Featured Church- Riverside Chapel

imprrh@gmail.com —  August 18, 2013


 Once in a while, I like to dedicate the blog to highlight a church that is effective in reaching young adults. I visited Riverside Chapel in Nashville (www.riversidenashville.org) last Sabbath, and these are my impressions:

1. Worship times:

I arrived at 10am to find a group of people, led by the pastor, including several young adults, engaged in prayer. Jesus said: “My house shall be called a house of prayer”. People don’t come to church to hear announcements about car washes. They come to experience Jesus. They recently transitioned to an “inverted” worship schedule that has tripled their Sabbath School attendance. Their website explains it best:

“Our Riverside mission is best articulated as a movement – we want to move people from our weekly Worship Services to KNOW God through Bible Study, to GROW in God with a Small Group, and to SOW God’s Love by ministering in our community.

Our Goal: Move 300 members from Worship to consistently participating in KnowUniversity (Sabbath School) Bible Study Classes each Sabbath.

To help us reach our goal we launched “THE MOVEMENT” on Sabbath, July 20, 2013.  From that Sabbath, until the end of the year, we will have:

10:00-10:30 – Prayer Meeting

10:30-12:00 – Worship

12:00-12:30 – Fellowship (along with refreshments)

12:30-1:20 – KnowUniversity (Sabbath School – adult and children’s Bible Study classes)*.”


The classes were as diverse as the church. You could attend one of more than 10 options, ranging from Sabbath School Quarterly to a marriage enrichment or prophecy class. Other classes on sharing your faith and going deeper in scripture were attractive as well.


2. Youth/Young adult involvement:

They were everywhere. Ushers, worship band, worship leaders, platform participant, Sabbath school teachers, and a significant majority in the congregation. The pastors have intentionally made Riverside a place where young adults feel welcome. One interesting fact, is the over 20 nationalities represented in Riverside Chapel. One new idea they are trying is an internet revival. The day I spoke they were filming the presentations. It will be interesting to see the results from that initiative.


3. Punctuality and excellence in programing:

I believe excellence honors God and inspires people. There were several transitions in the morning that demanded punctuality. Prayer started on time. So did the worship service. So did Sabbath School. A natural flow was evident.

One last note. There is something to be said about the length of tenure of the pastor. Pastor Fordham has been there close to 7 years. You are able to build consistency and rapport with the congregation you are trying to lead after several years. The research points to that fact.

May God continue to bless the ministry of Riverside Chapel and all others who are endearing to reach the ones God misses the most.

Here is the seminar I gave in the afternoon on young adults and church: http://www.slideshare.net/RogerHernandez6/yound-adult-ministry

For the PowerPoint for the sermon in the morning please send me your email.


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6 responses to Featured Church- Riverside Chapel

  1. Roger,

    I agree am in agreement with your blog. I am working with Riverside on the Internet Evangelism initiative now and have completed the introduction and doing the video edits for them.

    One thing I learned from working under Pastor Freddie Russell is that it all starts and ends with leadership. I am glad people like you in the Union office know that longer tenures produce better results.

    View my blog and video below:



  2. José Javier Colón August 20, 2013 at 3:27 am

    ¡Wow! Excelente!!! Tremenda idea!!!!

  3. Fascinating story. As far as tenure goes, I’d also like to point out that 7 years in a district with 2 churches translates into only 3 and a half years at each. I wonder if there are things that can be done even in a 2 or more church district that can help mitigate that, so that 7 years in a district with 2 churches can translate into something like 5 years at each church. Would love to see some thoughts or study on that.

    • imprrh@gmail.com August 20, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      This is something I have never thought about. Let me do some research on it, it would be great to dig deeper into the thesis you inquire about.

  4. Dear Pastor Hernandez,
    Thank you so much for coming to Riverside SDA Church in Nashville, TN. Your sermon was so inspirational and greatly needed to remind us how to administer God’s true mission. I wish to share that the Haitian community goes thru similar challenges as the Hispanics do. Some churches have found the remedy of having English speaking Youth Church that runs the same time as the Senior church. However, when a group rises up to kill the Youth church it has such a devastating affect individually and collectively that it sometimes does not revive. Let’s continue to pray for wisdom and divine direction in mind and spirit. Once again thank you so much for coming.

    • imprrh@gmail.com August 22, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Thanks Marva for reading the blog. Your experience in the Haitian Church looks a lot like the Hispanic one. Lets do all we can to save the ones that God misses the most.