Generosity changes lives. 

RiverGlen Stories

Jesus Is For Everyone
Mar 15, 2023

The message of Jesus Christ is one that transcends boundaries of race, ethnicity, social status, class, and every other division that separates humanity. The Gospel invites every person, from every background, into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Jesus loved everyone, and His message is one of inclusion, love, and hope.

Here at RG, we've been in a series called For Everyone. The idea behind this series is to position our hearts and lives around receiving others into our lives and into our church the way Jesus calls us to. No favoritism, conditions, or pre-requisites. 

Jesus was for everyone because He saw every person as a child of God, worthy of love and respect. He did not discriminate against anyone based on their race, ethnicity, social status, or any other characteristic. Instead, Jesus reached out to the marginalized and oppressed, offering them hope and salvation.

As a church, we wanted to illustrate this point through a light wall. The light wall was installed at both our Waukesha and Pewaukee campuses and allowed for people to grab a lightbulb and screw it into one of the 1500 holes on the wall. As the lightbulb illuminates the names on the bulb, we're reminded that Jesus and a life following Him are for everyone. 

During one of our services, we also encouraged people to write four names on their lightbulbs. 

1. Someone close to us.

2. Someone that's difficult.

3. Someone that's hurting.

4. Someone that has fallen short of our expectations.

The challenge here wasn't just to list these individuals on a lightbulb, but to actively love and serve these individuals that God has placed in our lives. Whether through prayer, invitation, relationship, or perhaps a combination of these things, the lightbulb with four names is meant to signify the power of God's love.

His message of love and inclusion is clear throughout the Bible. In Matthew 22:39, Jesus commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves, without exception. In John 3:16, Jesus states that God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son to save it. This message of love for all people is repeated throughout the New Testament.

As followers of Jesus, we are called to model His behavior and love all people. It's not about a religious conversion or changing someone's lifestyle or belief system. Jesus commanded two things of us - love God, and love others. We must reject the societal divisions that separate us and reach out to those who are marginalized and oppressed. This means treating everyone with respect and compassion, regardless of their background, political stance, social status, race, etc. We can model Jesus’ behavior by reaching out to those who are different from us and learning about their experiences. We can listen to their stories, empathize with their struggles, and work to understand their perspectives. We can love them unconditionally, despite their life choices, or past. And we can invite them into a relationship with Jesus, a relationship founded on love, hope, and faith, that will transform their lives for the better.

By following Jesus’ example, we can create a world where everyone is seen, heard, and valued, not for what they've done, but who they are to God.


RiverGlen Stories

What Does Serving Have to Do with Following Jesus?
Mar 14, 2023

Serving or volunteering is the act of giving oneself to help others without any expectation of receiving anything in return. It is an act of kindness and compassion that can have a significant impact on the lives of those who are in need. 

In many religious traditions, serving and volunteering are central values that are emphasized as a means of showing love and compassion toward others. These values are rooted in the belief that every human being is created in the image of God and that we are called to serve and care for one another.

For example, in the Bible, Jesus Christ is portrayed as the ultimate servant leader who came to serve and not to be served. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus tells his disciples, "Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all" (Mark 10:43-44). He then goes on to demonstrate this servant leadership by washing his disciples' feet, an act of service that was traditionally reserved for the lowest servant in the household.

In the Old Testament, the concept of serving others is also emphasized as a way of expressing one's love for God. Leviticus 19:18 instructs, "Love your neighbor as yourself," and Deuteronomy 15:11 commands, "Open your hand to the poor and needy." The Talmud is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law and Jewish theology. It likewise teaches that one of the highest forms of charity is to help someone become self-sufficient, rather than simply providing them with temporary relief.

There are numerous other stories in the Bible and other religious texts that emphasize the importance of serving and volunteering. For example, the story of the Good Samaritan in the Gospel of Luke teaches us to show compassion to all people, regardless of their background or circumstances. The book of James encourages us to put our faith into action by caring for the poor and needy. And the book of Proverbs tells us that "Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done" (Proverbs 19:17).

So why is serving and volunteering so important? First and foremost, it is a way of expressing our love and compassion toward others, and it fulfills our obligation to care for those in need. It is also a way of building community and strengthening social bonds, as we come together to work towards a common goal. In conclusion, serving and volunteering are central values in many religious traditions and are emphasized as a means of expressing our love and compassion towards others. By serving and volunteering, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of those in need, build community, and grow as individuals. Whether it's volunteering at a local food bank, mentoring a young person, or simply helping out a neighbor in need, there are countless ways that we can serve and give back to our communities.

So where do we start? Oftentimes, the opportunity to serve others is right in front of us. No opportunity is too small to step up and serve. Perhaps you have a neighbor who could be in need of a friendly chat. Or maybe your coworker is currently going through a difficult situation and needs a listening ear. Whatever or whoever it may be, God has placed you exactly where he intends for you to be. We can take the opportunities right in front of us to worship God through acts of service, big and small. 

If you're looking for an ongoing volunteer opportunity, RiverGlen has several local partnerships with schools, shelters, food pantries, and more, where we send volunteers both on a weekly and as-needed basis.  RiverGlen also has plenty of serve opportunities within the church on the weekends and during special events.  If you'd like to be added to the email list of opportunities or to find something specific, fill out our serving interest form here.

Serving Interest Form

RiverGlen Stories

How Generosity Multplies through Church Plants
Mar 06, 2023

Church planting is one of the most effective ways of expanding the reach of making more and better followers of Jesus. It enables new communities to form around the church and allows for fresh, relevant expressions of faith to take root in different contexts. However, church planting requires significant resources and support, both in terms of finances and people. It takes money to rent or buy a facility, hire staff, and launch a marketing campaign to let people know that the church is there. Additionally, church plants often don't see significant attendance or giving for the first year or two, making it difficult to cover these costs. 

This is where generosity comes in. Other churches willing to invest in church planting can help new churches get established, and the impact of that generosity can multiply in amazing ways.

One example of this is 11.28 Community Church, which is located in the Oak Creek area. 11.28 was started in 2020 by a group of people who felt called to create a church that was focused on "doing LIFE differently." A few churches and people in the area saw the potential in this new church plant and decided to support them financially.

The initial generosity that 11.28 received was critical to their success. It allowed them to cover their rent, pay their staff, and launch a marketing campaign that helped them reach new people. However, the impact of that generosity didn't stop there. As 11.28 started to grow, they were able to reach more people with the Gospel. They started to develop relationships with people in their community, and they began to see lives transformed. They started offering programs for kids and teens, and they began to partner with other organizations in the area to serve the needs of the community. They've come alongside the city of Oak Creek to elevate their pre-existing community events to a whole new level. Like their Easter egg hunt each spring. 11.28 was able to purchase hundreds of additional eggs.

The impact of 11.28's generosity multiplied as they continued to grow. They started sending out teams to do service projects in and around Milwaukee. They started to see their own community transformed as more and more people were impacted by the Gospel.

This is just one example of how generosity can multiply through church planting. When churches are willing to invest in new church plants, they are not just helping those churches get established. They are also investing in the expansion of the Kingdom of God. They are helping to create new communities of faith that can impact their own communities and beyond.

As Christians, we are called to live generously. We are called to use our resources to further the work of the Gospel. If you are part of a church that is considering supporting a new church plant, I encourage you to prayerfully consider doing so. Your generosity can have a profound impact on the lives of many people. And if you are part of a church plant that has received generosity from others, I encourage you to pay it forward. As you continue to grow and develop, look for ways to support other new church plants. Your generosity can help create a ripple effect that will impact many lives for years to come.

RiverGlen Stories

A 10-year-old Making a BIG Impact
Feb 28, 2023

Chloe is a remarkable young girl who has dedicated her time and energy to helping those in need. For the past six years, she has been raising money for various causes and making a positive impact in her community.

At just 10 years old, Chloe has already accomplished so much. She started out by raising money for the Christmas Clearing Council's blanket drive, and over the years, she has expanded her efforts to include raising funds for coats and outdoor gear, as well as supporting families in need through RiverGlen Christian Church's Outreach ministry.

Chloe has raised between $250-$300 each year through her efforts, which may not seem like a lot, but it is a significant contribution to those in need. Her efforts have made a real difference in the lives of those who have benefited from her charitable work.

With the proceeds, she goes shopping for gifts to distribute in her community. She has purchased clothing, toys, blankets, and many other gifts that find their way into the right hands of children in need. She demonstrates generosity in all she does.

What is truly remarkable about Chloe is her dedication to making a difference. She has been raising money for causes since the age of four, which is a testament to her character and her desire to help others. It's not easy to maintain such a level of commitment for six years, but Chloe has shown that she is up to the task.

In addition, she came up with the idea of fundraising for HAWS and brainstormed ways to do that. She called Pick N Save and asked if she could stand outside giving away hot cocoa, with the hope that people would donate to the HAWS cause. She made posters and had packets of info to give out (her and a friend did this together).  They raised several hundred dollars this past November.

Chloe's charitable work is an inspiration to all of us. It reminds us that no matter how young we are, we can make a real difference in the world. Her selflessness, dedication, and kindness are qualities that we should all strive to emulate.

Chloe, we applaud you for your hard work and your commitment to making the world a better place. Your efforts are making a real difference in the lives of those around you, and we know that you will continue to do great things in the future. Thank you for being a shining example of kindness and compassion.

Chloe's mother says "All in all, Chloe is a super thoughtful, helpful kiddo and I cannot wait to see where that takes her. I'm eager for her to be able to start youth group in 6th grade to see where that part of her heart can take her too."

RiverGlen Stories

The Power of Generosity
Feb 21, 2023

The word generosity sometimes carries a negative connotation. We might think being generous involves sacrificing comforts that we don't want to give up. Generosity may appear to be something that hurts us for the sake of helping someone else - which doesn't make it very appealing. 

But what if our perspective on generosity is entirely wrong?

Generosity is really more beneficial for us than we think. In fact, it's statistically proven. According to an article by the John Templeton Foundation by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, "giving social support—time, effort, or goods—is associated with better overall health in older adults, and volunteering is associated with delayed mortality."

Reportedly, "Other studies have shown a link between generosity and happiness. Some studies have found that people are happier when spending money on others than on themselves, which motivates them to be generous in the future."

Meet Dave and Becky, a couple who have made generosity a core value in their lives. For them, being generous is not just an action, but a lifestyle with the intention to create positive change in the world around them. They believe that through generosity, they can make a difference in the lives of others.

Over the years, both  Dave and Becky have contributed their time, talents, words, and financial resources to help fuel the mission of making more and better followers of Jesus. They are passionate about generosity and believe it is a key component for enriching their own lives as well as helping others. Here are some of the reasons they believe generosity is so important:

  1. It strengthens their faith: For Dave and Becky, generosity is not just about giving money or material possessions. They see it as an expression of their faith and a way to connect with God. They believe that as they give generously, they are trusting God to provide for their needs and are acknowledging His provision in their lives.

  2. It helps them to focus on others: Generosity is a way to shift the focus from themselves to others. Dave and Becky believe that by giving generously, they are able to show love and compassion to those who may be struggling or in need. They see it as an opportunity to share the blessings they have received with others.

  3. It creates a ripple effect: Dave and Becky believe that generosity can have a powerful ripple effect. When they give generously, it can inspire others to do the same. This can create a positive chain reaction that can impact many people's lives. They believe that their generosity can make a difference beyond just the initial recipient of their giving.

  4. It brings joy and fulfillment: Giving generously brings a sense of joy and fulfillment to Dave and Becky's lives. They see it as a way to use their resources to make a difference and bring hope to others. They believe that the joy they experience through giving is far greater than any material possessions or financial gain.

Dave and Becky understand that generosity is not always easy, and it can require sacrifice and a willingness to step out of their comfort zones. However, they believe that the benefits of generosity far outweigh any challenges. They have seen firsthand the impact that generosity can have on their own lives and the lives of those around them. They encourage others to consider the role that generosity can play in their own lives and to explore ways to give back to God through living and giving generously.

Here is Dave and Becky's story firsthand.

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