Vision and Mission
We are Followers of Jesus Christ
- Impacting our community one person at a time!
A personal note from John J. Smid:
A good friend asked me what motivated me in ministry. I shared with her some things that really tugged at my heart. There was no denying that since 1986 my burden has been to support, encourage, and bring hope to those like myself who are within the gay community.
The modern American “church” is typically known as people who gather in buildings on Sunday morning for teaching, singing, and smiling about life.
I see it more as a collection of those who have embraced their own frailties, and have received the offer of grace through the salvation gift from Jesus Christ. These are members of the church and are in need of healthy connection to God and others of like faith.
However, some people are missing in action. There are events, circumstances, and personal wounds and choices that can bring someone to a place where they do not feel welcome to gather with others of like faith. Sometimes people experience rejection or they are consumed with shame and may find themselves feeling alone and unsupported, Some of these folks may become susceptible to seeking connections outside of those who can encourage them towards growth in their faith and in making healthy decisions. It has been shown that the modern organized church has often failed to effectively meet the spiritual, emotional and personal needs of gay men and women.
In some of these cases it may be desirable to reach out to these individuals. it is imperative to do so in safe one on one meetings to build a relationship based on honesty, active listening, and respect. This may take time due to the sensitive nature of the individual’s fears and concerns. Without an outcome agenda, these relationships must contain a neutral stance on perceived performance expectations. God’s standards are complete perfection and therefore, no person will be perfect in our common human experience. Therefore, we are all on a journey and its really important for us to seek ways to support one another along life’s road.
Grace Rivers features a specific selection of concepts and core relational values that will help to guide relationships into building honest, listening, respectful connections. We have created a collection of core values that helps us to maintain healthy and effective connections with others that God connects with us.
If you find this ministry vision something you resonate with and you aren’t already involved in Grace Rivers, we invite you to join us. Reaching those in need of a friend is what we do. We hope you feel the same way.
Several people invested in my life to support and encourage me. I am trying to pay it forward.
is to empower every Follower of Jesus Christ to represent God’s salvation and restoration to those to whom He sends them. (Matt. 28:19)(Gal 6:1)
Grace Rivers is a ministry with the gay community that reveals the message of an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ and genuine community with His followers – because every person deserves to know that Jesus loves them. (John 3:16-17)
We do this through:
cultivating spiritual growth in individuals and groups that is focused on nine core relational values. (Heb. 6:1-3)
We are motivated:
to remove our masks of fear, which may prevent us from revealing God’s abundant grace in our lives to those whom God is leading us to. (Acts 28:30-31)
Our ministry is engaged in:
Individual relationships through many different venues.
Speaking engagements that are educational and encouraging.
Authentic Community building conferences and seminars.
We believe in the universal Body of Christ that functions through groups and individuals. (Eph. 4:4-6)
We will therefore partner with churches, ministries, and Christian organizations to encourage and utilize the fullness of the gifts and callings present. (Rom. 12:3-6) (I Cor. 12:11-13)
These nine Core Values are at the heart of all our communication at Grace Rivers, both internally and externally. We honor them in order to keep communication and relationships safe, honest and open, and to show respect and love to everyone.
Honesty – practicing honest, open, yet loving communication with each other that comes out of an internal honesty. (John 8:32)
Authenticity – pursuing personal evaluation of one’s own motives and attitudes. (Luke 6:45, Eph. 4:25)
Transparency - willing to consider another’s perspective without being defensive. (James 1:19,20)
Active Participation – committing to respectful listening, personal input, and attentiveness. (Phil. 2:3)
Non-Judgmental – keeping the focus on one’s own issues and feelings, rather than talking at, preaching, or teaching to one another. (Matthew 7:1-5)
Confidentiality - maintaining strict confidentiality with regard to personal matters (Proverbs 11:13)
Sensitivity – showing sensitivity and giving affirmation when someone has chosen to speak out in an honest and vulnerable way. (John 13:34)
Respect - esteeming one another by refraining from distracting behavior. (Eph. 5:21)
Honor - valuing another person’s openness by refraining from attacking or demeaning behavior. (Romans 12:10)