The term Riverside is based on Acts 16:11-40. Starting by the riverside in Philippi and moving throughout the city this story demonstrates 5 elements that have become important to me and Katie. No matter where we live, we will seek to live in a way that displays these elements. These 5 elements will also be defining marks of the Riverside.
- Encouragement of the brothers and sisters in Christ
- Care for the broken
The Riverside exists wherever the Carters are. Currently, that means Fortuna, CA
These are the convictions by which we desire to live by.
- Live like our Heavenly Father is holy (Live a holy life)
- Live like a resurrected Jesus Christ is coming back (Remain Gospel focused)
- Live like the Holy Spirit is real (Spirit-led and Spirit-dependent)
- Live with an exuberant passion to act in accordance with what we believe is true (A vibrant and passionate Christian walk; Real with people)
- Trust in the Godhead for our Provision (A life of prayer and faithful dependence upon God for all things)
- Trust in the Godhead for our Mission (Both the what to do and the how to serve)
- Pray in belief for everything (We pray to a living, generous, and faithful God)
We Are Self-Supporting Missionaries
Although we will not reject material support from the local church it is our constant prayer to be able to go and serve whether or not a church can offer material support. Therefore, it is our prayer that God will use any means he determines appropriate to provide for our daily needs. Ultimately it is his providence that provides for the work we do. Because of our desire to make God’s powerful provision visible we do not pursue marketing or any other campaigning models to solicit material support. Much like George Muller, we make our needs made known to God through prayer and then to only those who ask.
We would like to first serve the local church through pastoral care, teaching, hospitality, and prayer. Second, it is desirable to go and serve the global church through the use of short-term mission trips. In these trips, I (John) plan to provide intensive biblical language and theology courses to equip local leaders with the tools and resources necessary to begin translating from Greek and Hebrew into their own language. This will require a multi-year investment into a single area. The biggest work will be creating resources for future translators pastors, such as grammars, lexicons, and dictionaries.
The Underground Seminary is an intense time of discipleship and training where men & women come to study the Bible. This time is intended to equip church leaders and teachers with the tools necessary to study and teach the Bible from the original languages and with contextual accuracy. The work will be rigorous but it will also be worth the effort. Because discipleship will be the primary mode of interaction there will also be a significant emphasis on spiritual disciplines as well. Lectures, discussions, and community will be integral to this intentionally small group of students. We are underground because we are purposefully trying to work outside of the radar of unnecessary government oversight. We will pay Caesar what is Caesar’s, but we are intentionally working in a way that we believe is more consistent with a Gospel-centric ethic. We are not trying to work counter to traditional seminaries. Just differently. Discipleship is of a greater importance than academic knowledge. But this does not mean the academic rigor is loose or light.
(More information HERE)
It is desirable that we serve with other like-minded believers to assist in this endeavor. However, there is no promise of pay. Everyone will be self-supporting. There are also no plans to ‘go public’ with the work. Meaning, this work (the Riverside and The Underground Seminary) won’t have marketing campaigns. We will trust the Holy Spirit to take us where we need to go and to send us those who need training. Those who are visiting need to ensure they are giving as much as they are receiving. This means that those who come are expected to contribute.
(See HERE for a sample list of expenses)
Recommended Books / Links
There are many hours of conversation that has been packed into these few paragraphs. It might be helpful to begin reading the following two books and watching the following documentary.
- L’Abri by Edith Schaeffer
- Bonhoeffer’s Seminary Vision by Paul R. House
- Keith Green Documentary – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXOhSScVMUs