History of the River

The River Community Church started in 1993 by Pastor Bob and Debbie and his family.

We began meeting in a home in Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. We invited some families to join us and we began to grow.

After about one year, we found a public place to meet at Home Road Acres Party House. We added some people that would be very important to the future of the River.

Pastor Bob’s father died while we were meeting at Home Road in 1995. He had a very difficult time with his death.

Once Pastor Bob came to grips with his father’s death, the River began to grow again. Because of our continued growth we began looking for yet another place to meet. In the spring of 1997, we moved to a manufacturing building at 425 South Sandusky Street in Delaware, Ohio.

While we were in the city we started a Youth Center that was open to the community.

Here is the unique story of how we ended up in a barn.

A member of the River invited a guest to the River Golf Outing and Pastor Bob made a follow up visit on Bill Radebaugh. Bill was remodeling his basement and Pastor Bob ended up working on the basement and painting his home (Pastor Bob had a painting business to pay the bills while the River grew big enough to provide a salary).

Bill’s sister, Ann Tefft, moved to Bexley with her family and her home needed painting and Pastor Bob went to talk to her about the painting job. The conversation turned to Christianity and Ann had recently experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

The next day, before Pastor Bob could even get started painting, Ann told him that she felt that God wanted her to donate five acres of land and the barn for the church to use. She joined the church and did the fund raising so the bank would give us a loan.

In 1999, Gary Tope, who had joined the River back at Home Road and sold his home and lived off the proceeds. He turned an old barn in to a beautiful barn and a place to gather and build the Kingdom.

We moved in 2000 and became know as The River Church in a Barn.

The great thing about this story is that we know the River is not here by accident.

Pastor Bob was diagnosed with Melanoma in 2007 and has had a five-year battle with cancer and the people of the River have been a great support through this time. Pastor Bob has been declared in remission and we believe that God is to be praised for this miracle and we are grateful for all the wonderful care provided by the James Cancer Clinic.

We continue to seek God for how we can Make Life Better for people.