Welcome to Vineyard Church Sacramento. We are glad you visited this interim website, because there are two big transitional moments to tell you about.
The New Pastor
After planting the church 19 years ago, our beloved founders Johnny and Jeannie Zapara passed the pastoral baton. Eric Nicolaysen moved down to Sacramento from Seattle in June, 2013, with his love, Tabitha, and their (now 16 month-old) son, Bjorn. On January 5th, 2014, Eric stepped in as Lead Pastor. It’s been an incredible journey for Vineyard, and for the Nicolaysen’s, and the strong sense is that our church has set sail on an incredible new adventure. It’s a good time to connect, or reconnect, with Vineyard Sacramento. (And if you are interested in connecting for coffee, not quite coming to our Sunday morning worship gathering, no problem. Send me an email: email@example.com).
New Meeting Place
The wind blew powerfully in our sails right out of the dock. Vineyard had been meeting at the Boys & Girls Club at 1117 G Street for several years, always intending to find a more suitable place for our worship gathering. That opportunity came quickly! On April 6th we begin gathering for worship at 2830 G Street.
What kind of church are we? Here is a short, incomplete glimpse:
To start, we are a Vineyard Church. We pursue God’s Kingdom breaking into our present reality, here and now, while recognizing its fullness – all things new – is yet to come. We are both playful and passionate, we strive in our songs to enter the Presence of God, we believe our neighborhood matters in relation to God’s dream for our church in this particular city (good news in our everyday lives). We strive to be a church where vulnerability is honored, where the point is not perfection but being and becoming the beloved sons and daughters in whom our Poppa-God delights. We celebrate humility that allows us to surrender, receive, and join God’s Kingdom Life – modeled by our Savior and Friend, Jesus.
The Church-Seeking Process
Here’s where we start: it’s not about getting you into our church, it’s about discerning with you what church body God wants you to be part of – for your sake, and for the church’s sake. That’s our prayer as you visit our website, our worship gathering, or with Pastor Eric for coffee. Our driving question is not, “How can we draw so-and-so into our community?” but, “Where is God wanting so-and-so to connect, grow, and be in community?”
One thing we notice about our culture, dominated as it is by consumerism, is folks often look for a church which identifies with particular terminology, and the consumer-Christian chooses the product he or she thinks best. The website is generally the place where church-seeking Christians look to see “Are they missional? Conservative? Progressive? Biblical? Do they value story? Are they narrative-oriented? Worldview focused? Modern? Postmodern? Emergent?” And so on. Often the church-seeker will identify those terms they most resonate with, and visit that church, avoiding those churches with language they associate with “them”. We think it ought to be the other way around, that what you value is something you will bring – not just consume – from the church God leads you to. That’s because we believe church is a generative place, a place where mutuality exists between what you receive from the church, and what you bring to the church.
Been a While?
For those who have not visited for a long time, or have never visited: we’re aware that visiting a church for the first time, or after a long time, can be awkward. There’s really no way around that, even for extroverts. So come on down, get your first awkward greetings over-and-done with, and let’s discern together if this is the church body in which God wants you to belong. And that’s precisely how we understand the process of finding a church home: it’s not a consumer market in which you find the one you like best and “Sold!” Rather than a business deal, finding a church is more like finding a marriage partner. It’s a matter for prayerful discernment. You can never know enough to “buy” the right church anyway, and you don’t need to. God knows where you will thrive in worship and formation; the point is to pay attention to what God is up to between you and the church you visit. When God is clearly drawing you, then it’s up to you to take the courageous step. Again, like marriage, this doesn’t mean visiting once and deciding this is the church you will die in. It means visiting, connecting with people, engaging in worship, and in the midst of it all discerning God’s continued “yes” or “no” between you and the church. Our hope: discern with you whether this is or is not the church God is beckoning you towards. It is not a loss for our church if God is leading you elsewhere, because the point is God’s kingdom and your growing and thriving in it, not our church getting more people.
(And if you prefer meeting for coffee (or other) before coming to church the first time – great! Pastor Eric is often visiting the local coffee shops.