Our Vision - A Brief History
Our Vision is to build a strong, non-denominational, Spirit-filled, Family-friendly, Youth-oriented Word-church with exuberant praise and intimate worship, to serve God and His People. River City Church derived its name from Psalm 46:4 ("There is a River whose streams make glad the City of God...") The word River refers to God's Spirit among us, and the word City refers to your life. So God's Spirit is flowing through your life at River City Church. After much prayer and counsel, Joel and Heidi Hitchcock started River City Church. Here is a short history: Dr. Joel Hitchcock has ministered as an evangelist for most of the 23 years of his full time ministry. He held revival service in churches of different denominations all over the United States and the world. He also held evangelistic miracle crusades in many countries. Heidi joined the ministry after her marriage to Joel, and together they have reached out to the harvest.
Joel had been given the opportunity to pastor existing churches several times in his ministry. A couple of them were strong, healthy and established churches. Each time Joel felt that this was not God's will for the time being. Often people would ask Joel if he ever would pastor a church, and by default his answer was that if God willed it, that he would gladly do so, but for now he was to continue itinerant ministry (preaching as a guest speaker from one church to another).
He was then asked the same question by a pastor who operates strongly in the prophetic ministry in December 2012. And for the next few months he could not shake it.
In Joel's own words, "It was the most agonizing 2 1/2 months. I could not shake it. The thought was ever present in my mind. It became the main topic in Heidi and my conversations. I prayed and could not get an answer. My mind felt cluttered with so many questions. I could not discern whether or not I was supposed to pastor a church. What about my calling as an evangelist? What would my brethren, the local pastors say? Will it be affiliated with any denomination? Where will it be - South Africa, New Zealand or America? And if it is America - will it be in California, Florida, Colorado or Delaware?"
Finally, Joel concluded that pastoring a church would not mean an end to evangelism, because Joel would continue to be an evangelist whether on the road or from a base. If he pastored a church, all that would really change would be his itinerant ministry to other churches. But he would still continue holding his international crusades 2-3 times a year as he had been doing, and his church would be evangelistic in nature. But before he could go any further, what would the pastors in his area say?
So, he contacted every pastor he had a relationship with in Sussex County, Delaware. "Before I could even think or pray effectively in terms of starting a local work, I first had to consult with my brethren - the local pastors of our community. I contacted every pastor in Sussex County with whom I had some kind of relationship. Each one that I talked to gave me their unreserved blessing. One offered his building, another two offered a financial contribution and yet another even offered sowing a couple of members into the new work.
I am humbly thankful for their blessing, and feel that I can move forward at this point..."
Joel Hitchcock (Click here for a list of pastors in or around Sussex County that have given us their blessing)
With the knowledge that the local pastors had given him their blessing, Joel felt that he could pray about it much better. And then one day in the middle of February it happened. Again, in Joel's words "I suddenly I felt that it was the right thing to do to go forward in starting a church. It was not like I heard God's voice clearly at that point. It was more like a prompting in my spirit. I also felt that starting a church would be part of the bigger picture..."
Confirmation came from many different circumstances, and the favor Joel had on this endeavor. And yet another word from a prophetic minister confirmed that Joel and Heidi were on the right path. River City Church held its first service on the first Sunday of May 2013.
Many wonderful friends and well-wishers attended the meeting and a few indicated that River City would be their home church. The atmosphere in the church is wonderful. Joel loves to focus attention on the immediate presence of Jesus in the services. The music and worship is great, the Word is preached under the anointing of the Spirit, and many are ministered to by the gifts of the Holy Spirit - such as healing and prophecy.