Top 10 Riverview Memories

Riverview groundbreakingApparently, my church turns 35 this month, which is older than the average age of attendees, which is 29, which is younger than me. Which is all a tangent. The point is, Noel Heikkinen (one of the pastors) started waxing nostalgic on his blog.

Sometimes I feel pretty old-hat at Riverview. I’ve been going there for six years now, ever since I moved to Lansing, and I started volunteering there within two months. I look forward to feeling humbled by everything God did in the church without me in the 29 years before I started attending…and in the 6 after I came, for that matter.

Anyway, I liked Noel’s idea, and I figured I’d come up with my own list of memories. So:

10. Running slides the first time Solo’s full band did a set. Non-Rivites, imagine these songs, only 100 times cooler and not sounding like college worship songs circa 2003.

UPDATE 10.29: Dan Price posted a video of one of their songs.

9. Being fed. Like, literal food. When we switched from the old sanctuary to the new (and consequently from three services to two), I was grateful that part of the switch involved a food team providing snacks for the workers. It’s amazing how hungry you get when you’re just sitting there clicking slides.

8. Interviewing Noel for a grad school project. It made me realize how crazy-intentional he was about trying to connect with people in a ginormous church.

7. Embarrassing Dan Price on his birthday. Dan is the pastor in charge of music, and performs in many of the bands. I was running the projectors on his birthday, and was “encouraged” Noel to add a slide with an arrow pointing out the birthday boy.

6. Meeting Sean Foley. I was running slides, which requires constant attention, when I glanced over at what the sound guy of the day was looking at (which doesn’t require nearly so much attention). It was a D&D forum, and it sparked conversation and friendship.

5. Breaking ground at the new building. On a hot summer day, Tina and I stood with a few hundred others, holding on to tiny ceremonial spades, and dug tiny ceremonial holes in what would a year later result in a much-needed expansion.

4. James Granger doing a sermon on stress. He brought a treadmill up on stage and had someone run on it. Ironically, I remember the message from the next week much better – Elijah, depressed, in the wilderness – but the treadmill helps it stick out.

 3. Handing out Turkeys. My friend Matt was in charge of the Compassion Ministry’s Thanksgiving project for several years, which involved people signing up to deliver turkeys to those in need of aid. For four years, I think, Matt and Pete Cole and I, along with a handful of others, would hand the turkeys to the church members for delivery. This, it must be noted, resulted in inexplicable silliness.

2. Being quoted in a sermon. Noel once approached me as a lifelong single to give advice to other singles. I’ve often prayed that I don’t waste my singleness, so to me it meant that I was doing something right.

1. Jarrod as an example of predestination and free will. One particularly memorable sermon had Noel pulling someone out of the audience and then “magically” having their name appear on the back wall without asking their name. The idea was that it was illustrating God calling people at the same time that they were drawing to him. In reality, Noel picked someone he knew from the crowd very early and told the projectionist (that day, me) to add their name to the slide. The audience member had no idea this was happening. Noel planned to drag them up even if they didn’t volunteer themselves for the task. One service, he picked a particularly tall guy named Jarrod. When the time came to ask for volunteers, not only was Jarrod easy to pick on naturally because of his height, he also raised his hand to come up. And when his name came on screen, and Jarrod said “They even spelled my name right,” it painted a beautiful picture for me of that verse in Romans: “Those he foreknew, he also predestined…”