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The Story of Vineyard Tuttle Crossing

When John & Cathy Lieb crossed paths with the Vineyard movement in 1983 they met people whose passion for Jesus sparked theirs. Hungry to see the Gospel advance in central Ohio, they began traveling to Vineyard ministry training conferences all over the country. Soon they began to see God’s Spirit work through healing, spiritual gifts and power encounters.

In March, 1985, John and Cathy, along with a group of pastors in Columbus, invited John Wimber, the International Director of the Vineyard Movement, to lead a conference on healing at the Ohio State Fairgrounds. During this three day conference God’s Spirit worked in amazing ways. Literally hundreds of people were healed, set free and trained for ministry. John and Cathy realized they had found leaders they could, without hesitation, partner with.

In 1986, they led their young congregation to join the Vineyard movement. In 1990, their Vineyard church moved from north Columbus to Hilliard and joined forces with Paul and Amy Hoy, founding Pastors of Grace Harvest Christian Church. Paul and Amy merged their church (along with the property on which our facility sits on Avery Road) with the Vineyard. John and Cathy led and became what is now known as the Vineyard at Tuttle Crossing.

Most of the values expressed in the Tuttle Crossing Vineyard today can be traced back to the Jesus movement. The focus on a simple devotion to Jesus and a hunger for spiritual reality was a hallmark of that time as is our focus on healing, discipleship and contemporary worship and our burden to reach youth, the poor and unchurched suburbanites. The emphasis on community through small groups is rooted in the church’s beginnings in a living room.

Today, our church is poised to build on the grace God has continually poured out on us for over twenty-five years. We hold in our hearts a desire to continue to reach upward, loving God, reach inward, loving people, reach outward, serving our city in Jesus’ name and move forward, multiplying disciples of Jesus, ministry teams and churches.

History of the Vineyard Movement

The Association of Vineyard Churches is one of the fastest growing church-planting movements in the world. The Vineyard story is about ordinary people who worship and serve an extraordinary God. The Vineyard is simply one thread in the rich tapestry of the historic and global Church of Jesus Christ. But it is a thread of God’s weaving. From the beginning, Vineyard pastors and leaders hove sought to hold in tension the biblical doctrines of the Christian faith with an ardent pursuit of the present day work of the Spirit of God. Maintaining that balance is never easy in the midst of rapid growth and renewal.

John Wimber was a founding leader of the Vineyard. His influence profoundly shaped the theology and practice of Vineyard churches from their earliest days until his death in November 1997. When John was conscripted by God he was, in the words of Christianity Today, a “beer-guzzling, drug-abusing pop musician, who was converted at the age of 29 while chain-smoking his way through a Quaker-led Bible study” (Christianity Today, editorial, Feb. 9 1998).

In John’s first decade as a Christian he led hundreds of people to Christ. By 1970 he was leading 11 Bible studies that involved more than 500 people. Under God’s grace, John became so fruitful as an evangelical pastor he was asked to lead the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth. He also, later, became an adjunct instructor at Fuller Theological Seminary where his classes set attendance records. In 1977, John reentered pastoral ministry to plant Calvary Chapel of Yorba.

Throughout this time, John’s conservative evangelical paradigm for understanding the ministry of the church began to grow. George Eldon Ladd’s theological writings on the kingdom of God convinced John intellectually that the all the biblical gifts of the Holy Spirit should be active in the church. Encounters with Fuller missiologists Donald McGavaran and C. Peter Wagner and seasoned missionaries and international students gave him credible evidence for combining evangelism with healing and prophecy. As he became more convinced of God’s desire to be active in the world through all the biblical gifts of the Spirit, John began to teach and train his church to imitate Jesus’ full-orbed kingdom ministry. He began to ‘do the stuff’ of the Bible that he had formerly only read about.

As John and his congregation sought God in intimate worship, they experienced empowerment by the Holy Spirit, significant renewal in the gifts and conversion growth. It became clear that the church’s emphasis on the experience of the Holy Spirit was not shared by some leaders in the Calvary Chapel movement. In 1982, John’s church left Calvary Chapel and joined a small group of Vineyard churches. Vineyard was a name chosen by Kenn Gulliksen, a prolific church planter affiliated with Calvary Chapel, for a church he planted in Los Angeles in 1974. Pastors and leaders from the handful of Vineyard churches began looking to John for direction. And the Vineyard movement was born.

Twenty years later, there are more than 850 Vineyard churches worldwide, an international church planting movement, a publishing house and a music production company. Vineyard worship songs have helped thousands of churches experience intimacy with God. Many churches have been equipped to continue Jesus’ ministry of proclaiming the kingdom, healing the sick, casting out demons and training disciples. The Vineyards journey has not been a straight path. It winds through many trials and triumphs. If interested in more we recommend Bill Jackson’s book, The Quest for the Radical Middle. This readable history explores the events, issues and people who shaped the Vineyard in its first two decades.

Currently, Phil Strout serves as the Director of the Vineyard. An eleven-member board and over 150 area pastoral coordinators help govern the Vineyard Movement. John and Cathy serve as area pastoral coordinators for the Columbus Area Vineyards.

Each Vineyard church is locally self-governing. The Vineyard movement provides pastoral care and accountability for pastors and a wider community of shared values and resources for participating churches. Vineyard churches typically are active in relationships on the local level with churches across a diverse denominational spectrum, hoping to promote the values of Christ’s kingdom and encourage, love and learn from the whole church. The Vineyard has extensive and fruitful relationship with American denominations, the Church of England, churches in Europe and Africa, World Vision, seminaries like Fuller, and under ground churches in Europe, Asia, and China.