April 6th, 2019
This has been a difficult week for the Church, and when we turn to the Bible during these times we are reminded of God’s faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” God has been faithful to give grace and hope in the midst of a difficult season.
As we continue to pursue transparency, we recognize the opportunity to give further explanation as to why we took the steps we did. The Bible gives us the high standards for Elders (Pastors) in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. When those standards are compromised, 1 Timothy 5 is clear on the steps that need to be taken. We encourage you to read these passages. Our responsibility, as Elders, is to follow these Biblical guidelines that God has given. We do not take these steps lightly, but with humility and a plea to God for wisdom and discernment.
God also calls us to restore those found in sin. Galatians 6:1 says “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Over the last week, plans for professional counseling and care have been made for Jim and we pray that this will lead to restoration to Jesus, Carole and his family. Jim has submitted to the Elders and demonstrated a willingness to take these steps. In addition, Carole is being cared for and in full support of the Elders. While we do not have a timeline for how long this will take, we ask the Church to continue to pray for him as restoration and repentance is a long, heavy road.
Ultimately, our faith in Jesus Christ and His Gospel give us tremendous hope for the good of God’s church and the glory of Jesus Christ.
The Elder Team
Josh Combs, Lead Pastor
Chuck Lindsey, Reach Pastor
Caleb Combs, Gathering Pastor
Doc Johnson, Growth Pastor
Jayson Combs, Family Pastor
Manning Brown, Operations Pastor
Pat Rowland, Locations and Development Pastor
March 30th, 2019
It is with profound sadness that we, the Elders of The River Church, announce the immediate removal of Jim Combs as the Senior Pastor of The River Church. Over the last few days, it was discovered that Jim has been engaged in an adulterous affair. This decision was not made hastily but with heavy hearts, much prayer, and complete unity.
We have begun the process of repentance and restoration to Jesus. We have sought outside counsel from an organization that specializes in assisting pastors and churches in similar situations. We know that God can bring healing and mercy from the midst of brokenness.
While this process is and will be very difficult and painful, we love Jim and Carole and have committed to a long term plan of personal restoration to Jesus. While there are many unknowns, we are trusting God to give us wisdom, discernment, humility, and the grace to forgive as we continue to navigate this situation.
Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved, God will help her when morning dawns.”
This gives us tremendous hope, as it reminds us that ultimately our faith is in God alone.
The Elders of The River Church