The Elders of Riverside Community Church are servant leaders. According to Scripture, qualified men are nominated and affirmed by the congregation and then appointed by the Elder Team. We understand elders to function as pastors of the church, providing general oversight of its members and mission, with an eye to both the spiritual care of the congregation and the advance of the gospel in our city, region and world. Riverside’s elders are selected and appointed according to the needs of the church and availability of qualified men. Upon nomination, all candidates must demonstrate a satisfactory fulfillment of the qualifications listed in 1Timothy 3:1-11 and Titus 1:5-9, including a consistent demonstration of their character and gifts through sacrificial service to the body of Christ.
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James Walden, Elder, Teaching Pastor

James Pic James Walden graduated from the University of Florida in 1997 with a Bachelor degree in liberal arts and science, majoring in physics and minoring in mathematics. From the summer of 1997 until the Spring of ’98, he participated in a volunteer study program at Schloss Mittersill in Austria. Upon returning to the States, James began studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL. There he met his wife, Stacy McGee. Both graduated in 2001 – James with a Master of Divinity, and Stacy with Masters in Theology and in Counseling. James and Stacy then moved to Gainesville, FL to begin an internship program at Creekside Community Church. James was asked to stay on as an interim assistant pastor from 2002-2004, and then came on ‘permanently’ as an assistant pastor in the summer of 2004. There the Lord blessed them with three boys (Luke, Wil, and Timothy), and a wonderful time in ministry with wonderful people. However, God had placed church-planting on James’ heart since before seminary, and in February of 2007, the Lord opened the door, and in partnership with EFCA churches (including Creekside Community Church and Coquina Fellowship), the Walden family moved to Columbia, SC to plant a new church. In October, 2009, Riverside Community Church launched its first public worship service. As of June 15, 2010, James became a member of Acts 29 Network.

James presently serves as the area coordinator for Acts 29 South Carolina and leads Carolina Greenhouse, a network of regional church planters and leaders aiming to renew the Church in the South through church-planting and church revitalization.
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Landon Jones, Elder, Executive Pastor

458976_3760810896527_2097331444_o A native South Carolinian, Landon graduated from The University of South Carolina in 2004 with a B.A. In Journalism and Mass Communications. He is married to Laura, whom he first remembers meeting in middle school. (Yes, high school sweethearts do exist!) They have been married since June 2003 and have three children; their oldest son, Liam, born in 2008 and adopted into their family from Russia in 2009, and twins, Lincoln and Livia, born in July 2014. He and his wife both served on staff with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) for eight years in Russia, Memphis, TN; Johnson City, TN; Central Asia and the University of South Carolina.

In the summer of 2010, God opened up Landon's heart to consider using his administrative and teaching gifts to serve the local church, specifically church planting with Acts29. After serving in Central Asia and returning to Columbia, God brought the Jones family to Riverside as an answer to prayer for an administrative leader, and he was hired as a full-time staff member in January of 2013.

He's a passionate person whether it be about Jesus, his family, adoption, missions, college students, administrative details, or South Carolina Gamecock sports. He's currently pursuing a degree from RTS-Charlotte and is looking forward to serving at Riverside for many years to come.
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Christian Crouch, Elder, Community Life Pastor

Crouch family photo Christian came to know God as a teenager through the community of a local church in the small town in Tennessee where he grew up. Through the faithful and patient love of the church, he came to see that the good news of Jesus Christ wasn't just believable—it was beautiful. The relationships with those Christians were the seedbed of his own faith and later provided a context for him to explore his calling to pastoral ministry.

Along the way he met the most amazing woman, and in 2008 he moved to Columbia to marry her. He and Chelsey are the proud parents of Stephen, Cohen, and their daughter Zoe.

Christian was called to serve Riverside in August 2016. His delight is to see God work through the gospel to redeem men, women, and children from life apart from him and into life with him in the church. Overseeing and training Riverside's small groups in their relationships with God, each other, and our city is a dream come true. When he's not working, he loves to read, watch Netflix, play guitar, cook, and cheer on the University of Tennessee football team. He is a graduate of Sewanee: The University of the South (Bachelor of Arts, German) and Reformed Theological Seminary Charlotte.
Chris Eckert
Josh Parks
Tim Bunch


The Deacons of Riverside Community Church are leading servants. According to Scripture, qualified men and women are nominated and affirmed by the congregation and then appointed by the Elders (e.g., Acts 6:1-7). We understand deacons to function as “pastoral assistants,” providing logistical and material support so that the elders can focus on shepherding responsibilities, especially the ministry of the Word and prayer. Riverside’s deacons are selected and appointed according to the needs within the congregation and community in fulfillment of our mission as a church. Upon nomination, all candidates must demonstrate a satisfactory fulfillment of the qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:8-12, including being tested first in regards to both their character and competency in their contemplated role.
Stephen Justice
Staff, Director of Operations
Dorothy Moore
Deacon at Large
Christian Markle
Worship, Audio
James Rhea
Worship, Visuals
Frank Edson
Building Maintenance
Ben Tackett
Tommy Evans
Cleaning & Organization
Josh Whitlock
City Mission and Benevolence
Robert Beaty
City Mission and Benevolence
Maureen Johnston
City Mission and Benevolence

Ministry Leaders

Our church has a number of ministry leaders that serve faithfully alongside our elders and deacons.
Stacy Lyons
Staff, Director of Youth and Children's Discipleship
Katie McKenzie
Staff, Asst. Director of Children and Youth Discipleship
Beverly Scott
Youth Ministry Coordinator

Interns & Residents

We believe that developing future leaders is vital to our mission. We have internships that explore both ministry and pastoral gifting that work alongside ministry leaders and pastoral staff. We also have intensive residencies that focus on future pastors and church planters. If you are interested in our internships or residencies, please contact pastor Landon.
Jarrian “JayWill” Wilson
Staff, Church Planting Resident