James River Church
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2010)|
|James River Church|
|James River Church|
|Denomination||Assemblies of God USA|
|Weekly attendance||8,850 (major worship service)|
|Senior pastor(s)||John and Debbie Lindell|
James River Church (JRC) of Ozark, Missouri, is an Assemblies of God megachurch. In 2009, it reported an average Sunday worship attendance of 8,850, making it the fourth largest Assembly of God church in the United States. Outreach Magazine ranked it the 47th fastest growing church in America in 2010.
James River Church (JRC) has grown from its original four families in a storefront in 1991 to a megachurch on two separate campuses. The main campus, known as James River Church - South Campus (Address: 6100 N 19th St, Ozark, MO 65721), includes multiple sanctuaries, a cafe, meeting rooms, offices, and the River Fitness Center. The second campus, James River Church - West Campus, is located off of US Hwy 60 in Southwest Springfield. A ground-breaking ceremony was held at JRC-West in fall of 2010 for further expansion at that location. Construction began in the summer of 2011 and was completed in the spring of 2013.
James River Church was founded out of the desire of the four couples to start a church on the southeast side of Springfield, a place where the Assemblies of God was not heavily represented at the time. The small congregation grew quickly and had to move into a larger space in an office park within nine months. It was at that time that John Lindell was hired to serve as pastor of the congregation. When he arrived in September 1991, he asked about expectations and the answer was "400 people in four years". However, in 1993, the average attendance topped 800. By April 15, 2008, the average attendance was 9,015, indicating a growth of approximately 1,200 people from the previous year. Attendance in 2009 grew at the same pace. By Spring 2010, weekly attendance averaged nearly 10,000.
James River Church - West Campus
In September 2009, James River Church launched a second campus in addition to JRC-South with the slogan, "One Church in Two Locations." At first called Wilson's Creek campus, the name was changed to James River Church - West Campus (JRC-West) in Spring 2012. The JRC-West Campus features many of the same on-campus services as JRC-South. John Lindell remains the senior pastor at the JRC-South Campus. Curt Cook was the JRC-West Campus pastor until the spring 2011. David Lindell, John Lindell's son, is the current pastor at JRC-West Campus.
An estimated 2,200 attended the grand opening September 2009, and as of March 2010, the average Sunday morning attendance at Wilson's Creek averaged nearly 2,000.
In December of 2012 there was the Grand Opening of their new facilities. This included a 1,400 seat auditorium, kids venues, and a full youth center. These additions are funded through a campaign known as "The One Campaign", which used the slogan "One church in Two Locations." The name of this site was changed to the West campus as it is west of the HWY 65 and HWY 160 interchange as decided by the leaders.
In June 2007, James River Church launched their Changing History Campaign. Through this campaign, JRC-South added a 24,000-square-foot (2,200 m2) two-story addition to the children's wing and remodeled portions of the children's wing and the Realife Student Center. The estimated cost of construction was over eight-million dollars.
In November 2013, the church officially changed its name from James River Assembly to James River Church. In a preface to his Sunday sermon, Pastor John Lindell cited a need of clarity and cohesion as the primary reason for the name change. He mentioned that outreach in foreign cities and countries was sometimes difficult as the term 'assembly' was not as widely known or understood. The Pastor also made clear that the change in no way affected the church's relationship with the Assemblies of God.
Community and International Outreach
James River Church hosts a variety of events at their two campuses, including men's and women's conferences, holiday events for families and children, and sport teams. James River Church also organizes community service events such as an annual service project to paint, clean, and landscape public schools in the area. The church also helps to promote foster parenting and adoption with Cherish Kids.
From 1997 to 2010, one of JRC's local events was the annual Fourth of July patriotic program, the I Love America! Celebration. In 2009, attendance for the 13th annual event, which was free to the public, reached approximately 120,000 people. Attendance in 2010 fell to 100,000.
Attendance at the 2010 Christmas production, The Gift, was nearly 15,000. 15,780 attended the church's four Easter Sunday services entitled "God Is Alive".
Internationally, the church has partnered with Mission of Mercy in the sponsorship of several hundred children in Haiti. Additionally, the church has sponsored the digging of water wells in underdeveloped countries.
James River Leadership Campus
In 2007, James River Church introduced the James River Leadership College (JRLC), in partnership with Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri. JRLC is a college that is focused on developing leaders for church ministry to the workplace. JRLC offers a two-year fully accredited leadership degree program in which students learn about the Bible and leadership in ministry both in the classroom and through hands-on experience. All JRLC classes take place on the James River Church-South Campus and are taught by professors from Evangel University.
In fall of 2009 the James River Leadership College merged with the James River Masters Commission program, bringing both programs together as James River Leadership College.
In fall of 2011 the James River Leadership College switched partnership from Central Bible College to Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri. James River Leadership College changed its official name to James River Leadership Campus.
In fall of 2013 Dr. Jon Spence, who was the founding President, stepped down as the Director of the Campus. Rev Josh Hackworth, a pastor from James River Church, was elected as the Director of JRLC. JRLC is averaging around 130 students each year.
James River Charities
James River Church established James River Charities in 2008. James River Charities in a wholly owned single member entity of James River Church, and operates or manages several different areas, including James River Retreat Center, The River Fitness Center, Realife Student Center, Cherish Kids and James River Leadership Campus.