We wanted to share some exciting news with you. As many of you know, River Center has enjoyed a long relationship with a global family of churches, called Newfrontiers. Through our connection with Newfrontiers, we’ve invested in the expansion of God’s kingdom near and far. We’ve learned from a wide variety of leaders about how the Gospel transforms people and impacts cultures. And we’ve established real partnerships with brothers and sisters around the world who love and worship the same God we do.
In the early days, the small group of churches that called themselves Newfrontiers looked to Terry Virgo for leadership. Over the years, the Newfrontiers global family grew to include more than 1,500 churches in 70 nations. As that expansion took place, a new group of leaders was recognized by Terry and took increasing responsibility in the care of those churches; such as John Lanferman in the U.S. In 2011, these leaders were released and encouraged to build and to multiply new families within the larger family of Newfrontiers. For more than six years, River Center has been part of one of those families, known as Newfrontiers-USA.
Newfrontiers-USA has also grown significantly during these years, with churches and church plants stretching from coast to coast. Lately, it’s become clear that God is leading us into a season of new growth where different structures and strategies will be necessary. The team that leads Newfrontiers-USA has looked to our larger family of churches for models to help us navigate the challenges of growth and leadership multiplication. Here are what some of these changes will look like going forward.
As of April 2018, Newfrontiers-USA has changed its name to Confluence. In the past, names like Newfrontiers-USA or Newfrontiers-UK identified different branches of the Newfrontiers family tree. Increasingly, however, these groups are building relationships outside their national borders and as they do, many have adopted names that emphasize the work they do together rather than their nationality.
Newfrontiers churches in the US have been developing friendships with churches in other places, too, and we expect to partner with them more in the future. By choosing a name that emphasizes shared mission and doesn’t limit us geographically, we are leaving room for such partnerships to grow.
"Confluence" is a word that draws together several values that we share as a family of churches. A confluence is a merging of two streams, and we believe in the merging of Word and Spirit, local and global, and the now and not yet of God’s kingdom. It also conveys the ideas of partnership, of joining together, and of shared resources and fruitfulness. Confluence fits with our values and personality and most importantly, it describes how God is shaping us for the future.
In the past, it made sense to centralize most of the operations and events for Confluence in the Midwest. However, as we've expanded into different parts of the country, it’s become clear that working through regional hubs will better serve our growth. Going forward, there will be five regional hubs and a team of regional leaders, led by Bryan Mowrey. Here’s the breakdown:
- Northeast Region: led by Ian Ashby
- Southeast Region: led by Carl Herrington
- Northwest Region: led by Bo Noonan
- California: led by Travis Aicklen
- Midwest Region: led by Bryan Mowrey
While the transition to regional hubs and the adoption of a new name represent changes in strategy, our mission remains the same. We’re still a family of churches working together to grow God’s kingdom. These steps are part of a long-term strategy for focusing our efforts and strengthening our relationships. And, we’re still part of a global family of churches through Newfrontiers.