If you are looking for a church in the Lancaster, Ohio, area, you are welcome here. We are a Bible-based, Spirit-filled church, and our whole heart is focused on fulfilling Christ’s mission to the world: loving and serving people. Through Christ’s love, the lost are found and the broken healed. (Isaiah 61:1)
WHAT WE BELIEVE
- There is one Almighty God and Creator and His name is Jesus.
- All sin came by Adam and can only be forgiven by one, Jesus.
- Jesus was born of a virgin, died on the Cross, rose from the grave on the third day, ascended into the heavens with the promise to return in like manner.
- Jesus is the Lamb of God whose blood brings redemption to those who believe.
- We are to be producers and not consumers in the earth…
- It is the inherent responsibility of every believer in Jesus to share their story with others.
WE BELIEVE IN REACHING THE LOST
We consider reaching people one of our greatest responsibilities.
WE BELIEVE IN RELATIONSHIP
Real life change happens in the context of relationships – small groups. In the Bible, they worshipped in the temple but ministry happened house to house.
WE BELIEVE IN DISCIPLESHIP
The River Pathways offers the information and experiences necessary to help you discover and develop your redemptive purpose. The River Pathways are designed to lead you through a step-by-step process of growth and leadership.
WE BELIEVE IN THE GIFTS AND CALLING OF GOD
All of us were created by God to make a difference in the life of another person. God has a place for you where your unique abilities and passions can touch the lives of others. We believe that your life will never make sense until you find, develop, and fulfill that purpose.
Statement of Faith
We believe that the Bible is the Word of Almighty God. The Word of God is Spirit and life. The Spirit of man is made alive by that living Word.
We declare that the shed blood of Jesus Christ is the only atonement for the sin of the world. Jesus saved that which was lost in the first garden (Garden of Eden), by His death, burial, and resurrection in the garden of His tomb.
We believe in repentance, baptism in the Name of Jesus, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. These, however, are only the first steps in the life of a Believer. Salvation should be walked out, manifesting the Gifts and the Fruit of the Spirit in our everyday lives. (Acts 2:38, 19:1-6, 10:44-48)
We expect the imminent appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ to rule and reign with His saints and His Kingdom will never end.
Statement of Vision
Our vision is to see the Kingdom of Christ rule in the hearts, homes and lives of all. This must be done “in” us so that it might be done “through” us. (Colossians 1:13)
Statement of Purpose
Our purpose is to provide an atmosphere of love and grace allowing the purposes of God to be unhindered in individuals, thus impacting our community.
Pastors Paul and Paula Bishop
Our Founding Pastors Paul and Paula Bishop were both born and raised in the homes of ministers.
Son of Rev. Raymond and Frankie Bishop, Paul was born and raised in rural Mississippi. Early childhood in a pastor’s home taught him the ups and downs of ministry and it was in this environment that a love for ministers and a passion for the lost was born and nurtured.
At an early age Paul heard the voice of God and began to answer the call to serve in the local church in several facets of ministry.
In 1982 Paul married Paula (Russell) who also comes from a family of faith. Her grandfather, James O. Russell was a pioneer preacher who had a gift to pray for the sick and see great miracles and who was also her pastor and spiritual father.
In their ministry together Paul and Paula have served as staff ministers in New Albany, Mississippi, Springfield, Missouri, Lancaster, Ohio, and now as pastors of The River.
It is the Bishop’s heart’s desire to bring healing to the broken, hope to those who’ve been disillusioned by “religion”, and restoration to the “generals” in God’s kingdom who feel displaced and no longer needed.
They also seek to make a place for people who are hungry for a deeper and greater move of God in “worship” to find that experience.
The Bishops have one daughter, Lindsay (Bishop) Williams and she is married to Ben Williams who serves in ministry at The River mentoring young men. Both Lindsay and Ben have made themselves available to serve in many other capacities of ministry as well.
Dave Kiner – Auxiliary Pastor
Dave Kiner, a member of The River Valley Life Center since 2005, is presently serving on staff as an Auxiliary Pastor providing assistance to The River’s senior leadership, and Pastoral Care to The River’s ever growing constituency.
Dave is a 1969 graduate from Grove City High, and Paul C. Hayes Tech. Upon graduation from High School, at the age of 17, Dave flew to the Samoan Islands, in the South Pacific, to assist the missionaries there until their return to the homeland. In 1973, he graduated from the Apostolic Bible Institute, located in St Paul, Minnesota, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Theology. Following completion of his education, he married his college sweetheart, Jerilyn Buckli, the same year. Dave’s wife, Jeri, is from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and graduated from High School in 1969. She also attended the Apostolic Bible Institute, where, after 2 years, returned home to prepare for their wedding, following his graduation. Once married, Dave and Jeri embarked on their life long quest of serving the church, and starting their family. Dave’s ministry training took them to Illinois for 1 year, Michigan for 7 years, and eventually to Ohio in 1980, where, to date, he has served under 4 Pastors. His various ministry responsibilities have included Assistant to the Pastor roles, Youth Pastor, Director of Christian Education, Choir Director, Worship Leader, Christian Academy Principal, High School Teacher, Prison Ministry Inmate Instructor for CORE Academy at SCI in Lancaster, and as an Instructor at the Lancaster faith-based community outreach, CCLA. Dave also provides mentoring to young men from The River, when requested. Jeri has also provided wise and timely encouragement and direction to prison inmates through prayerful letter writing, and served the ladies of River Valley Life Center for 8 years before turning it over to new leadership. Dave and Jeri continue to provide pre- and post-marital counseling as River ministry pastors. And, along with Chris and Melinda Bookman, currently provide senior leadership to the River’s young adult ministry, Impact Fellowship.
Prior to becoming members of The River, and before being brought on as a full-time staff member, he enjoyed many secular jobs, including a 12-year stint with The Xerox Corporation as a Business Administrator, and a Customer Business Rep, supporting sales, and their ‘Faultless Install’ objectives. His last assignment with Xerox, was providing post-sale customer support as a Senior Tech. Upon leaving Xerox, he managed several local businesses, and served as the Vice-President of Operations for a new startup company. His last job, prior to accepting employment at The River, was as a buyer and inventory Coordinator at Taylor Station Surgical Center, in Columbus, Ohio.
Together, Dave and Jeri raised 2 boys, and 2 girls, all 4 going on to marry and, together, have provided their parents with 11 grandchildren, (8 girls and 3 boys), to date. As of November of 2023, 4 of Dave and Jeri’s granddaughters have also married, adding 4 grandson’s-in-law, 2 great-grandsons, and 2 great-granddaughters to their ever-growing brood, bringing the Kiner Klan family total to 29. They all come ‘home’ at least 3 times a year to enjoy the holidays together, and a much looked for, and thoroughly enjoyed, family reunion, favorite recipe meals, loud and boisterous table games, and a time of pure fun, relaxation, and reflection.
Dave and Jeri now enjoy their quiet but busy life from their country home just south of Lancaster, Ohio. When time permits, they enjoy hiking, reading, movies and documentaries, and good ole ‘come-on-up-and-sit-a-spell’ fellowship with friends, family, and occasional neighbors.
Parenting Pastors: Jack and Betsy Schumacher
Jack and Betsy Schumacher have been married since 1992. Jack was raised in the Canal Winchester area and Betsy was raised in Lancaster. They met at Fairfield Christian Church in Lancaster. While at Fairfield Christian Church, they both felt a call to minister to teenagers. Jack began helping with the youth in 1989 and Betsy began in 1991.
As they felt God moving them to a deeper level in Him, they started to attend The River in 2000. As a result of their love for teens, they became the youth pastors in 2001. They now have become the spiritual parents to many young men and young women who are striving to fulfill the call of God on their lives.
They have 3 children: Makaila, J.B., and Gabriella and all are active in ministry at The River. They live in Lancaster, Ohio in the house that Jack built.
Mike and Cindy Teagarden- Deepwater Healing
Mike and Cindy Teagarden each have many years of history serving the Lord. Mike has planted and pastored churches, worked with church camps and a Christian coffeehouse, conducted Christian radio programs and organized community intercession groups. His heart’s desire is to disciple many sons and daughters to fruitful maturity. Cindy has ministered extensively through mime, benevolence ministries, and intercessory prayer. She is also owner and founder of A Heavenly Touch cleaning company. Her passion is to bring wholeness to the body of Christ through the healing, delivering, and saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Together they have a robust international ministry of healing and deliverance. Ordained by Charles and Frances Hunter in 2007. They work tirelessly in the Philippines, throughout the United States, and at home in Central Ohio, to bring glory to God through healing and deliverance in the name of Jesus. “Let my people go, that they may serve Me.” (Exodus 8:1)
In May of 2008 the Lord led the Teagardens to Lancaster, Ohio. Here he provided them wonderful oversight via Pastors Paul and Paula Bishop of the River Valley Life Center. At “The River” Mike and Cindy currently serve as congregational pastors and as small group pastors. Additionally, Mike oversees the Marriage Counseling for those in need at “The River.”
Together they also founded and operate a ministry of “The River” called DeepWater Ministries Int’l. They regularly conduct River Healing the Whole Man School, Show Us Your Glory School, Free Indeed Deliverance School & Intercessory Prayer School to equip the saints and to reach the lost. In these schools they teach how to believe and receive all the healing & deliverance Jesus died for, laying hands on the sick, expecting miracles. All for the glory of God, and they are not disappointed! The Teagardens and their students are constantly seeing healings, miracles, salvations, and deliverances. Countless attendees have been filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Thousands of students from these schools have been empowered and are now laying hands on their families, neighbors, co-workers, and even complete strangers!
In addition to pastoring and teaching, DWM oversees a Deliverance Ministry called, “Free Indeed.” This important work takes place in the “Healing Broken Vessels Room” located at Frontline Church of God in Amanda, Ohio. Mike and Cindy are passionate to see people healed, whole, and free in every area.
Together, Mike and Cindy have six grown children and fourteen grandchildren. When they are not traveling the globe for ministry; they enjoy walking, relaxing in their pool, working in their yard, or playing with their grandchildren
For more information about the “Free Indeed!” Deliverance Ministry, contact Libby Cavanaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org. For booking a Ministry School, or for general inquiries, contact Mike and Cindy at email@example.com.
Executive Pastor: Lindsay Williams
Hello! My name is Lindsay and I have had a passion for children as long as I can remember. Even as a child, I loved being around and helping out with those younger than I. Honestly, I never wanted to grow up! Kids are such a wonderful part of life. They bring such wonder and imagination to everything. I believe that God has instilled things like imagination, in every kid from birth that is for the purpose of their ministry. I wholeheartedly believe in the ministry of children at any age. I believe that everything their hands touch can be used for ministry when guided by faith. And faith is what we at The River seek to instill in your child.
In 1995, God moved upon the hearts of a few ministers from the Lancaster, Ohio area to unite and start a church. This would be a place where the freedom of worship and the multiplicity of ministry could be established, free from the hierarchy of man’s systems of religion. These men of God met in the home of Paul and Paula Bishop on Tuesday night, October 15, to pray and plan the first meeting. Among these ministers were Paul Bishop – Pastor “The River”, Rob Yanok – Lead Pastor, Gracetown Church(Columbus, OH), Matt Rice – Pastor, Life Church Columbus(Columbus, OH), and others. They were also assisted by Brian and Michelle Burd who have since founded The Vineyard, Pataskala, Ohio. The church was named “The River Valley Life Center”.
The first Sunday service was held in the Tarhe Elementary School in Lancaster. There were no real efforts to announce or advertise the service. The church had no money or equipment. God moved on someone to bring a keyboard and someone else brought a PA system. By 11:00am that Sunday morning there were eighty-one people worshiping Jesus!
The church began to grow. Very soon the children were too many to fit in the small “teacher’s lounge” set aside for their class. To this day, the children are the fastest growing group, and a significant part of all that God is doing in this work.
Six months later, the church moved to Thomas Ewing School to have more space. One year to the day of the first service, they were able to move to their own property 2190 Coonpath Road in Lancaster, where they currently reside.
In August of 1996, Pastor Paul and Paula were taking a leisurely drive on their way out of town for their wedding anniversary. A spontaneous turn led them down Coonpath Road to an “acreage for sale” sign. They pulled in and spoke to the farmer and drove away with tears in their eyes, knowing that God had set them up with another “divine” appointment.
They were able to purchase the property through a real estate agent who had already joined the church and the bank loaned the little group the money they needed. The farmer agreed to let them start having services in the barn. Thus, sitting on bales of hay, and among horse stalls, on a very cool October morning the first service in “The Barn” was held. Following some creative renovation and one miracle after another, the State of Ohio issued a change of use permit and allowed occupancy to the church worship services.
The “barn” is an ongoing project reflective of the ongoing restoration of the “house” that God is building in us. It has more recently come to be known as “The River”, but will forever be in the hearts of so many in Lancaster, “The Barn”!
2190 Coonpath Rd. NW
Lancaster, OH 43130
We want to make sure that your visit at The River is the absolute best that it can be. In order to make you feel a little more at home, here is what you can expect:
- A CASUAL ATMOSPHERE – We have no dress code and no strict time schedule. You and your family are invited to come as you are.
- A WARM GREETING – Our friendly greeters are here for you; from a hug or a handshake to answering questions.
- LIVELY WORSHIP – Our time together kicks off with the family worship experience where we welcome all to worship in their own way.
- CHILDREN’S CLASSES – Our nursery staff is available for the duration of the service to minister to your little ones ages 3 and under. Preschool and elementary age kids are part of the family worship experience and will be released to their classes following worship. We encourage parents to escort their children to class for the first time so they can meet the teacher, see the classroom, and register them.
- SPIRIT-LED PREACHING AND TEACHING – Our pastor, Paul Bishop, brings a life-transforming word to us each week from the Bible. From real-life topics to biblical doctrine, each week’s word is intended to stimulate spiritual growth no matter where you are in your walk with God.
- A MOVE OF GOD – God is always moving and we desire to move with Him. Though our services follow a basic structure and format, we welcome the Holy Spirit to come and dwell and often that means abandoning our plans for service to just enjoy his presence.