What We Believe

  • That the Bible (66 books) is the inspired and infallible Word of God, the sole and sufficient guide for our life on earth.
  • That there is one God eternally existent in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • In the Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, His virgin birth, His humanity, His perfectly sinless life, His substitutionary death as an atonement for our sins, His bodily resurrection, His ascension to the Father, and His personal return to the earth for His saints.
  • That all human beings are dead in sin and utterly lost and that the only way their sins can be forgiven is through repentance and through faith in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • In the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, whereby a person is born again to be a child of God.
  • That justification is by faith in Christ alone, the evidence of this being good works that glorify God.
  • In baptism in water, by immersion, after regeneration, in the Name of the Father, the Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
  • In the necessity of being filled with the Holy Spirit continually in order to have power to be witnesses for Christ — by life and by word.
  • In the resurrection of the righteous to eternal life and the resurrection of the unrighteous to eternal damnation.
For a fuller statement of what we believe, please read the following article: The Truth That We Believe by Zac Poonen.


RLCF is led by 4 elders — Santosh Poonen, Ajay Chakravarthy, David Bertsch, and Olu Talabi. All of our elders support themselves and their families through secular jobs, and none of them is paid by the church. This is not because we feel that such financial support is un-Scriptural, but because we desire to maintain a pure testimony in the matter of finances amid Christendom that is full of the opposite.

Our Purpose and Affiliation

Our purpose as a church is to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ first ourselves, and then to make disciples in obedience to the Lord’s commission in Matthew 28:18-20, emphasizing the new birth, holiness of the inner life, mutual love, moral purity, financial integrity, and sharing God’s truth with others – founding every aspect of our lives on God’s Word alone. RLCF is not connected denominationally with any group or church anywhere. We are evangelical in our faith, and gladly receive all who are members of the worldwide Body of Christ.

Our Meetings

We believe in the importance of meeting regularly to encourage one another (Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 10:26). While this happens freely throughout the week in our homes as led by the Holy Spirit, we have also set aside specific times — including Sunday mornings — to meet together as a local expression of the Body of Christ.

While we do not follow any formal order of service during our meetings, we believe that all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner (I Corinthians 14:40). Within this context, we encourage all who are truly filled with the Holy Spirit to earnestly desire to prophesy (I Corinthians 14:1-4,23-33). We also believe and teach the practical expression of God’s headship order through uncovering/covering of our heads during times of prayer and prophecy (I Corinthians 11:2-5). We do not enforce this on everyone present in our meetings, since obedience to all of God’s commands must come from each individual’s faith (Romans 14:23b). If you would like to study this topic further, please refer to these 2 articles: Head-covering for Women (by Zac Poonen) and Head Coverings – Two Spiritual Statements (by Sandeep Poonen).

We usually meet for lunch after our Sunday meetings to enhance building of fellowship among us. All visitors to our church services are welcome to freely join us for lunch as well.

Our Financial Policy

A genuine work of God may use money, but it is never dependent on money. It is dependent only on the power of the Holy Spirit. Where any work is dependent on money, it is not a genuine work of God. Jesus’ ministry was dependent only on the Holy Spirit. He did accept gifts of money from His followers for His work (Luke 8:2-3). But He never asked anyone at any time for money and He never made His financial needs known to anyone but His Father. This is the way that any ministry that honors God will work even today. Jesus was the first physical “Body of Christ” on earth. Today we in the church are called the spiritual “Body of Christ”. And so we seek to follow the example that Jesus Himself set for us in the matter of finances, during His earthly life. Please read this article by Zac Poonen on The Financial Policy of Jesus and the Apostles.

We do not ask anyone for money for our needs, and we do not send out any “prayer letters” hinting about our needs either. We do not take offerings by passing around a bag/plate in our church meetings. We only place a freewill “offering box” in our church auditorium for those who wish to give — cheerfully (II Corinthians 9:7); faithfully (I Corinthians 16:2); secretly (Matthew 6:3-4); and in reconciliation with each other (Matthew 5:23-24).

All money that is received as freewill offerings or as voluntary contributions, goes directly to the work of spreading the gospel through conferences, literature and media. None of it goes to any individual, since we do not have any paid staff. We offer registration and food freely to all who attend our general conferences. Our elders support themselves with earthly jobs (like the apostle Paul did), and none of them is supported financially by the church. Our books, articles, and audio and video messages on the internet are also available for anyone in the world to read/hear/view freely. We have received everything freely from the Lord and we give it all out to others freely.

All of this ministry certainly requires money, and we are not “financed” by any rich human being. We seek the kingdom of God first, and God supplies ALL our needs always. We seek to follow the example of Jesus Himself — the first “Body of Christ” on earth. So, when people ask us whether they can give to support this ministry, we ask them to go through this Biblical checklist first:

  1. Are you a born-again child of God? It is a great honor and privilege to support the work of God on earth; but that privilege is given only to His born-again children (3 John 7).
  2. Do you have enough money for your family’s needs? Are you sure that your giving will not put your family under any financial strain? You must take care of your family’s needs first (See Mark 7:9-13 and 1 Tim.5:8). Our Father in heaven is very rich and He (like any rich earthly father) does not want any of His children to starve or suffer in any way, just because they gave Him money for His work.
  3. Do you have any large debts to repay? If so, do clear those debts first. God wants His children to live restful lives, free from all debt. We must first give to Caesar what is his, before we can give anything to God, because God does not want us to give Him Caesar’s money, or anyone else’s money (Matt.22:21; Rom.13:8). (Note: A house-loan is not a “debt” (in the meaning in these verses), because the house is an asset that you posses that is equal in value to the loan taken. For the same reason, a vehicle-loan is also not a debt – provided the vehicle is insured for the value of the loan taken).
  4. Do you have a clear conscience? Have you done your best to be reconciled with those whom you have hurt in any way? God will not accept any offering from anyone who has hurt someone and still not apologised to that person (Matt.5:23, 24)
  5. Are you giving freely and cheerfully – and not under pressure from any man or even from your own conscience? God loves cheerful givers, not reluctant givers. He does not want gifts from those who give under pressure, or who give in order to fulfill some obligation, or who give merely to ease their conscience, or who give in order to get some reward from Him in return (2 Cor.9:7).

Please bear with us as you go through this checklist. We are seeking to follow the example and teaching of our Lord Jesus in financial matters. After having carefully considered the above, if you still feel you should support this ministry, please write to us by email and we can direct you further.

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If you would like specific confidential communication please write to our elders:

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River of Life Christian Fellowship

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