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What is a "faith community"?

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

You may have heard Pastor Tim refer to River Of Hope as a "faith community" and depending on how traditional your religious background may be, this may have struck you as a little strange. We assure you- this term isn't as crazy as it sounds!

So why do we consider ourselves to be a faith community and not simply a church?

Most of the time, we refer to ourselves as a faith community and don't use the word "church", but we’re actually both.

First of all, we haven’t yet officially organized as a congregation of the ELCA, our denomination. That process will begin this fall! When that happens, we may use the word “church” a little more often.

Secondly, we’ve kind of just grown accustomed to being called a faith community. Many folks come from a past where they had a bad experience with church; some of our folks were even told there was something about them that God couldn’t love. In other words, it was “the church” that wounded them. As we invite them back, we’ll do what we can to remove any obstacle or barrier that might prevent them from re-experiencing their spirituality and a renewed connection with God.

Finally, the limited in-person interaction we were forced to endure over the past 16 months has given us a silver lining by way of shifting a significant amount of our programming to involve Zoom calls and video chats. Thus, we have been able to grow our community well past the physical limitations of Palm Springs! We have people in Minnesota, Nevada, Florida & Colorado who regularly check-in and participate in our online forums, so in this sense, the word "community" represents something much greater than the literal interpretation. Pretty cool if you ask us!

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