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Red River is fairly unique in that it ascribes to leadership by elders.  We know God uses all forms of church leadership for His glory and yet it is clear in the New Testament that a plural, elder form of leadership was the prescribed form of government of the early church.   


We reject the clergy-laity division that often defines the church and believe strongly in the “priesthood of all believers.” Ordinary people, from all backgrounds and professions led the early church and we believe that is possible and even preferable now.


A plural leadership helps emphasize the need for community, reciprocity and accountability in the church.  Elders routinely defer to each other in the Lord and value God’s glory and purpose over who actually is doing the work.  So in this way, the elder teams helps form a microcosm of what the church should actually be as it follows the Lord together as His body.


Elders’ Roles According to the Scripture:


  • Servants (Mark 10:42-45)

  • Overseers of the congregation (1 Timothy 3:2)

  • Shepherds (Pastors) of the Flock (1 Peter 5:1-2)

  • Teachers (1 Timothy 3:2)

  • Equippers (Ephesians 4:12)

  • Examples (1 Peter 5:3)


Elders’ Qualifications (based upon 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9):


  1. Above reproach, husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled

  2. Respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunk

  3. Not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, manages his family well

  4. Has obedient children, not a recent convert, good reputation with outsiders, not overbearing

  5. Not quick-tempered, loves what is good, upright, holy

  6. Disciplined, holds firmly to the trustworthy message of the gospel


Jeff Bennighof

Jeff is married to Linda, who coordinates children's ministries at RRC, for 30+ years, with daughters Natalie and Caroline, who have both graduated college. I've been an engineering professor at UT for more than 25 years.

A big passion of mine is for each of us to understand what our walk with the Lord can be like, and to realize that potential in our day-to-day experience. I'm currently teaching an adult class called "Jesus in the Gospels" which looks at the life and ministry of Jesus in the four gospels. 




The Red River staff is a group of diverse, talented, and approachable believers who strive to advance the kingdom of God.

Keith Atkinson - Elder, Pastoral Ministry

I am a native Austinite (one of the few) who was ambushed by Jesus Christ in 1973 and I have never been the same since.  I have been involved in Christian ministry in some capacity since I was seventeen years of age. I love being a pastor and realize how blessed I am to have this vocation.  I am also a pastoral counselor who loves to accompany those who are on the journey of healing and growth.    Red River is a great place to serve Christ and grow in grace.


I am married to Melinda Peinado.  Melinda is a professional actress and communicator. Melinda is vibrant, intelligent, creative and beautiful. We love growing together, being together, learning together and serving together.  She presently acts, helps lead Red River Arts and is very active in dog rescuing.


I am the proud father of four children: Luke, Alexandria, Sam, and Isaac.  We also have three very intelligent and active dogs.


I love playing the guitar and writing original songs. In 2004 I recorded Dwelling Place, a CD based mainly on the Psalms. I have also recorded songs with Red River Arts.


I am constantly reading. My favorite Christian authors include Dallas Willard, Eugene Peterson, Brennan Manning, Scot McKnight, Henri Nouwen, and Thomas Merton. I also love reading non-fiction books of all kinds, with a novel thrown in occasionally. 


Jim Stutsman - Facilities Maintenance

Jim takes care of our facilities with expert repairs and upgrades.


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