March 30, 2009

Church Experiment #13: Vineyard Westside

This will probably be my most biased review to date. Tim Urmston (the lead pastor of Vineyard Westside at the time of my visit) and I worked together years ago at Vineyard Community Church in Springdale, Ohio. Tim gave me my first shot teaching in a Christian context at Alpha way back in 2002. He started Vineyard Westside right around the same time Aaron Wright and I launched D’VINE. Plus, he’s just a swell fella.

I was actually pretty apprehensive about attending Vineyard Westside ( For one, the west side of Cincinnati scares me. It’s like a whole different world over there. Not so much the people or neighborhoods (both are perfectly fine). Even though it is technically Cincinnati, it feels like a hundred miles away.

The other reason is because I know people at Vineyard Westside, so visiting in order to “critique” or “judge” seemed weird. I felt much less anonymous than I have up to this point in the experiment. I considered wearing a fake mustache and glasses, but that would have required way too much work.

I tried to hide in the corner, but the pastor and associate pastor both spotted me before the service began. Luckily, they only roughed me up for a few minutes before letting me return to my seat.

I am going to sum up my experience at Vineyard Westside with these three words: Cup Holder Pews.

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