Riverside was planted in September 2009 by a small group of individuals with a heart for the city of South Bend. During the first six years, we met in two different schools. By 2015, we finished converting an old bowling alley into a community center that we now gather in. From the beginning, we have also met in homes throughout the week. The heart of Riverside has always been the same, to be a deeply relational, outward-focused community church that loves Jesus and people.
Riverside is rooted on the west side of South Bend, which is a very diverse area in terms of economics, race, politics, etc. At the same time, people from many other areas of Michiana also call Riverside their church family. We view our diversity as a strength as it causes us to listen to each other and see the never-changing Gospel of Jesus from different vantage points (it’s also a challenge at times).
While we have had long-standing leadership at the pastoral and elder level, we significantly value many different people leading and using their gifts to advance the mission of God (and Riverside).
Our story is a lot deeper than this, as it entails a couple hundred people following Jesus together, with many ups and downs, twists and turns. Hopefully this little snapshot gives you a picture of Riverside and our journey thus far. Just know our story is wrapped up in God’s story and the stories of our shared lives together, which is hard to capture in a few paragraphs on a website.
ABOUT OUR NAME
At Riverside, we believe that church is not a building but a gathering of people who know Jesus, are being transformed by the Spirit, and are doing mission with God together. For our city of South Bend (named for the southern bend in the St. Joseph River), the river is a central, scenic, and serene gathering place. Here's what gathering on the riverside means to us:
A river is a place of life. It nourishes both plants and created creatures along the bank and under its current. (Rev. 22:1, John 7:38, Ps. 1:3)
A river is a place of rest. Its refreshes the thirsty and soothe the weary who rest beside it. (Gen. 2:10, Is. 66:12, Jer. 17:8)
A river is a place of cleansing. It washes away the dirt staining our skin and the sin staining our soul. (Matt. 3:3, Mark 1:4-5, John 3:5, Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21)
A river is a place of gathering. Its invites communities, families, and believers to sit together on the riverside to celebrate, mourn, enjoy companionship, and be at and peace. (Ps. 137:1, Acts 16:13-15)
A river is a place for worship. Its continuous rushing music and over-flowing power reflect the beauty of and power of God, calling others to speak and act with lives of worship. (Amos 5:24, Ps. 98:8, Ps. 65:9, John 7:38)