Beliefs and Practices 


Entrance into the Kingdom of God -

Everyone is a sinner, we were born into sin because of the sin of Adam (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin is death; therefore, none of us deserves eternal life. In Christ we can have eternal life because He paid the death penalty for us (Romans 6:23, John 3:16). To be saved from death (both the effects of sin here and an eternal hell later) a person must personally receive the Lord Jesus Christ as God's Son who brought forth complete salvation for all who would believe in Him through His suffering death and resurrection. That person must repent (confess as sin and turn away from) of past and present sins and of the rebellion of making himself his own boss instead of obeying Jesus. He must the ask the Lord Jesus Christ into his heart so that now the Spirit of the Lord can be his boss. He must commit himself to live for Christ out of gratitude for the salvation he has personally received. The person who does these things becomes a Son of God. He is the a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. He can experience living in the Kingdom of God now and for all eternity. He will inherit all things and rule and reign forever with the Lord Jesus Christ. He becomes a member of the Family of God with many brothers and sisters in Christ all over this world. (John 1:12, Romans 8:16-17, Daniel 7:27, Matthew 25:34).

We believe that the only way to enter into the Kingdom of God is through the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).


Prayer to become a Child of God -

"Father, I repent of all my sins toward you. I repent of leading my life in my own ways and not giving it to you to guide. I believe that you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place, and pay the death penalty for me, in order that I might have eternal life. I now receive Jesus Christ as my Savior and my Lord. I will learn as much as I can about how you would have me to live and strive daily to submit to your ways, in Jesus'' Name. Amen."


Water Baptism -

We believe that a believer should be baptized in water. This baptism is a public declaration of an inner event. The person is showing his identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The person is stating that he considers himself dead to the works of his flesh and that he is a new creature in Christ Jesus who will walk after the ways of the Holy Spirit of God. (Acts 2:38, Acts 8:35-38, Romans 6:3-11, Galatians 3:27, Acts 10:47-48)


Baptism in the Holy Spirit -

When a person becomes a child of God by receiving Jesus as his Saviour, he has moved into eternal life; he has been ushered from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God. The Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) should then become apparent in his life. However, we believe that a person can walk in a still greater degree of boldness and power by receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. After receiving this baptism -- which is evidenced by speaking in other tongues as God's Spirit gives utterance -- the believer is eligible to receive the Gifts of the Spirit as listed in I Corinthians 12:10. (Matthew 3:11, Acts 1:5, Acts 2:1-18, Acts 8:14-17, Acts 10:44-46)


ROL is a "Full Gospel" Church -

All Scripture is inspired; all God's promises are still applicable for today. We believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit for today's believer. We believe in Divine Healing, Deliverance, Miracles, and all the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Christians today can experience everything the New Testament Christians experienced. (II Timothy 3:16, II Corinthians 1:20, Hebrews 13:8)


Church Government -

All the affairs of the Church -- both temporal and spiritual -- are governed by the Co-Pastors, Robert and Rosemary Barnes. The Pastors have chosen a Board of Advisors in order to be enriched by their input and advice. ROL Members may bring concerns or issues to the Advisory Board Members or to the Pastors. (Whatever is shared with the Board Members or other Leadership will be shared with the Pastors by those Leaders.) Nearly always we include our Deacons and Youth Pastors in our Board and Business Meetings so that we can consider their input along with the Advisors.


Pastoral Ordination and Affiliation -

In January of 1980 both Robert and Rosemary received ordination from Pastor Charles Stilwell, President of Home Ministry Fellowship in Pearce, Arizona. This was the same month and year ROL was started by Robert and Rosemary. The Pastors continue to share concerning the temporal and spiritual growth of ROL with Pastor Stilwell. Home Ministry Fellowship is a Full Gospel Ministry with fellowships all over the world.


Membership -

Any Christian who accepts the Full Gospel can become a member of ROL after coming faithfully to several services so as to make a careful and prayerful choice as to whether or not ROL is the appropriate home church for them. Before becoming a member, the person is expected to have thoroughly read this brochure, looked up the scripture references, and come to terms with whether or not he or she either agrees with the basic tenets of this church or can agree to peacefully tolerate (i.e. without demonstrating a need to persistently deal with differences) whatever differences they may have. A person who desires to become a member should express that desire to the Pastors. The Pastors will then have a brief conference with that person to discuss this decision. Also, some personal data will be requested (address, phone number, etc.) so that the person can be added to the next Church Directory.


Prayer and Devotional Life for Members -

People who join ROL are expected to have minimum of five hours of time alone with the Lord per week. That time could consist of praise, worship, listening to a Bible Tape or reading the Bible, and prayer. This activity on the part of the individual members is the very backbone of our strength as a local church. Each believer is responsible to stay close to the Father and to receive revelation knowledge for himself. In this way he can come to the church gatherings prepared to give to others rather than to stay in need of the ministry of others. Furthermore, we encourage all members to build up a bible study library with a dictionary, a concordance, a study bible, and commentaries by godly learned men and women. (II Timothy 2:15, Ephesians 6:18, James 5:16-18, Matthew 26:41, Revelation 5:8, Psalm 119)


Pastoral Counseling Time -

We believe that -- except in rare instances or in times of personal crisis -- a believer who faithfully attends services, devotes five hours a week of time alone with God, extends himself to fellow believers in the development of godly relationships, and obeys the principles he is learning, will be eligible to receive complete mental, physical and spiritual wholeness from God. This wholeness will certainly be manifested over time. We believe that to attempt to rush this certain process through repeated "personal counseling sessions" with the Pastor(s) can encourage a believer to become introspective (inordinately) and self-indulgent. As we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord and meditate upon His Word we move from glory to glory, i.e., we more and more come forth in the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ (in whom there is love, power, and a sound mind). This process takes time; time which should not include impatience, undue perfectionism and self-condemnation. This is not to say that a believer cannot ask for personal prayer. At the end of many services there will be opportunities to get personal prayer for whatever the need may be. Furthermore, many times through the working of the Gifts of the Spirit in the services, the Lord can do more through one pertinent and timely word for an individual than what we can accomplish in hours and hours of sorting through "problems". Furthermore, many a person who diligently hearkens to the teachings and sermons coming forth for all to hear (instead of wanting a personal audience with the minister(s)) would usually discover that there is something right in that public message to meet their immediate need. We see no scriptual mandate for Word Ministers (Pastors, Teachers, Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles) to be responsible for repeated individual private counseling; but we do see as a mandate for all the members in the church to daily exhort and speak the truth in love to one another as a habitual way of life. We believe that God provides rewarding christian friendships for those who walk in submission to Him and that these friendships will provide needed personal nurturing, caring, prayers, and fruitful communication. (Psalm 68:6)


Tithes -

We believe that one tenth of the believers' income belongs to the Lord and should be given to the local church he or she attends. Above and beyond the tithe, the person should give a free-will offering to the Lord's work. (II Corinthians 9:1-12, Malachi 3:8-12)


ROL Finances -

Every three months (a financial quarter), the Pastors share a finance report with the members of ROL. Any questions concerning the things on the report should be directed either to Board Members, Positioned Leadership, or the Pastors. (The Pastors always share the Finance Report in detail with Leadership before making it available to the Membership). All reports, also, are sent to HMF.


Worship -

We believe in making a joyful noise unto the Lord. We clap, dance and raise our hands unto Him. We ask that all members and visitors (unless it is physically impossible) stand with us as we worship the Lord (children and adults). We welcome all instruments which enhance the sounds of praise. Praise ushers us into the presence of God. He delights in our praise and worship. When we raise Him up, His enemies are scattered. We learn to be God-centered instead of self-centered when we praise the Lord. (Psalm 150, Psalm 100, Numbers 10:35, Acts 3:8, Psalm 63:4, Psalm 134:2, Psalm 47:1, Psalm 30:11)


Operation of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit -

Many times during our praise time or during ministry times, the Lord will manifest himself among us through the Gifts of His Spirit (Prophecy, the Song of the Lord, a Word of Knowledge, Healing, etc.). Although it is rare that we stop anyone short while they are exercising a gift, we do believe that the Lord requires us to try all the spirits and to prove all things; therefore, we do believe in closely listening to and sorting out what came from the Lord and what came from another source. We do feel it is our responsibility to help members grow in this area; and therefore, we will discuss these things with them personally if it is needed. Also, when visitors exercise the Gifts of the Spirit, we feel responsible to protect the members from any wrong spirits and will let the congregation know if we believe the Word not to be from the Lord. Furthermore, unless a person is an Associate Minister among us who has a proven ministry of having a Prophetic or Word of Knowledge Gift, we ask that people give "words" either in the church service or in front of proven leadership so that the word can be judged and that no one comes under bondage to a word which is not from God's Spirit but from man or from the devil. Special caution should be exercised if the word is strong, carries specific personal instruction in it, or predicts the individual's personal future.


Open Pulpit -

Most ROL Services contain a time where we open up the pulpit for any believer or member to exhort, edify, or comfort the church through any means that person can do this (e.g. a song, a testimony, a scripture, words explaining something God showed them, an instrument, a poem). It is asked that people limit their time of sharing to three minutes. They are to request "extra time" if necessary and then keep it to about five minutes. The purpose of Open Pulpit time is to glorify the Lord and to edify the Church; therefore, there is no room for lengthy renditions of tales of woe, complaining, or words that tear down rather than build up. Prayer requests should be reserved for the prayer line or a minister can be approached for personal prayer after church if no altar ministry is offered that service. (Periodically the pastors may pray for someone after they have spoken in Open Pulpit through the leading of the Holy Spirit).


Women in Ministry -

We believe that -- in Christ -- there is no male or female (Galatians 3:28). Believers may therefore freely function in the church in accordance with the gifts, talents, and calling given to them by God. Leadership Positions are appointed by the Pastors based upon the believer's degree of commitment, sense of responsibility, and spiritual maturity and ministry. It should be noted we do believe that a woman in the marriage relationship is to be submissive to her husband as long as this submission complies with the Lord and with the Godly laws of the land. (Matthew 28:5-7, Acts 2:17-18, Philippians 4:3, II Kings 22:8-20, Romans 16, John 4:28-29, Acts 21:9)


Believers coming Forth to Minister -

In Ephesians 4:11-12, one finds the phrase...."some Pastors and Teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry." This phrase expresses one of our main goals at ROL; to bring people forth into their ministries.


Deliverance -

We believe that belivers are able to take authority over satan and cast his demons out of people. We believe that both christians and unbelievers can have a need for deliverance from a demon or demons. We believe that every christian is in a warfare not against flesh and blood but against pricipalities and powers. We are seated with Jesus in a position of authority over all the hosts of the devil and have the ability through the Lord Jesus Christ to set people free from captivity to these forces. God has given the Gift of Discerning of Spirits to His Church. This gift enables us to know when these forces are at work so that we may come against them and defeat them. (Mark 16:17, Luke 4:41, Luke 8:2, Luke 9:37-42, Luke 13:11-16, Acts 8:7, Acts 16:16-18, Acts 19:11-12, I Corinthians 12:10, Ephesians 1:20-21, Ephesians 2:6, Ephesians 6:12)


River of Life School of Christian Leadership (ROLSCL) -

ROLSCL is for all those who feel that they are called into some capacity of christian leadership. Any adult member who has been faithfully coming to ROL for several months and exhibits no obvious reasons as to why he or she is not ready to be in the Leadership School, is welcome to join the school. The learning and growth one will experience will come through active participation in all aspects of ROL (e.g. being on the helps team, the evangelism team, participating in all meetings, helping with the altar ministry) and in the academic requirements.

Interested members should request the ROLSCL Brochure from Rosemary and -- if still interested after studying the material -- ask to discuss entering the school with her. (Note: Periodically we will take students from other fellowships who have been mature chrisitians for years or someone already in a leadership position for a long period of time. Each request for non-member involvement in ROLSCL will be prayerfully considered.) Those who are simply leaders in the House of the Lord will be given a Certificate of Completion of Leadership Training upon graduation. Those who have demonstrated a call as a Five-Fold Minister (Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor or Teacher) will be either Ordained or Licensed as such. Those who graduate without ordination or licensing, but begin to demonstrate months or years later that the Lord is putting them in such an office, will be Ordained or Licensed when that calling is made plain. They will not have to return to the school "to start from scratch" (although some ministry training/observation period may take place at that time).

All those who graduate as Word Ministers and stay at ROL will be considered Associate Ministers at ROL. We also have a vision to send forth many into other fields than this local church. The Pastors would be available to those ministers in an Apostolic role.