Monday, June 8, 2009

Church Experiment #23: The Vineyard

A couple of months ago, I attended the Vineyard Westside and spoke about church as “family.” Because of my relationship with Tim (Westside’s lead pastor), visiting his church was like reconnecting with a brother.

This week, visiting the Vineyard Community Church (www.vineyardcincinnati.com) was like going home to Mom and Dad.

My spiritual journey began at the Vineyard more than ten years ago [now nearly twenty years ago]. I attended church a handful of times as a kid and even less as an adult (I went to my brother’s church a few times so I could play on his basketball team). After I met Evan Griffin in 1997 and reconnected with him in early 1999, I agreed to start reading the Bible, hanging out to discuss life, and visiting his church … the Vineyard.

To finish reading about this experience or any of the reflections from my 52 visits, please purchase the full book here.

28 comments:

Maureen said...

couple of things...

1. you came to the 11:40 and didn't say hi?! *shakes head* not cool. the 11:40 is THE service to go to (and not just because that's the one i go to.)

2. thank you! so i'm not the ONLY one who thinks that joe=ray romano!

3. a few years ago, i used to work at the vineyard and i wasn't happy with A LOT of things that went on behind the scenes and i resigned. i felt the similar emotions you did and i certainly was shocked that vcc didn't live up to the standards i held. but like you said...no one's perfect...and i realized that the devil was trying to use my frustrations as a rouse/ploy to get me to leave the vineyard completely.

when i figured that out, i played the devil at his own game and focused on the GOOD that vcc was doing and not the bad. and i'm glad i did...i've been going for 8 years...straight.

it's hard when anyone let's you down, but even harder when it's the church.

glad you came back and hope you don't let the devil win and find a permanent home again at vcc...and it ends up being #1

Sid Raisch said...

In Hillsboro you'll probably like Good News Gathering, meeting at 10:00 at Southern State College. Great band,excellent teaching from Jeff Lyle. See www.goodnewsgathering.org.

Another good one if you can be up early and handle two Sunday morning services in one day would be the Chapel in the Woods at Rocky Fork Lake State Park campground. Service is no later than 8 AM.

Susan said...

Hey Steve...we're long time vacationers at the Outer Banks...what part of it are you staying at? Corolla? Duck? Nags Head? You don't want to do too much driving on a Sunday with it also being a rental switch day!

Susan

j steg said...

In Scott's defense on the announcements, the skit worked well at the 10AM service.

Cyndi said...

Oh, good stuff. What hit me hardest was "The love of one false idol does not exclude a deep passion for God. Someone could be a sexual predator, or thief, or adulterer, and still love God, which is messy."

I've been in the either/or camp for so long but this statement just rings true to me. How can a great pastor suddenly be caught in adultery? It didn't just happen, it developed over time - and yet people didn't notice because he was still loving God.

I love God even though I argue with him a lot. But I wonder what else I'm loving that's taking time away from him. (Oh, I know what it is, I just don't want to admit it just yet.)

Btw, I used to work at the Dayton Vineyard and left because I didn't like the messiness behind the scenes. I still attend there 8 years later and understand the messiness so much better now. And right now I'd like nothing more than to work in that environment again. Call me crazy... or call me called. :)

Anonymous said...

I have really been enjoying this experiment of yours! Thanks for sharing it!

Just wanted to give you a link to a blogger I read who is a worship leader in the Outer Banks. I believe his father is the pastor, too. Not sure if it is even remotely close to where you are headed, but thought I would give you the link.

http://cfhusband.blogspot.com/

This is his dad's blog:

http://nagsheader.blogspot.com/

Steve Fuller said...

Susan,

We will be near Duck.

Susan said...

Duck United Methodist Church is a year-round congregation: http://www.duckchurch.org/index.htm

It's near the Scarborough Faire shopping area, but the other side of the street. Their sanctuary has a beautiful view of the sound.

Corolla Chapel is near the Corolla lighthouse. They've recently (last 5 years) expanded their building.

http://corollachapel.com/default.aspx

There's been a place (a tent church) that tried to get started...Corolla Worship Center near Timbuck II Shopping Area, but it was not there last year.

Most of the churches are south where the year round people live!

Anonymous said...

I know there are several routes to the Outer Banks from Cincy but if you use the one that takes you through Norfolk \Virginia Beach - last time I visited there were 2 Vineyards, with different times for their services. You could try one of those on your trip home.

Terry

Jacqueline said...

I am so very happy for you that you were able to have such a positive experience this week. Also, thank-you for being completely honest with your feelings about what you observed and learned and with your own struggles in your walk. This particular post has really blessed me as I have learned so much about myself and my own walk from what you have learned about yourself. Again, much thanks. I look forward to reading the posts in the coming weeks.

Suzanne said...

Hey Steve! Enjoying your visits. I live out by OBX and see that someone else has already recommended this church for you: Nags Head Church at Milepost 13, blue roof, can't miss it on the right coming down from Duck. It's an SBC purpose-driven/Saddleback model, has a great worship band and great preacher. Pastor Rick's blog is: http://nagsheader.blogspot.com. Strong seeker church that you may feel at home in. Enjoy your visit!

ylmurph said...

I'm with Josh (J Steg). Scott picked an older lady and guessed 39 at the 10 o'clock. He asked if he was right, she said yes....everyone laughed. It was fun and I think helped new folks that aren't jaded by years of people making fun of their elf shoes, to get comfortable and realize the Vineyard isn't the stiff church that tries to over spiritualize a few announcements.

I love Scott. Back off or I'll box your ears.

I should mention that I love you too and will box the ears of anyone who makes fun of your shoes.

Consider my ears boxed...

Steve Fuller said...

I am sure Scott is a fine fella.

I just calls em like I sees em.

Mr. Mcknob said...

Interesting project you have here. I have been church hopping for a while trying to find a place that I fit in.

Joe Blue said...

On the topics of good things becoming idols - that sounds similar to part of a teaching I heard at a conference last summer. It was by Mark Driscoll from Portland and was excellent. Looks like the audio is online (I think you can order a DVD, which would be good because he looks like more like a guy you'd see in a nightclub than in front of a church).

http://services.media.xenos.org/teachings/xsi/2008/XSI2008-MarkDriscoll-1.mp3

karns' said...

Hello Steve,
So glad to learn about your experiment and so thankful to know that you are writing. You have a unique, wonderful gifting that the world needs to see and hear. You know I am a big fan. Blessings,
Sharon Karns

Ben said...

"...I felt led in worship yesterday. Something I think most worship leaders don’t do well. There was more energy. The teaching wasn’t a scripted PowerPoint presentation. For me, God’s presence was palpable."

This made me say wow.

Roxanne said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBO7p9auhhg&feature=share

Roxanne said...

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Roxanne said...

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Roxanne said...

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Roxanne said...

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Roxanne said...

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Steve Fuller said...

Roxanne,

Are you trying to say that we don't need religion? :-)

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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