Part of RiverGlen's philosophy is the power of invitation. We believe it starts with an invitation into a relationship with others, and loving and serving others where they're at, which inevitably leads to an encounter with Jesus. For Ashley, she and her family became a recipient of an invitation just like this that would change their lives.
As they closed on their new house in 2013, they started meeting the neighbors. One of them, who is now one of Ashley's best friends, invited Ashley and her family to RiverGlen Christian Church multiple times. Not long after, Ashley's mom also started attending RiverGlen.Almost every weekend, there was an invitation from Ashley's mother to attend RG with her. "Looking back, I know now that God was working through them to keep asking me."
Finally, in January 2018, Ashley accepted the invitation to come to church. "What I know now is that God was preparing my heart and my mind for what was coming later that year and the years to come for us." Since coming in 2018, Ashley found herself diving deeper into her faith like never before.
Ryan, Ashley's husband, found himself at a crossroads. Faith wasn't part of his story... yet. He found himself in the midst of his own transformation as he found Jesus through an invitation from his wife to come to church. Both Ashley and Ryan were baptized in December 2019.
"We live for Jesus now and he's at the center of our lives."
When asked what she would tell someone who is considering inviting a friend to RG, Ashley said "Do what my friend and my mom did - just keep asking and let God do the rest."
"Life is crazy. We never really know what's up ahead. God used my friend and my Mom to get me to church so that I was ready for the struggle. If we don't let God use us this same way, we're missing an opportunity to give the people we love the hope and love of Jesus to help them get through their struggles."
Ryan and Ashley have continued the chain of invitations and extended it to their other neighbors. Two families have attended church because of an invitation from Ashley and her husband, and another family has continued to attend for the last year. Through those invites, they have had great conversations in the neighborhood about God. "It feels like it opened a door that wasn't open before. I'm hoping to have more of those conversations in the future."