Welcome! We hope this report will give you a sense of what’s happening throughout the Vineyard. The best way to navigate, is to scroll down and be guided by the presenting video in each section.
We’ve also provided supporting materials, ways to connect, and straight-forward financial data points we think you’ll find helpful.
Feel free to share this Annual Report with staff, key leaders in your church, your board, or really anyone who would find it useful.
We are so grateful for all God has done in our churches in 2021 and look forward with great anticipation for what He will do in 2022!
As we reflect on all that God has done with us in 2021, we are filled with faith for what is to come in 2022.
Vineyard USA exists so that people would know Jesus and experience the power and presence of his Kingdom. Every day we hear stories of the incredible pastors and leaders of our churches around the country who are sharing Jesus with the people in their city, cultivating environments for encounters with the Holy Spirit, and seeing the Kingdom break out all around them. We hope that this 2021 Annual Report reflects our celebration of our churches and what Jesus is doing amongst us.
In 2022, we are praying for God to meet us powerfully as we seek to start and support local churches that are deeply committed to one another. May God bless each of you richly as you seek his Kingdom in your city!
A little more than seven years ago I was released from prison for the third time. This time was different than the past couple times in the sense that I had finally gotten the whole “Jesus thing.” I had met him in a very real way and during my 2.5 years inside prison, I really got to know Him in an intimate way.
Shortly after coming home, I met a beautiful girl with a fire inside her for the Gospel. While we were dating, she brought me to her church to meet some of the people in her life. That church was Vineyard Church of North Phoenix. I was absolutely blown away that a church with thousands of people in attendance could feel so tightly woven. Within weeks I was serving weekly on the Worship Arts Tech Team, where I continued to serve for more than three years eventually moving into serving as a leader in Vineyard Youth. It was here that I found my true calling ministering to young people.
In 2020, when the whole world shut down, we found ourselves visiting the Prescott area nearly every other weekend. We planned to move to the area within five years. God had other plans though. In a matter of months, we found a new home, sold our home in Phoenix, and made the move out of Phoenix and into Prescott Valley, where we live now.
Since moving to our new town God has worked big in our lives. We had heard of a Vineyard church in the area, Starting Point Church of Prescott, and checked it our first weekend here. Here’s the part where I’d love to say we knew were home after that very first service, but that just isn’t the case. We felt God calling us to “shop around” a bit, and that’s just what we did. We checked out about a half dozen other churches in the area. They were all great churches with welcoming members, volunteers, and staff but none were home for us. We eventually found our way back to Starting Point on the grand opening of their new facility on Easter weekend and we knew we were home. It wasn’t that the other churches weren’t great, but they just weren’t for us.
One thing we’ve always loved about Vineyard churches is the belief that everyone gets to play. We have never felt the calling to simply be consumers. We know God created us to be contributors. At Starting Point, we were given the opportunity to be contributors. When we started attending service there was virtually no student ministry. My wife threw my name out there at a lunch meeting with a couple of the leaders as someone who might be interested in building a student ministry at Starting Point. I quickly found myself on staff as the Student Ministry Director and have had the absolute pleasure of serving our middle school and high school students alongside Crista.
Since joining the staff at Starting Point Jesus has opened doors I never thought possible for a guy like me. I coordinate a monthly ministry called Taco Tuesday in which we serve hundreds of tacos to hundreds of mall employees. We do a weekly Discovery Group with our middle schoolers on Sunday morning where we get a chance to really dive into the Word and have seen massive growth in our students. We do a weekly Youth night for middle school and high school students on Wednesday nights that’s all about fostering healthy relationships between students and is a safe place to meet Jesus face to face.
For a guy like me, who nearly a decade ago was absolutely lost to drugs and alcohol, on his way to prison for the third time – a life like this shouldn’t be possible. For a blended family and marriage like ours, that was on the verge of divorce 5 years ago, our marriage shouldn’t be possible. But we have realized the truth in Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I never could have gotten my life to where it is on my own. Crista and I could never have reconciled our differences and revived our marriage on our own. When we started to submit to God and surrender all of it to Him, He worked in ways unimaginable to us.
We know we’re home where we are now. We know God is using us to touch the lives of others and bring them to His feet. We know He has so much more in store for us, our family, our community, and our ministry. We are Vineyard.
RiverHills Vineyard was sent out from the Boise Vineyard in December of 2019. It is located in East Boise about 10 miles from the Boise Vineyard.
We had eight Sundays meeting in an elementary school before COVID closed us down. For the next 27 weeks we did church online from our loft and worked on investing in leaders.
In September 2020, we moved into local batting cages, yes, you are reading that correctly. We moved our church into some batting cages because it allowed us to safely social distance, and we were able to help a local business stay afloat during the pandemic. The batting cages were great but it took a lot out of us. We had a team that would come in on Saturday night and set up, and then a separate team on Sunday morning that would have to tear down AS SOON AS SERVICE WAS OVER because the business opened at noon on Sundays.
In January 2021, we began praying and asking God for a more permanent home. We asked God for three things: 1) Move us to a place of need in the community, 2) a place where churches were moving out, or not located, 3) located in our community.
God is the business of answering prayers. We came across an old hotel that has turned into low income housing and had a large convention center space. We asked about leasing the space long term. After a series of conversations the door opened for us to take over half of the convention center space. We had to clean up the space and even clean out the room, but as of June 1st we have moved into the space. It has allowed us to partner with the families in the housing complex, as well as a new partnership with the school. That in and of itself is great.
This God story continues to grow. The church I pastored in Georgia was founded by Rick and Ellen Coffin. I took the church from them when they moved to India. Because of our relationship, I have traveled to India 18 times in the past 15 years. I have a heart for India and for those within the Hindu faith community.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago. The owner of the property asked to meet with me. He is Indian and Hindu, he said he wanted to meet with me to thank me. He said, “Since your church has moved on the property, we have experienced a blessing, our income is up and we have less calls to the police. We believe it’s your presence on this campus.” We talked some more and I shared with him how we as a church have been praying for him and his facility. He said he wanted to thank us for our attitude of service and all the work we had done around the facility, and wanted to let us know that they decided to take the other half of the convention center and move the Boise Hindu temple into that space.
At the time I’m writing this, last week we had the opportunity to share with several of their members. This last Sunday we left the doors open during worship and several came and stood at the door and watched. I have met with the priest and asked him if we could pray for him on a Sunday and he said he would think about it. This week the priest asked if next week when they dedicate the temple, if the older folks could use our space as overflow since we have chairs and the ability to live stream. So we are going to serve next week by handing out water and helping the elderly in and out of the space.
There are so many more aspects to this story, but as we were cleaning the church and lobby this morning, I felt prompted by God to let you hear what is happening with one church plant in Boise, Idaho.
I really sensed that God has called us to encourage others, especially with other church planters and smaller churches. This is God’s story, and we are excited to be a part of it.
We will begin training on servant evangelism and how to share our faith with those of the Hindu faith, because I sense God has called us to the world without ever leaving our community, which is great because well I really like my bed.
We love the Vineyard, and all that God is doing in this tribe and this corner we pastor in Boise, Idaho. We are Vineyard.
The Well-Being of Pastors Initiative is a direct answer to prayer. In one way it is an answer to prayer to create sustainability, vitality, and longevity in ministry and in another way it is an answer to prayer is by filling a personal void I have been experiencing since returning to full-time ministry.
The pandemic and its subsequent phases and surges have changed the focus and function of the vocation of the minister (any pastoral role at any level). Yet, the care of the minister has not evolved to match his or her working dynamic.
In a large part, the Well-Being of Pastors Initiative helps to meet the needs of VUSA ministers and an amazing feature is the affinity groups that match VUSA National Associations.
I am a part of the VUSA Black Pastors and Leaders Well-Being of Pastors Initiative group. Both that group and the Association are hard at work bringing to the center voices and faces that have otherwise been marginalized.
Since returning to full-time ministry in NYC I had experienced a drought of mentorship and coaching and had no experience with spiritual direction. This was important to me as I had favorable experiences with coaching and mentorship in previous experiences in ministry and while working in corporate settings. Yet, as a replanting church in NYC with a young staff, this was not readily available to me.
The Initiative met this need via a building mentorship relationship with Dr. Charles Montgomery, a spiritual director, a ministry coach, and a cohort of African-American Pastors who are both friends and co-conspirators in ministry. We affectionately call ourselves “Vineyard Wakanda.” An author once said that Black pastors in primarily white spaces do one of three things: 1) they sell out, 2) they are pushed out, or 3) they burn out. However, I am confident as long as VUSA remains committed to the Kingdom work of creating a racial welcome through centering the disenfranchised, then Black pastors will (as we culturally say) “turn it out” and will be a house of hope for all people; from all ethnicities seeking to experience the Gospel.
Our church, Vineyard Manhattan, in the heart of NYC is a byproduct of prayer from 20-30 years ago when Vineyard USA started planting churches on the East Coast. Our roots have a dotted line back to the original Manhattan Vineyard that was started decades ago. Ironically, this is in the identical neighborhood where one of our campuses is at today.
We were officially adopted into the Vineyard Movement in January 2022 as a merger of two former sister churches deciding it is better to do ministry together than apart – formerly Hope Chelsea/TGC Chelsea and formerly TGC Upper West Side. We are one church in two locations — on the Upper West Side and in Chelsea, creating a new Vineyard expression of church for the west side of Manhattan.
It is our hope and prayer to bring forth the reign of God in NYC by “Speaking Kingdom Words, Praying Kingdom Power, and Doing Kingdom Works.”
Since joining the Vineyard, God has given me language and my role to address my holy discontent. This defined a feeling unease about something wrong in our world (which upsets God also) and taking positive action to fix it.
The discontent came from observing a church that was more fixated on gathering in a set space rather than being enthralled to thrive in a world scattered whom so desperately needed an experience the Kingdom of God. The Lord has been doing work in me and through me to lead my church in my role of Pastor of Mission and Justice.
As the outward-facing pastor toward the community, my role is to shape our community to understand our mission as domestic missionaries in NYC and to seek biblical justice in the blocks and buildings we live in.
We are Vineyard.
James “Jay” Payne serves as the Pastor of Mission & Justice at Vineyard Manhattan, NYC, and as the Administrative Coordinator for the VUSA Black Pastors and Leaders Association.
We lead a pastors prayer group in Toledo called Merge. It began out of relationships of a handful of leaders wanting to support one another, then spread out to include many pastors and ministry leaders gathering once a month to worship, pray and fellowship.
Our first priority is building relationships. Then, out of these relationships, cooperation. And finally from that, sharing of resources. We hold our monthly gatherings in a different church or ministry center each month.
During the early days of COVID, we were able to bring in a truck load of food from Convoy of Hope to fill a number of food pantries through our partnership with one another in the city. Convoy sent us a truck because it was not one large mega-church asking for help, it was a group of churches working together, spreading the blessing.
Every February, we have a Merge Summit – an overnight gathering at a nearby state park where we come together to worship, pray, and fellowship. This year, we brought in professional counselors to talk with us about trauma and leading through traumatic times, recognizing trauma in our churches and in us. It is not a conference with speakers, but a time to pull back, be encouraged, and to encourage others.
We do three meals together, which might be the greatest part of the two days, as we are simply with each other. We will have 80+ leaders come together for our summit, and every year it gets better. Also, on the National Day of Prayer, we gather that evening with at least sixteen pastors and ministry leaders, leading the congregation in prayer for our nation, our city, education, and more. This is one of the most diverse events in our city. Powerful prayers being lifted up by men and women of all ethnicities and backgrounds.
We are seeing pastors and leaders from many different cultures, denominations, styles, and ethnicities come together. We are currently engaged in significant conversations with a longtime African American Bishop in Toledo. We are simply trying to understand each other’s experiences as we read and discuss books like “The Color of Compromise” together. Recently, the Bishop commented that the book study with Merge is the longest continuous meeting between black and white pastors in the city that he has ever been a part of.
We are committed to listening to and supporting one another. When George Floyd was killed, some of our African American pastors put together a march. White pastors who had built relationships with pastors of color showed up to march. The pastors of color were amazed and commented “In Martin Luther King Jr.’s day, the evangelicals didn’t show up for anything.” This has led to significant repentance from all of us. The Bishop even repented for not wanting to work with evangelicals. Listening, supporting, understanding, and repenting has opened the door for many other things.
We do not pastor a large church, but we are told that we are pastoring a city, and pastoring pastors from around the city. Some may ask how do pastors like us make this kind of impact? We show up. We show up at a pastor’s celebration, we show up when a church has a celebration, or we show up at building dedications. Most of the time we are not sure what we are supposed to do, but simply show up without an agenda.
The Vineyard prepared us for this. When we came into the Vineyard in the 1980s, John Wimber taught us to love the whole church – even as he was getting attacked from parts of the wider Body of Christ! Church unity is us, because it is part of our Vineyard DNA. We can work at being a multicultural church and may or may not succeed. But, we can also work with other churches from different cultures, denominations, and races than us. It has to be more than a ‘mission trip’ mindset – just taking our church into a low income area for a week to work. We need to build long-term relationships with churches and people not like us.
Our Vineyard DNA helped others see us as ‘safe’. We were not a threat. They know we are not moving towards them in order to plant a church next to their church. Other leaders know that building relationships across differences is the thing we Vineyard folks do. We started 30 years ago with 30 people in our little church leading city-wide March for Jesus worship events with lots of different kinds of churches, cultures, and races simply honoring Jesus. That sowed the seeds for the trust that we enjoy with one another.
Our Merge meetings consist of coming in and worshiping together. We take time to pray. We give opportunities for prophetic ministry which always brings a very encouraging word. There are people in the room who are not from charismatic backgrounds. We make room for everyone. The Vineyard’s naturally supernatural style has helped all the churches to experience the Spirit.
To me, these are signs of the Kingdom. Power and praying are signs of the Kingdom – we see that in our Merge relationships. But another sign of the Kingdom is when we live out the answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17.
At our last Merge summit, the keyboard player in the band, a pastor, had just been fired from his church. As he helped to lead worship he sensed the Spirit say “You’re going to Disney World”. Unbeknownst to him, a couple in the back of the room had a sense they were supposed to give that same keyboard player a check to pay for a vacation for his family. After worship they walked up and gave him a check saying “We felt God say use this for your family vacation. Take them to Disney World or something.” The Holy Spirit was moving in the background, arranging a blessing for a couple deeply wounded. Loving one another leads to moments like this…
When it’s done right and done healthy we realize we’re not in competition with anybody else. We want to be friends and come around one another. It’s not about doing the tasks first. It is a whole lot easier to get tasks accomplished when you’re doing it with people you love and like. Our best friends are now these pastors from all different cultures, races, and denominations from around our city. A lot of this is simply to keep showing up to support others, to listen, over and over and over again.
We are Vineyard.