“We have no desire to just do a concert and move on,” says Paul. “God ordained the local church to be the central place where spiritual needs are met. When we come in, our job is to encourage, uplift and soften the hearts of the people of that church so they will be emboldened to reach out to other people around them. Ultimately, evangelism is a one person show. We affect our neighbors, our family and our co-workers in how we live and what we say and don’t say.”
“Our goal is always to lead people into the presence of God,” says Phil. “It’s powerful to see the audience change from the start of the concert to the end. We try to make our concerts very relational. We have mountain tops and valleys just like everyone else. But at the end of the night, we, ourselves, want to draw closer to Jesus and take the audience there with us.”
After 20 years of recording, touring, and ministering outside the box, the mission statement of River has remained steady and constant. “We have tried our best to serve every church that we enter,” Kurt concludes. “We share our own personal stories, ignite ‘shared experiences’ that resonate with all people, offer heartfelt worship, and present a clear gospel message. And our goal at the end of every event is that folks are walking away saying, ‘This was excellent; this was genuine; lives were touched, and Christ was evident.’”
While their national radio successes have been impressive, it has been River’s desire to be an extension of the ministries of local churches that has contributed to their longevity. It also helps that each of these guys are, individually, passionate about evangelism. Kurt is an assistant pastor in Minnesota, Phil is a worship leader in his home church in Minnesota, and Paul is a full-time songwriter for Lifeway’s Worship division as well as a sought-after producer. Accountable to an exclusive board of directors for all these years, River has always maintained a servant’s attitude toward their role in concert ministry. And after 20 years, their desire to leave a mark on the places they visit has become priority one.