‘Thousand Hearts’ – Living the Gospel Message

By Stan Friedman

ROCKFORD, MN (March 7, 2013) – Riverwood Covenant Church, a congregation with an average weekly attendance of 180 people, already has drawn strong support as it seeks to enlist 1,000 people to participate in community service projects on May 5.

The Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Timberwolves, as well as local congregations and service organizations, already have pledged their support for “One Thousand Hearts Crow River Sunday” (the north and south forks of the Crow River meet in Rockford).

“It’s just taken off like crazy,” says Riverwood Pastor Keith Robinson, who laughs while confessing, “We’re making it up as we go.”

The day will focus on addressing hunger, health, and habitation needs. The many planned projects include a free health screening with dental services, health evaluations, preparing four community garden plots, landscaping improvements, and cleanup of the Crow River.

The church started planning the event six months ago at the suggestion of a church member. The congregation was further inspired after Ray Johnston, pastor of Bayside Church, a Covenant congregation, announced during the recent Midwinter Conference a national, interdenominational push to encourage congregations to participate in a day of service on either May 17 or 18, 2014. Churches could engage in ministry projects rather than hold regular worship services, it was suggested. Click here to read a previously published story.

Riverwood will cancel its second service on the upcoming Crow River day. Its first service will focus on sending people forth. Earlier in the morning, a breakfast will be served at the local town hall. Participants will gather again at 5 p.m. for a meal and to share their experiences.

Robinson says the event will be an opportunity to speak and live the gospel in the town of 4,300 people as well as the surrounding area. The church already has a strong reputation for caring about the community.

Many area residents are low-income, so three years ago Riverwood launched Riverworks, a separate nonprofit that provides food and clothing.

The church plant had the Riverworks building constructed at the time – before its own facility was built. The newspaper carried a front-page story at the time asking what kind of church would make that decision. The church eventually had its own building constructed, which it moved into one year ago this month.

The Northwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church seeded the church $3,000 to start Riverworks, which now involves 17 different entities.

National Covenant Properties financed purchase of the property and construction of the Riverwood building.

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