I was not born in Tucson, but I have lived here most of my life, and I feel blessed to call this weird wonderful city my home. I grew up in a Lutheran church where I learned an appreciation for a liturgical style of worship. After attending school at the University of Arizona, where I met my wife, I followed her here to the Vineyard, where the worship style is a little less formal. But with a group of people from many walks of life and parts of town worshiping together, God dwells, and He works powerfully. This became clear to me very early on, and it's what has always drawn me to this church. Along with my wife, Erika, I worship here with my two small children. A verse that is always helpful for me, and reflects my experience here, is Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."
I was raised in Tucson and became a Christian when I was 19. Valerie and I married in 1968, and we have two adult children and two grandsons. After I graduated from the University of Arizona we helped plant a church in Tucson. After ministering there for 18 years we were called to the Vineyard. We immediately felt at home there and we loved the community, the genuine care and the love of and commitment to the Lord Jesus and His Word. We have been here many years and we still love that about the Vineyard. After we were there a couple of years, I was hired as a full time pastor. I have joked that my job description was “chasing sheep.” I love the Lord, love sharing with His children how powerful and relevant His word is, and I love helping God’s children find out what the Lord saved them from and for. After over twenty seven years on staff I retired in January, 2018. I have been an elder at the Vineyard for over twenty seven years and am so honored to serve in that role.
Almost fifty years ago, a young man stationed at David Monthan air force base found himself with friends preaching at the Gospel Rescue Mission. Only one lost soul was found that night and it was mine. Shortly afterwards, I found my way to a number of Tucson churches, the Vineyard (not a church, but a campus outreach) being one. A return to Louisiana and college after the service followed those years, then marriage to Shelley coupled with a move back to Tucson in 1976 which began a long journey in the southwest deserts, at the Vineyard and in Christian education. In the years since, Shelley and I raised three daughters, welcomed two granddaughters, lived in the same house (with the same phone number), became a leader in the Vineyard, helped move the Vineyard from a ministry to an elder-governed church, worked for 21 years in a local Christian school then moved into executive leadership in a global Christian school association, saw people come and go in the church, worked with four pastoral leads and scores of elders, and all this by staying in one place for a long, long time. For a military kid who grew up living in 8 countries and 37 states, the stability and longevity has been a delight. From the beginning of my pilgrimage with Christ, a number of key passages became pivotal, but none no more influential than II Cor 5:14 ... for the love of Christ controls (compels) us ... and he dies for all, that they no longer live for themselves, but for him who died and rose again on their behalf.
Having grown up in a Christian home and gospel-preaching church, I came to faith at age 17, convicted by Rev 3: 15-16, which in part says, "So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth." I started attending the Vineyard in 1981 while attending medical school, met my future wife Bobbi, who had been going since the mid-1970s and we were married here. All through the 90s we were on the mission field in Yemen, but have been back in Tucson since 1999. Our four children are grown and married, and we are starting in the grandparent phase of life. We remained involved on the home side of missions here at the Vineyard. Lately I have been memorizing and meditating on Psalm 130, but have found it encouraging and instructive to read through the whole Bible every couple of years.
I grew up a Cubs fan outside of Chicago and came to Christ over 50 years ago at Maranatha Bible Conference in Michigan. While attending Wheaton College I committed myself to full time ministry. I met Lisa while working for Radio Bible Class in Grand Rapids and we were married in 1982. We have three awesome adult children. I graduated from Talbot Seminary and attended Regent College in Vancouver, BC. In 2001, after almost 20 years in youth ministry, I was extended a call to pastor at the Vineyard. During the time of worship when we were visiting here, it was immediately clear that this was where God wanted us as a family. The verse God keeps calling me to is Isaiah 30:15. “In repentance and rest you will be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Melva and I met in high school, dated, married, and had our first child in Michigan. A year after she was born we left to see the country; we went to Florida first then moved to California for several years before moving to Tucson in 1982. While in California, Melva took our daughter to a small local church. She soon re-dedicated her life to Christ and I received Christ shortly thereafter. We moved to Tucson and started going to Tucson Bible Fellowship where we met Mike and Valerie Begley. Around the 1985/86 time frame we made the move to start fellowshipping here at the Vineyard. Since then I have become an Elder, retired, and volunteer as the facility manager. I think the biggest asset about the Vineyard is the community aspect and how we are to look out for and care for one another. Acts is very clear how the early church gathered together to help and nurture each other and Melva and I have experienced that community recently.
I was introduced to Jesus when I was a child during a Sunday School lesson by a substitute teacher. I accepted as much of Jesus as I could comprehend at the time. Connie and I met at the University of Michigan and married in 1968. We have three adult children and one grandson. I retired from practicing medicine in 2016. We began attending the Vineyard in 1985. After many years of searching for a church, I immediately felt I had come home. I especially appreciate our corporate worship of the Lord. I believe our time with the Lord and with each other transforms us.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into this same image from one degree of glory to another.”
I was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona. I grew up hearing the Gospel from my parents and Godly leaders at church. When I was six years old, I prayed to ask Jesus into my heart. I wasn’t completely aware of the significance of my decision then, but I knew I had sinned and Jesus was offering to save me from that sin and its consequences.
Through junior high and high school, I struggled with living out my faith but I was blessed to have faithful high school and college leaders pour into my life. It wasn’t until transferred from ASU to the U of A that my faith really grew. No longer under my parents roof, I had to decide to either make this faith mine or go my own way. I got involved with a campus ministry and Bible study. In 1990, my then-girlfriend-now-wife and I found a local body of believers here at the Vineyard with whom to fellowship, worship and serve. And here we remain.
My wife, Kathie, and my two daughters, Bennett and Brynn, recently read and memorized Psalm 46 together. One particular verse stood out to us as a desert dwellers: “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” I am thankful for God’s sustaining, Living water throughout my life.
I began to follow Jesus after learning what the gospel was in a Navigator Bible study at the University of Oregon in 1979. Melinda and I met there, and having a similar calling, we fell in love and married in 1984. The Lord has blessed us with four children, now all adults. Our journey has included living and working among Muslims in a central Asian nation for 10 years, after which we moved to Tucson in 2008. We have been at the Vineyard since our very first week in town. I have been greatly blessed by both grace and truth in this church - by its unfailing faithfulness to the Word of God, and by the love of its people. You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22
I accepted Christ at a very young age and was baptized when I was 10. At each new stage of life growing up, there were new distractions popping up to try to take my attention off of the Gospel, but God was always faithful to bring strong mentors and opportunities to refocus me and help me toward maturity, particularly during high school.
I came to Tucson to attend U of A in 2008. During the beginning of the year campus fair, I found several college minitries to get involved in, and a list of local churches. I eventually settled on Intervarsity, which I participated in all through college. Not being familiar with the scale of Tucson maps, the first church I visited was in Oro Valley, and I almost missed the entire service driving up there. After that, I resolved to visit churches in order of proximity to campus. This led me to the Vineyard, and it was clear from the first visit that this is where God wanted me to be.
My wife, Danika, followed me down to Tucson after college, and we now have three girls: Eleanor, Lucille, and Lillian, the oldest of which just started school at Veritas Academy.
I moved to Tucson in the summer of ‘78 on a whim, not realizing at the time that it was all part of God’s plan. I met Debi the following year and 9 months later we were married by “then Vineyard Pastor”; Randy Reynolds. That was Aug. of 1980, which is when we began attending the Vineyard as a couple. We have two adult children (Jennifer & Matthew) and 3 grandchildren.
I felt God tugging at my heart at an Easter service in 1980 and accepted Christ at that time. One verse that stands out to me is John 15:5, it helps to remind me of my place in Christ. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." The song “Be Thou My Vision” has a particular sentiment in my heart also.
In the Scriptures, the word diakonos- which sometimes gets translated as deacon - is actually the word for servant or minister. In the early church they were those who faithfully gave themselves to the hands-on daily work of the church. Here at the Vineyard we use the term Ministry Leader. From the early days of the Vineyard, the “ministry leader” role was key to facilitating much of the actual work of the church and has been seen as a critical function and voice into its health. Ministry leaders are made up of Staff Ministry Leaders (part-time) and Volunteer Ministry Leaders
Finances Erin & Jose Martens
Missions Marty Brown
Neighborhood Impact Elizabeth Koleski
Prayer Ministries Mary Koenig
Retreats Tabitha Sims
Sound/audio Terry Hendricks
Women's Bible Study Tenaya Roberts