In the year 2025, River Oaks is known as a church where people have a strong knowledge of the Bible, joined with active compassion for those outside of the church. Its mission of “Building followers of Jesus who are sent to reach others” has shaped the church’s ministry of spiritual formation for all ages. Children, students, and adults have a growing knowledge of Scripture that is being formed by active involvement in worship services, small groups, and classes. A distinctive culture of disciple-making is shaping both the church and individual households with a passion to invest in the spiritual growth of others, particularly the next generation. The fruit of this culture is seen in vibrant corporate worship and Christ-centered homes. In addition to other disciple-making environments, over 10% of River Oaks’ attendees are engaged in Missional Discipleship groups.
Those who call River Oaks their church home recognize that biblical knowledge should overflow into concern for the spiritual well-being of others, and that following Jesus leads to an outreach-focused life. River Oaks members embrace their calling as Jesus’ disciples to live as ministers and missionaries in our community. This is especially evident among the young, as students and children bring friends they have reached to church. Baptisms are a regular celebration at River Oaks, as those baptized share how a friend led them to faith and helped them begin their own journey of spiritual growth.
The centrality of outreach at River Oaks has shaped a culture of hospitality toward internationals who study, work, and live in Forsyth County. The richness of the church’s corporate worship is enhanced by the presence of worshipers from over two dozen different nations. Members and guests often note that worship services at River Oaks “look like heaven” because of the diversity of race, ethnicity, and age in the congregation.
The emphasis on spiritual formation that leads to gospel-centered outreach is joined with a culture of prayer at River Oaks. It is common to see people clustered in the Coffee Bar or hallway praying for someone on Sundays. Students frequently gather before and after youth meetings to pray for their friends who do not yet know the Lord. The Prayer Room is one of the most utilized spaces throughout the week as staff and students, ministers and members, young and old gather informally for prayer.
The people of River Oaks recognize that their own spiritual growth should overflow into God’s blessing upon the surrounding community. Care for the poor and afflicted, service to the schools, and strategic church planting all reflect this overflow. While 80% of River Oaks members serve locally in some way, dozens of others have been called to missions overseas. Many college students and young adults reflect upon a call to pastoral or missions ministry they received while students at River Oaks. Spiritual formation at River Oaks is overflowing with generosity that enables the church to give over $500,000 annually to global and national missions, local ministries, and church planting. While River Oaks’ first daughter church continues to thrive, River Oaks’ second church plant is flourishing as it reaches an underserved community in the Triad.
If spiritual formation is the engine that drives the gospel forward in individual relationships, our local community, and around the world, then the prayer-fueled cylinders that power the engine are authentic worship, studying God’s Word, serving others, and sharing the gospel. Said another way, we are advancing the mission of Building followers of Jesus who are sent to reach others by providing a discipleship pathway that enables people to Worship Together, Grow in a Group, Serve on a Team, and Go with a Mission. Spiritual formation firing on all four cylinders is producing inward life transformation leading to outward gospel proclamation and genuine love of others.
Every person at River Oaks recognizes that spiritual growth and effective outreach is only accomplished through God’s enabling power. An increasing dependence upon the Holy Spirit through prayer characterizes the church and those who call River Oaks home. We express this dependence often by quoting a theme verse for the church:
Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.