross, men and women alike.
EMOTIONAL & SPIRITUAL HEALTH
Over the 28 years of pastoring we have come to realize the importance of emotional health alongside and with discipleship. In fact, we can't be a fully mature disciple of Christ and be immature emotionally. Emotional and Spiritual Health need to go hand in hand.
We have been helped along the way by many authors but like to quote a few lines from Pete Scazzero who has been mentoring us from a distance for years.
"If you're not loving, approachable, soft, weak in a sense, vulnerable person, you're not mature."
"Without solid discipleship the church isn't going anywhere. It's like a car without an engine. It looks good but it isn't going anywhere."
"The Pharisees were good at serving God and showing their righteous deeds before people. But they were terrible at loving others."
"Very few Christians have been discipled on how to love one another."
"Our discipleship has to include every aspect of who we are. So if you leave out emotional...it's not a biblical theology."
We desire to keep growing into emotionally healthy people, reflecting the person of Jesus.
Squamish is the outdoor recreational capital of Canada, for good reason!! This is one of the reasons why so many of us were drawn to Squamish in the first place. In fact, Darcy, one of the pastors of the River was first exposed to Squamish when he began to race mountain bikes in the Test of Metal Race way back in the day. Pastor Darcy still loves to ride, and enjoy so much that Squamish has to offer.
So as a church we don't want to fight this reality, but honour the fact that Squamish has drawn so many like minded people who love the outdoors. Rather than fight this or combat it, we as a church seek to embrace this reality, and hopefully enhance it. Inviting people to meet the God of Creation as they play in the great outdoors.
As we enjoy the outdoors, we know that the high and euphoria it provides doesn't last, nor should it. We love so much of the outdoor recreation, but we also know that it isn't everything. And as soon as it becomes "everything", a whole lot of the important things in life like relationships begin to fall apart. So in all of this we disre to be a people who live in balance, and amidst it all, bring glory to God in all we do and say.
"As we play together or alone in the great outdoors, may God's image in us be restored, and our imagination in God be re-storied. May the gravity of material things be lightened, and the relativity of time be slowed down. And may we know the grace to embrace our own finite smallness in the arms of God's infinite greatness. Amen"