In February 2015, Craig, LCU ’10, ’14, and Sarah (Lang), LCU ’10, Arnold were hired by Ignite to start a church west of the Chicago area.
For over 100 years Ignite Church Planting has been planting new churches in the Chicagoland area for the purpose of accelerating Jesus’ mission. After prayer and consideration, they accepted the opportunity to move to Oregon, IL, shortly after the birth of their daughter Norah. Oregon is the county seat of Ogle County, IL, however, the area had been nearly void of any healthy, Christian churches. This was evident by the rapid closure of numerous Christian Churches in northwestern Illinois. The Arnolds knew this was an opportunity to do things differently in order to reach unreached people. The opportunity was unique in the world of church planting because Ignite had acquired a building space for the church to meet in, as well as a residential property for them to move in to due to a church that had recently closed.
After moving, the Arnolds began crafting a vision and mission for the new church that would soon be named RiverStone Christian Church. “We wanted to reach people who weren’t being reached and to do that, we chose to focus on doing three things, and doing them well. 1) Discipleship. We didn’t just want to grow church attendance, but we wanted to cultivate Kingdom workers. Discipleship is central to everything we do at RiverStone. We create opportunities for people to share life with others while also experiencing the hope of Jesus. 2) A great children’s program. In our family-oriented community, we wanted to provide a safe and fun environment where children could learn the truth about who God is and who they are because of Him. We wanted to partner with parents in raising up the next generation of Christ followers. 3) An impactful worship experience. We wanted to provide an environment where people can come in all their brokenness, experience the love of Christ, and feel welcomed and that they belong.”
“We have seen many people that have never known Jesus experience Him for the first time. About 30% of our average attendance is made up of people who had never attended church services or had walked away years ago. We believe this is due to the fact that we offer a service geared toward showing people who Jesus is rather than just telling them who He is.”
RiverStone launched on March 20th, 2016 and has seen many lives changed, decisions made for Christ, and families finding hope amidst their hurts and freedom in the face of failure. Craig is the lead planter/pastor and Sarah coordinates the RiverKids program for kids 6 weeks old-6th grade. RiverKids takes place during the weekly Sunday services.
If you would like to contact and/or partner with Craig and Sarah Arnold you will find their contact info below.
Craig’s Cell: 812-236-1213