Friday, April 17, 2009


Hey interested readers,

I wanted to write to you to give some updates on the transition at The River and what we're up to. Since last fall, we have seen some pretty incredible changes happening at the church. I stepped down as the senior pastor and was rehired as the associate pastor through the redevelopment transition. During this time, we changed locations and began holding our church services at our local movie theater. This has been a great opportunity as we have seen a number of new families discover our church through the downtown presence at a more visible location.

Additionally, in October a local businessman donated us the use of an empty store on the major highway through town for us to use as a ministry center/office building. We've been working on fixing it up over the past few months and have already seen numerous opportunities to minister to people who simply stop by the office needing someone to talk to. In March, our pastoral search process came to a close and we hired a man named Joe Arwood to be the next senior pastor at The River. Joe has hit the ground running and is working hard to continue the momentum as we minister to those who are hurting in our community. We are well on our way to seeing The River Alliance Church become a viable and significant ministry in Chaska.

As part of the transition, Corey is now the part-time associate pastor. His main roles include evangelism to those on the fringes of our community, continual operation of the youth ministry (which continues to have amazing stories through our outreach concerts, etc.), some worship leading, and leading of small groups. In the process of transitioning, we began to seek out where God was directing us for the rest of Corey's income. As we have prayed and talked with other area churches and ministries, God has placed on our hearts a new ministry opportunity that we fits perfectly with the experiences and passions that we have developed over the last 8 years.

We have spent much of our time working with post-high school young adults that have come from at-risk backgrounds. We have watched as teen-focused ministries have done amazing work with them, but after they graduate from high school, they are on their own. We believe that many young adults desperately need assistance launching into successful adulthood.

We have decided to start a new organization, called Launch Ministry, which will meet a significant need in this demographic. The mission of the organization is to promote holistic life transformation as youth transition into adulthood by providing them with tools to develop life skills, opportunities to lead and serve, and by promoting spiritual and character formation. We will do this through mentoring, leadership training, life skills classes, volunteer service opportunities, discipleship houses (where people would live and learn in community), counseling, and spiritual development opportunities.

Over the past two months, we have been developing partnerships with area youth ministries and have seen amazing results. Everyone sees a desperate need for a young adult ministry that can help students to discover their God-given potential while assisting them with the practical things that they need to make that a reality. Since this idea was hatched a few months ago, we have started an initial Bible study to connect with people in this age group. It has been tremendously successful with 15-25 young adults attending weekly. We have held several community events that have also been well attended. Once we are in position to more fully launch the organization (programming, etc. in place), we will have no trouble finding interested students who desperately need the kind of mentoring and assistance that we can offer. On the organizational side, we have put together our board of directors and have begun our strategic planning and partnerships. We have begun the application to receive our 501(c)3 nonprofit status, but until that is approved, we will function under the banner of The River.

This is a scary and exciting journey for us as we seek to follow God's leading in our lives. Thank you for your willingness to participate with us and may God bless you as you serve Him.

In Christ,

Corey and Lori

p.s. - Check out the Launch Ministry Blog frequently for updates, stories, and more!