theRIVER is the collection of living connections among the theRIVER Communities and RIVER Connections. It is the exchange of experience, resources and connections with one another in the traveller scene for the purpose of making disciples of Jesus in its widest sense. We are travellers exploring the teachings of Christ together. theRIVER Communities and Connections create space to experience God; everything from guesthouses, cafés, hostels, to meditation spaces. theRIVER connects, supports and inspires communities to grow, work together, and even start new communities. Our vision is that there would be many places on earth where we can explore Jesus’ teachings and find out what it means to grow together in following Him. The way of life modelled by Jesus guides all of us.
theRIVER – Who We Are
The Flow of theRIVER
Vision and Mission
Vision: theRIVER envisions a traveller scene that is filled with connected places where people can explore Jesus in community.
Mission: To see transformation within the traveller scene, so that it would be common for any traveller to take their next step with Jesus. In other words, pursuing Jesus while travelling made into an easy choice.
Traveler Flow and theRIVER
TheRIVER began during the excitement of an International Backpacker Conference in Amsterdam March 2014. At this conference, 45 of us from 12 nations and traveler communities gathered together. For three days we brainstormed and prayed. We dreamed of what it could look like for our communities to work together. Since then the number of communities involved in theRIVER has more than doubled.
Where did we come from? Most of our communities started out alone, without knowing that anyone else cared about the same things. A few forward thinking people saw that we had to start working together if we were going to have any impact. Among them were those who planned the original Backpacker Conferences many years ago, and those who started Backpacking It Is, Faith Travels, and The Banyan Tree. These people blazed the trail for what eventually became theRIVER.
Our story as theRIVER is a growing one. We are seeing people with the same vision for travelers praying and working together at a scale we have never seen before. And its just gaining momentum. It’s clear to us that this kind of movement is not the result of hard work by many people, or by a culmination of many years of effort. This is happening as the Spirit of God draws people together to serve and love each other, and that makes it a fun thing to be a part of. What is your place in the story?
What is a community of theRIVER
The core of our communities. theRIVER communities have many different forms and expressions yet at the core of each community we share three truths:
We are communities devoted to following Jesus.
Community – Communities within theRIVER have different forms. We believe that community starts at three, however this can express itself in different ways. Some communities have one core person who is committed to the vision, with travellers volunteering regularly. Other communities have multiple people at the core and fewer people coming through, who are less committed to the vision. We welcome anything in between.
Following Jesus – Jesus is the sole reason we dream what we dream and do what we do. We believe He is the image of the invisible God and the pathway to knowing and being in a relationship with Our Creator, the divine presence. For a more detailed description of what we mean when we say we are followers of Jesus, we have a statement of faith.
We are immersed in the traveler scene
Immersed – We are travellers ourselves, seekers of spiritual truth, who recognise that we have lots to learn from others. The spaces we create are a part of the scene in the midst of travellers and not on the fringes. This means our location is in a place where our people come and what we do holistically meets the needs of our traveller friends. Right now, that looks like spaces to stay, to meet, to create and to join, however we are open to new expressions of what this could look like.
Traveller Scene – Our focus is on creating a space for backpackers and long-term travellers. Although, we recognise that there are many types of travellers, our communities are spaces for those who have left their homes, their jobs and their relationships for an extended time to seek a deeper knowledge of themselves and of spirituality.
We intentionally create space for ourselves, and fellow travellers to explore the Christ path
Intentionally explore the Christ Path – We are active in dialoguing with others about their philosophy of thought and about the teachings of Jesus. We create spaces where exploration of spiritual truth is welcomed, and where Christian practice can be experienced.
What’s a Connection of theRIVER?
RIVER Connections are as valued and connected as RIVER Communities. They meet the 2nd and 3rd core values just the same, but have a more fluid way of building community at their spaces. (2nd core value is to be immersed in the traveller scene and the 3rd is intentionally creating space for ourselves, and fellow travellers to explore the Christ path)
What are the Starting/ Joining places?
They are not officially part of theRIVER (just yet), but these are people that have in one or many ways been connected with theRIVER, who share the vision and dream of starting a place for travellers or who are just starting or just getting connected. Having them on our map is a way to raise awareness, provide support, being encouraged by others and find people who could join/ help them with the process of getting started/ connected. We hope that all of them will become RIVER Connections or Communities in the future.
Would you like to help theRIVER?
There are a couple different ways you can do it:
- Do you have a place for travellers and do you share the same or similar vision? Then come be a part of theRIVER! Figure out how through this application document we created.
- Gardeners are facilitators who commit to important roles for at least 6 months to voluntarily help theRIVER grow and develop. (it’s important to say that, our culture in theRIVER as a whole is one of doing everything together and sharing the load amongst us all. We all believe in our vision, so Gardeners are not the only ones responsible for doing all these things listed on the document, they are simply the ones in charge to make sure these things are happening.) Have a look at this page which presents the current Gardeners and also the positions that we are still looking for help with. If you feel there is something you could contribute, then contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Last but not least, we strongly encourage you to simply come and “jump into theRIVER” and support/ volunteer/ visit our Communities and Connections. You can find all the info and how to support/ volunteer/ visit them on our interactive map. Check it out!