Everyone has a story and The River is no exception. It is much like the story of those who attend our church in that The River story is a “Comeback Story”. After decades in the community the congregation, small as they were, stepped out on faith and purchased 5 acres on Stewarts Ferry Pike in Nashville. In 98-99 they built a small 6400 sq. ft. facility on the property with dreams of becoming a church that would impact the community. By 2003 there was only a handful left, but it was at this time that God was moving on Pastor Jerry Smith, about coming to Nashville. Pastor Smith was a presiding Bishop over 80+ churches in the state of Kentucky and at the age of 60 was expecting to finish his labor in that capacity. But God spoke and said He had a different scenario in mind. He laid the city of Nashville on Pastor’s heart.
In 2003 Pastor Smith and his wife Joyce answered the call to the city of Nashville. They moved to town with nothing but a word from God for the future, and a faith that God would do what He said. Pastor Smith joined by his son, Pastor Barry Smith, and the entire family joined together in prayer seeking God’s direction. Through a series of divinely directed events they connected with the faithful few that were still gathering together.
The first service, showed an immediate increase with a huge crowd of 63 people, counting children, and any insects that were present. The message was, “God Is Up To Something”. Pastor Smith invited that small faith filled group to believe and follow God on an amazing journey. The foundations were laid. “Christ is our Passion, and People are our Purpose”, became and still is the guiding principle of The River. Pastor Smith began to establish truths upon which the entire ministry is built. The River would be forever known as, “A House of Grace and Mercy that is flooded with Healing waters”. It would be a place where people could find Hope, Help, and Healing for all of their needs. It would also be a house of “Stone”, not of, “Brick”. Not everyone would be expected to look alike and think alike, but God would place people from different backgrounds, heritages, and races all together in a congregation that reflects the beauty and diversity of the Body of Christ.
Today, nearly 8 years later, The River is a church of approximately 700 people and is multicultural, multinational, and multi-denominational in makeup. Senior Pastor, Dr. Jerry Smith, and Lead Pastor, Barry Smith are working together along with an awesome staff, leaders, and tons of volunteers to continue to further the Ministry Vision established nearly 8 years ago. It is a church where everyone is welcome and your past is not important. It’s your future that we focus on. It is truly a house of grace and mercy where people find healing for their heart.
God has given us a facility of over 27,000 sq. ft., every inch of which is dedicated to worship and ministry to the needs of people. The Kingdom impact of this ministry is expanding in the community, the middle Tennessee area, and throughout the world through media and world mission efforts. The River Family is growing, lives are being changed, the story is still being written, and the comeback continues. All Glory belongs to God!