For more information about Riverbend Centre click the image above.

For more information about Riverbend Centre for the Arts click the image above.

For more information on Riverbend Christian School click the image above.

For more information on Remembrance Gardens click the image above.

For more information on Weddings at Riverbend click the image above.

Welcome to Riverbend

We understand that visiting a church can be awkward and intimidating, but Riverbend was created for people who are intimidated by church. We invite you to give us a try! Feel free to take your time, look around and get to know us. We hope to see you soon!

Meet the Pastors


Asst. barbara shepherd-

Dave and his wife Diane returned to Texas from the San Francisco bay area in 2005.  After over 20 years in the Dallas area and four years in California, Dave eagerly accepted the call to come to what everyone with any sense knows is easily the coolest city in Texas. While Dave has often been accused of many things, the things no one will never successfully accuse him of is not loving his family, his job in Austin, and Riverbend Church. Dave’s passion for leading a church for people who don’t like church has shaped his ministry since prior to his time at Dallas Theological Seminary and Biola University, from which he received his Master’s and Doctorate degrees. Dave and his wife Diane have three grown daughters; Cayah, Leah and Kaitlyn, all of whom have wound up in Austin, not simply to be near their family, but just because it’s that awesome.


Asst. barbara shepherd-

Peter graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Economics and after a stint in business, earned a M.Div. in Pastoral Ministry from Western Seminary. He spent several years as a pastor of small groups, singles and young adults and in 2001 became the executive pastor of his church, where he also worked with Dr. Haney. In 2005, Peter moved to Austin to join Dr. Haney at Riverbend. He has a heart for teaching and a burden to figure out what the Church needs to become to help post-Christian people experience the caring love of Christ.  Peter loves to spend time with his 3 boys, travel, play golf, surf, learn new things and have stimulating conversations with people.

student ministry

doug congdon, student pastor

Doug graduated from Wheaton College and Dallas Seminary. He has served in student ministry for over a decade. His wife Leigh, baby girl Darcy, and their dog Jackson have tolerated Doug's love for board games, coca-cola, and his Midwest boy antics and now gladly share him with Riverbend for their daily break. Doug and his family love to see life change in students.



In 2010, Todd moved to Austin from Arlington, Texas with his wife, Pamela and their two children Ryan and MaKayla. In 2005 Todd answered the call on his life and became the Children Pastor at a large church in Arlington. He has been involved in church for well over 25 years serving as a volunteer in worship, youth, adult and children ministry. Todd has a huge heart for God, children and families alike and he considers it a privilege to be able to speak into the lives of children. He loves sports, fishing, hunting and just spending time with family and friends.



Dean came to Riverbend in 2001 to do research for Dr. Gerald Mann and later became the Pastor to Senior Adults.  Dean grew up on a farm in St. Joseph, Illinois.  Dean received an undergraduate degree from Centenary College in Shreveport, La. and a Masters of Divinity degree from Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.  Dean was ordained into the ministry of the Lutheran Church.  He served parishes in Windsor, Co., Wichita Falls and Austin, TX.  He is married to Sally and has 4 children and 7 grandchildren.  He enjoys teaching and working with senior adults.  He also enjoys working in his yard and garden, working on his 1919 Indiana tractor and attending all of his children and grandchildren’s sporting events.


Since arriving in 2006, David's leadership has grown to include young single adults, young couples and families.  He’s a regular part of the Sunday morning teaching rotation, gives oversight to the Children's Ministry Team, and represents the interests of community groups on the Pastoral Team.  A primary focus is answering the question, what does it mean to BE the church not just GO to church?  David is a native son of San Francisco, California.  He has an undergraduate degree in Public Administration from San Diego State University and a Masters degree from Azusa Pacific University.  He has been involved in professional non-profit and spiritual leadership for over 17 years.  David and his wife, Laurel, have two kids, Bjorn and Annika.


Mike is a lifelong Texan who began working in churches in his teens. After attending Baylor University, he served several churches as a music and youth minister. In 1990, he changed careers and became a graphic designer. He and his wife Lisa began attending Riverbend and Mike was soon playing keyboards each Sunday. He was hired as Riverbend’s graphic designer in 1999, but soon added writing, teaching and even preaching occasionally to his duties. He was ordained as a pastor in 2006, and began the Wings community group, followed quickly by another group, Links. He and Lisa have a daughter, Lindsey, who is a theater major at the University of Texas. Mike has published two books and has two more in progress.



Norm works with our volunteers looking for ways to get them “involved” - serving others through Riverbend.  Norm is part of the Church Council, Stewardship & Mission committees, and Men’s ministry. He oversees the operational areas such as: Facilities, IT, Frontline ministries, Riverbend Centre for the Arts, Remembrance Gardens, and the Building A Blessing Capital Campaign. Norm graduated from The College of Wooster and pursued graduate studies at Fuller Theological Seminary.  After running businesses for 30 years, he entered full-time ministry at Riverbend Church in 2006. Norm and his wife Barbara have been married 31 years and have two grown children.  Originally New Yorkers, they’ve lived in Chicago, San Francisco, and now Austin. They love to connect with family and friends in Hawaii each year.



Paulette and family have been part of Riverbend for thirty plus years and Paulette has been on staff for twenty years.  She works with Stephen Ministry and support groups including 12-step recovery groups.  She provides pastoral care to those dealing with relationship issues, grief, illness and addiction, as well as benevolent needs.  She is responsible for purchases and management of the church bookstore.  Working closely with Women’s Ministries leaders is another area of her efforts.  On Sunday mornings she teaches in the Grace Lab.  Her ministry efforts focus on providing help and encouragement to people who are hurting physically, spiritually and emotionally.  Preventive ministry is a priority to equip people with skills that facilitate spiritual and emotional growth.  A graduate of the University of Texas, she also earned a Masters of Arts in Pastoral Ministry from Trinity Theological Seminary.


kevin hedges, PASTOR OF creative arts


Kevin, his wife Mindy, and daughter Grace, are transplants from the San Francisco Bay Area by way of the foothills of Denver. Experiencing and embracing Austin with the love of Jesus, they hope to live out the blessing that everyday we are all waking up to what God is already doing.

CARLTON DILLARD, PASTOR OF music and worship

Carlton joined the Riverbend Church staff in 1989. He attended Howard Payne University and the University of Texas at Austin, majoring in vocal performance. He spent many years in music ministry serving churches in Texas and New Mexico. He is known for his contagious enthusiasm and creative use of various styles of music in the contemporary church. Besides being a gifted vocalist and worship leader, Carlton is a conductor, arranger, and record producer. He and his wife Sharon have four children and four grandchildren. Sharon also serves on staff as Manager of Riverbend Centre for the Arts. Carlton's other passions include home theater design and installation and his two dogs Maggie and Zoe.

Missions Ministry


Andrew moved to Austin in the spring of 2003 to serve on the Student Ministry Team. In December 2008 he became the first Riverbend Pastor of Missions. He has lived in Texas for most of his life. Andrew earned a Bachelors in Business from Oklahoma Baptist University and a Masters of Divinity at Southwestern Seminary. Andrew desires to help individuals and groups look for practical and thoughtful ways to extend the love and grace of Jesus into the world around them. When he has free time, he enjoys spending it with his wife, Carmen, and their two teenagers, Cole and Claire. Andrew loves to read good books, clever and insightful articles and the Bible because each in some way feeds his soul.



Theo has been attending Riverbend since 2000 and joined the staff in 2008. In addition to his role as Stewardship Pastor, he is a Stephen Minister, President of Riverbend Centre for the Arts, Chairman of Riverbend Church Foundation, and a Certified Financial Planner®. He holds a B.B.A. in Accounting, from Howard Payne University and is a graduate of the University of Texas’s Certified Financial Planning program. He has over 30 years experience in the financial services industries and continues to provide financial assistance to individuals on a limited basis. He is a licensed private pilot, enjoys sailing, scuba diving, traveling with his wife Salli and has two adult daughters living in California.