Rivers Edge Celebrates Special Sabbath
By Gary McLain
Where did the name ‘Rivers Edge’ originate? There are several places in the Bible where God’s people are referred to as ‘trees’ of righteousness bearing ‘fruit’ and ‘planted’ along the river’s edge. Here is an example: ‘But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit.– Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
In the lush farm valley of McMinnville, Oregon, a church was planted at the turn of the 20th century. In 2008, Jim and Darla John moved to McMinnville. The McMinnville Seventh-day Adventist Church was growing and in 2009 they asked Jim and Darla to lead out in a new church plant as lay-leaders, along with other dedicated members. The Rivers Edge group was formed and began worshiping Sabbath mornings in the local Adventure Christian church. Still working his full-time job and leading Rivers Edge, Jim completed his seminary master’s degree through Andrews University. In 2013, Jim became a full-time pastor in the Oregon Conference, leading the Rivers Edge, Grand Ronde, and Sheridan congregations where he and Darla continued to minister until January 2018 when they accepted a call to pastor the Northside Seventh-day Adventist Church in Anchorage, Alaska.
Since Rivers Edge began their faith journey they have not only shared Jesus in their local community, but they have also traveled to share Jesus in places like Guam, St. Lawrence Island, and Nome, Alaska. These outreach activities have built Rivers Edge as a community.
In less than ten years since the beginning of the church plant, God has carried Rivers Edge to a new and exciting point. Through God’s leading and the combined efforts of many dedicated members of Rivers Edge, the Oregon Conference Executive Committee voted on December 7, 2017 to approve the formation of a church under the name of Rivers Edge Seventh-day Adventist Church.
We are happy to announce that on March 24, 2018 Rivers Edge formally became a church in the Oregon Conference. At the eleven o’clock service, in the McMinnville Adventist Christian School gymnasium, officials from the Oregon Conference along with Pastor Jim, and members of this new church went through the process of calling the membership and leadership to the task of becoming part of, and moving this church forward. But that wasn’t the only highlight of the day.
In the afternoon, the members from his former district joined Pastor Jim in his ordination as a Seventh-day Adventist Pastor. Conference officials and other attending pastors laid hands on Jim and Darla, praying that God might lead in their lives and ministry.
Pastor Jim accepted Jesus as his personal Savior when he was attending Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon as a senior business administration major. He was baptized in the McMinnville Adventist Church by Pastor Don James in March of 1985. Jim had only one quarter left to finish up his degree at Western Oregon University but decided he needed to fill his friend circle with other Adventists. So, Jim uprooted and moved to attend Walla Walla University (WWU). To finish his degree at WWU Jim needed to satisfy all the needed Bible classes. Which Jim happily did, taking several quarters to do so. Jim met the love of his life, Darla Brown, an elementary education major and devout follower of Jesus while attending WWU. They married on June 15, 1986.
After graduation, Jim and Darla moved to the Seattle, Washington area where Jim began his business career and Darla began teaching at the Snoqualmie Valley Adventist School. Jim and Darla became very involved in their local church, becoming good friends with their new pastor and his wife just out of seminary, Dan and Verlaine Linrud. Pastor Dan Linrud ordained Jim as a local elder at the Snoqualmie Valley Adventist Church in 1988. Jim counts it as a real honor to have Dan Linrud, president of the Oregon Conference, ordain him into gospel ministry all these years later.
We pray that God will continue to bless the Johns and Rivers Edge as they continue to grow in Jesus and their communities.
Click on the photo at the top to see more photos from this special day.