Greetings to you! My name is Brian Quall, the senior pastor here at the River. I am not alone in this ministry and have been blessed to have my wife by my side since taking on this role in 2011. She has been my wife and partner since 1983, and we have a wonderful son Brett and his wife Kari who were married in 2011.
My wife and I were a part of leading a youth group from 1988 through 2001 and witnessed God’s work in and through a number of high school students. During this time I experienced the call into ministry in 1996. My timing was immediate, but God’s timing was “not yet.” In 1996 I began my career in banking which ended in 2011 when I accepted the pastor position at The River. My wife and I were one of the founding couples who started The River in 2001, and I was more than happy to work in any area of the church, not knowing God’s plan was to take over the pastor position. This has been an amazing journey God has both my wife and I on.
God’s work in and through The River is not like anything I have ever experienced before. God continues to transform those who attend. God continues to lead all those involved in this journey of bringing those far from God close. We are blessed to be a part of something special here at The River.
I was raised in the church, but once I moved away from home, I stopped attending. Soon my faith withered. At first I became indifferent, but then I began to hate God, in part because of the loss of my father and sister. I blamed him for taking them from me. There is no shortage of people and resources that want to convince you that there is no God,
and I was eager to listen. I separated myself from the notion of a higher power and sought out like-minded people. I viewed myself as a "free thinker". One of the few enlightened ones surrounded by sheep. During this time my family and I moved t Canton and we were invited to check out The River. My wife never shared my views. She loves the Lord
and I love her, so we began to attend regularly. I heard a lot of new and interesting things here and met believers that were different from others that I had met in the past. They didn't act perfect and seemed genuine according to their beliefs. I didn't need God
though. I saw God as a crutch for weak people.
I had built a great life for myself. Incredible kids, and amazing wife, and a good paying job. Everything was perfect, but only on the surface. Inside I was empty and everything that I used to fill the void only made it worse. I realized that I was broken and had made a
mess of my life. I knew that I couldn't be in charge anymore. After coming to The River for many years, I finally surrendered control and begged God to come into my life and save me from myself. I am convinced that at that moment I was given a new life and filled with the Holy Spirit. Initially I tried to deny what had happened to me and pass it off as a moment of weakness, but I couldn't. My doubts and fears were erased. I looked at life through a new set of eyes, but most of all, I felt loved and forgiven.
Jesus has taken me, a slave of sin, and is turning me into a servant of God. It's only when I admit that I am broken, submit to his will, and lean on him as my crutch, that I find true freedom and peace. My Lord is now using me to spread his Message and strengthen his kingdom that is completely counter intuitive to the man I used to be. He has me leading a men's small group and a middle school youth group. I also serve on the board as a deacon and occasionally teach Sunday school.
My wife, Trina, and I have two boys, Logan (15) and Ryan (10). We have attended services at The River for about five years.
Growing up, I attended a traditional church. I would say I had a "casual" relationship with God and went to church to please my parents. As many young adults do, I drifted away from church in my college days. After marriage, I attended another traditional church with Trina but I still would have called my spirituality superficial at best. Trina and I went through some difficult times and I knew that I needed to examine my life, starting with my relationship with God. I began attending services at The River, where I got to know Brian and the other leaders. I grew, and continue to grow, as a Christian through small group and learning how to pray. It was news to me that God deeply desires to be close to me. As our relationship with God deepens, so does the strength of our marriage. I am so inspired by Trina as God continues to work in and through her.
I was baptized at The River on February 15th, 2015. Since then, I have served as a trustee and now as a deacon. I am continually in awe of God's truly amazing grace!
I was baptized and confirmed Missouri Synod Lutheran. Growing up we went to church and Sunday school quite regularly. I think the message of a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior got overshadowed by a message of personal independence. So as my independence grew my church attendance declined. When we started having our own children we gravitated back to attending church regularly. The message was lost in the routine and it started growing weary for my wife and I. She was the one that eventually sought something different and started coming to The River. It took me a little longer and actually my first time to The River I snuck in the back door for fear of getting caught.
My prayer for all is that it won’t take them 43 years to start a personal relationship with their Lord and Savior. My prayer is that the message you receive here at The River allows you to continue and to grow with your own personal salvation.
My name is Jon Frick. I have been married to my wife Jill for over 25 years, and we have 3 children, Kevin, Brenna, and Tyler. We are proud to be a founding members of the River of Life Community Church, and we have served in many capacities over the years. Jill & I lead the Senior High Youth Group and serve as Frog Creek Teachers. I currently serve as a church Trustee and as President of the Board of Overseers for the Converge Heartland District, of which the River of Life is a member church. Jill is serving as church Treasurer.
My wife and I first met in youth group, and being involved in Christ’s work has always been important to us. When we moved to Canton in 1999, we felt God’s calling to start something new in town. That prompting led to the River of Life. It has been an amazing journey watching the church grow, but the most amazing and rewarding part has been watching God transform lives – including our own. We never stop growing in Christ, and we anxiously wait to see what God has in store for us as we continue this journey.
As kids, Teresa and I both grew up in our respective hometown churches. I began my relationship with my savior at an early age and remained active in my faith through my graduation from high school. As the college years slipped by, I was attending church less frequently, and in retrospect, can see where I began relying on my own abilities to handle day-to-day “life.”
As time marched on and I entered the working world, the distance kept growing between me and God. It wasn’t that he had left, I wasn’t holding up my end of the relationship. In the early years of my marriage with Teresa, we were both struggling to find a church that was a good fit for us and grow in our faith together.
Working with a client at my office, I was invited to come check out the River. This client had been an acquaintance for years and we had grown up in the same small town. I would never had guessed this would be the person God would put in my life to lead me back. Teresa and I made the decision to see what the River was all about. From the moment we stepped foot inside the door, we knew this place was different from anything we had experienced before. We were welcomed with open arms and my walk with God was being renewed. It was a joy to see my wife flourishing as well and a renewed faith developing. I had never experienced such a raw, stripped back approach to God and religion. Meeting people where they were at - with all their baggage and embracing their “mess” so to speak. Teresa and I thought we would just dip our toes in the water, but ended up falling neck deep into the River. Thank God!!
God presented opportunities to be a part of the leadership team at the River at a time when the church was searching for a new pastor. I initially joined the church board as a Deacon and chaired the search committee for our new pastor. It was a wonderful opportunity to grow within the River and personally. I currently serve as a Trustee and would challenge you to pray and open your hearts to what God has in store for you.