Our Mission and Vision
LOVING GOD. LOVING OTHERS. CHANGING THE WORLD.
We exist to express the manifest presence of God. We want to reveal the Father’s goodness, walk in our identity as His sons and daughters, expand the Kingdom of Jesus, and manifest the Holy Spirit’s presence and love in and around the cities we live in.
Mike Ibay is the senior pastor of River of God Church in Washington, DC. He co-leads the church with his wife, Grace, as they recognize and value how God uses them together as a team. Mike is passionate to see people walk in their identity and to pursue God’s call for their lives. Grace loves to see people encounter the Lord and take His love to their families and communities. They homeschool their three amazing children and love spending time together as a family.
Prior to moving to Gaithersburg to lead RGC, Mike and Grace served as youth pastors for 16 years at River of Life Church International Christian Fellowship under the leadership of Pastors Benjamin and Marilou Uybengkee. To this day they continue serve ROLICF as Board members and consider the Uybengkees their spiritual parents.
The roots of River of God Church go back 40 years to Maranatha Christian Fellowship (Philippines) and Maranatha Missionary Outreach led by Bishop Joseph DiSarno. Bishop DiSarno was a young leader at The Tabernacle (Orchard Park, New York) serving Bishop Tommy Reid, when God called him to the Philippines to plant a new church.
MCF commissioned Pastor Joseph Porter and his family to Rockville, Maryland, to lead a growing fellowship of believers that grew to become River of Life Church. The church grew steadily through the years.
When Pastor Porter retired, Mike and Grace felt the call to take up leadership of the church. Upon incorporation, they renamed it River of God Church.
We continue to be excited for the spirit of adventure that God calls our church toward. The best is yet to come!
What We Believe
- The Bible is the inspired and only infallible and authoritative Word of God.
- There is only one true God, who exists eternally in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became flesh to reveal God and to become Savior of the world by His sinless life, death, and resurrection.
- God created humanity in His image, yet man willfully rejected God and fell into sin, bringing evil and death into the world.
- We are saved by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. This salvation means being forgiven of sin, declared right before God, restored to His fellowship, and given eternal life with Him.
- The Holy Spirit sanctifies every believer into righteousness and holiness, and He supernaturally empowers us to be genuine, powerful witnesses for Christ.
- The Bible commands us not to allow our bodies to become “mastered” by anything. We honor God with our body because it is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
- The Church (made up of all who put their faith in Christ) is equipped to carry the ministry of Jesus, advance His Kingdom, make an impact upon the world, and disciple all nations.
- We celebrate the ordinances of baptism and communion.
- We embrace the biblical government of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers.
- Jesus will visibly return for His glorious overcoming Church and fulfill the promises and prophecies of God’s Word.
River of God Church Tenets Of Faith
The human phraseology employed in this statement is not inspired nor contended for, but the truth set forth is held to be essential to a full Gospel ministry. No claim is made that it contains all the truth in the Bible, only that it covers orthodox fundamental matters. This Church shall accept the Holy Scriptures as the revealed will of God, the all-sufficient rule of faith and practice. The following statements of faith are set forth to make clear our understanding in these basic areas of belief and are not intended as an all-inclusive statement of doctrine.
SECTION 1. The Scripture Inspired
The Scriptures both Old and New Testament, or the Bible, is the inspired Word of God, the supreme revelation of God to men, given without error by the Holy Spirit as He moved upon holy men of old. It is the only infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct. It is superior to conscience and reason, but not contrary to reason. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:21; Hebrews 4:12)
The church therefore has no authority to formulate doctrines and establish practices that are contrary to these same Scriptures.
SECTION 2. The One True God
The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent “I AM”, the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has eternally existed in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10-11; Mark 12:29; Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:21-22)
SECTION 3. The Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ
The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was begotten, not created, very God of very God, truly God and truly man. The Scriptures declare he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He performed miracles, signs and wonders. He died upon the cross, the Just for the unjust, as a substitutionary sacrifice, and all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, fully God, fully man, in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return again in power and glory to establish His kingdom, righteousness and peace. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever-present Lord. (John 1:1-4; 1 Timothy 2:5; Matthew 1:18; 23; Luke 1:32–38; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; Acts 2:22-24; Acts 10:38; 1 Peter 3:18; Hebrews 2:9; Romans 5:9; Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:39; 1 Corinthians 15:4; Acts 1:9, 11; 2:33; Philippians 2:9-11; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 8:1; Matthew 26:64; Luke 21:25-28; Hebrews 9:28; Romans 8:10; Ephesians 3:17; Galatians 2:20)
SECTION 4. The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, fully divine. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts men of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. He indwells every believer in Jesus Christ, and is an abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service. He conforms the believer into the image and likeness of Christ, sealing him unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the guarantee that God will bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. (Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 3:15-17; 28:19; Luke 4:18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:49; John 4:24; 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4,38; 4:31; 6:3; 7:55; 8:17,39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1-6; Romans 8:9-16,26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 3:16; 12:3-11,13; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8,14; 2 Peter 1:21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 22:17)
SECTION 5. Man
Man was created good and upright, made in the image of God, for God said, “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. However, man by voluntary transgression fell, and thereby incurred not only physical death, but also spiritual death, which is eternal separation from God. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. Christ died for man therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love. (Psalm 8; Genesis 1:26-30; 2:7-25; 3; Romans 5:12-19; 7:14-25; 8:14-18,29; 1 Corinthians 15:19,21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11)
SECTION 6. The Salvation of Man
The grace and goodness of God, which brings salvation, has appeared to all men through the preaching of repentance toward God and through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Man is saved by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Being justified by grace, man has become heir of God according to the hope of eternal life. Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. (Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5)
SECTION 7. Baptism in the Holy Spirit
All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. This baptism is distinct from, and subsequent to the experience of new birth when the Holy Spirit indwells the believer. The Holy Spirit desires to fill each believer continually with increased power for Christian life and witness, and imparts His supernatural gifts for the edification of the Body and for various works of ministry. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and in the exercise of all spiritual gifts of the Spirit. (Mark 1:8; 16:15-20; Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8; 2:4; 2:38; 4:8, 29-31; 8; 10:44-46; 11:14-16; 15:7-9; 19:2,6; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; Ephesians 1:13; 3:19-20; 5:18; Hebrews 2:3,4)
SECTION 8. Gifts of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is manifested through a variety of spiritual gifts to build and sanctify the church, demonstrate the validity of the resurrection, confirm the power of the Gospel and advance the Kingdom of God. The Bible lists of these gifts are not necessarily exhaustive, and the gifts may occur in various combinations. All believers are commanded to earnestly desire the manifestation of the gifts in their lives. These gifts always operate in harmony with the Scriptures and should never be used in violation of Biblical parameters. (Hebrews 2:4; Romans 1:11, 12:4-8; Ephesians 4:11-16; 2 Timothy 1:5-16; 1 Corinthians 12 to 14; 1 Peter 4:10).
SECTION 9. The Church and Its Mission
The church is the Body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of Jesus’ great commission. The Church consists of all those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, are redeemed through His blood, and are born again of the Holy Spirit. The local church is a body of believers in Christ who are joined together for the worship of God; for edification through the Word of God, for prayer, fellowship; for preaching the gospel to all nations, and observance of the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. Each believer is an integral part of the Church, and their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. There is a spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:22-23, 2:19-22; Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 2:41–47; Hebrews 12:23; John 17:11, 20-23; I Thess. 2:4)
SECTION 10. Ministry for Equipping the Saints
A divinely called and scripturally ordained ministry of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers has been provided for by our Lord in equipping the church for the work of ministry; preaching the gospel to all creation; the true worship of God; and building a body of saints being perfected in the image of His Son. (Ephesians 4:11-16; Mark 16:15-20; John 4:23-24)
SECTION 11. Marriage and Family
Marriage was ordained by God at creation as the sacred union of one biological male human being and one biological female human being at birth. The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. Christian marriage is a representation of Christ’s relationship to His church. As such, the Church views marriage as a profound spiritual institution established by God. Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage. Parents are to teach their children spiritual and moral values and to lead them, through consistent lifestyle example and loving discipline, to make choices based on biblical truth. Children are to honor and obey their parents. (Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 2:22-24; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-12; Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:1-16; 39; Ephesians 5:21-33; 6:1-4; Colossians 3:18-21; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7)
SECTION 12. Divine Healing
Divine healing is an integral part of the Gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement and is the privilege of all believers and available to all. (Isaiah 53:4-5; Matthew 8:16-17; James 5:14-16)
SECTION 13. The Blessed Hope
Jesus Christ is returning for a glorious overcoming bride, who is His Church. The resurrection of those who have fallen asleep in Christ and their translation together with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord is the blessed hope of the Church. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Romans 8:23; Titus 2:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
SECTION 14. The Final Judgement
There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to everlasting punishment in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Revelations 19:20; 20:11-15; 21:8).
SECTION 15. The New Heavens and The New Earth
We, “according to His promises, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:13; Revelations 21:1)
SECTION 16. Sanctity of Human Life
We believe that all life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect and value all human life. (Psalm 139)