The OUTSIDE Vineyard Church

Lots of churches plan to have an outdoor service in the summer months. We didn’t. But we had one last Sunday anyway. 🙂

Before I talk about two days ago, let me begin by talking about 12 years ago. When I was going to seminary out in California, a few times I went to check out a church called Mosaic. This was the church led by Erwin McManus, but it was before Erwin got on the national radar.

They met right in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, renting a place called Club Soho. It was owned by Prince, who at the time was known as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. 🙂 So it was a bar 6 nights a week and a church on Sundays.

I arrived at Mosaic and found out that for whatever reason, the club was unavailable that Sunday. So they had church in the parking lot on the roof of the building. So you worshipped God with the skyline of L.A. as the backdrop. It was beautiful.

Well, this past Sunday, our congregation didn’t have the skyline of L.A. to look at. Instead our backdrop was a brick wall of Shelby Jr. High School. 🙂 But I don’t think anybody cared.

Here’s what I love about our church….

On Saturday afternoon I received word that due to the storms from the previous night, Shelby Jr. High School didn’t have any power. And since it’s the summer time, restoring power to a school is low priority.

So I sent an e-mail out to our Core Team of key volunteers, asking everyone to pray. We have a 15-person prayer team, but I drafted every one of our volunteers to pray for God to move a mountain and for electricity to be restored.

In asking them to pray, I mentioned there was a good chance that power might still be out tomorrow. And if that is the case, we might be forced to cancel church primarily because of practical problems like lack of bathrooms.

I received a number of text messages, e-mails, and posts on Facebook from folks who said they would be praying but also encouraged me and our Advisory Board not to cancel church. After all, the early church in the book of Acts didn’t have electricity or a building, and they did just fine. They did more than fine, in fact. They changed the world.

On Sunday morning our volunteers rallied together and made it happen. We brainstormed. We made a ton of decisions on the fly. We experimented a bit. We prayed a ton. And everything came together. The parking lot of Shelby Jr. High became holy ground.

So this past Sunday we did everything we normally do at church. We worshipped. We dug into the Scriptures. We took communion. We prayed for people. And we had some fun with it, changing our church name for a day to The OUTSIDE Vineyard Church (thanks to Alan Lubnow for that recommendation!).

I don’t mean for this to sound like a cheesy Christian cliche but last Sunday reminded me that we don’t need electricity… we need the power and presence of God. Electricity is nice but not a necessity. But if you don’t have God, it doesn’t matter if you have lights and air conditioning.

***Please join us this Sunday INSIDE Shelby Jr. High School at The Eastside Vineyard Church. In addition to worship, teaching on Matthew 25, communion, and prayer, we’ll be inviting our first-ever short-term mission team on stage to commission them. It will be a special Holy moment. Sunday July 28. 10:30am. More info at***


About Dan Kopp

In 2010 Dan and Kellie felt the call by God to plant a church somewhere in Macomb County, Michigan. Several months later The Eastside Vineyard Church launched and currently meets inside Shelby Jr. High in Shelby Township. This blog began in the pre-launch phase of the church and has exceeded 50,000 hits. Thanks for reading!
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5 Responses to The OUTSIDE Vineyard Church

  1. David J Shaw says:

    How did you get beyond the problem of no rest rooms? Always enjpy your blogs. You make it so easy to feel we can comfortably approach God, and that He really cares about the smallest detail of our lives. Thank You

    • Dan Kopp says:

      We didn’t know this until Sunday morning, but there were a couple public restrooms about 100 yards from the parking lot… for the soccer fields nearby. So that worked out well!

  2. Loretta says:

    BRAVO , BRAVO !! Even “US” sensitive to the sun , pale peps , got to enjoy services outside……………………………………via , pop up an umbrella !!

    SOMETIMES when things go wrong , all any of us need is a little encouragement .
    Sometimes, I often think ( without sounding like a “cheesy” Christ follower!! lol ) , God
    challenges us , to lift up people in a pinch, which also includes “OUR CHURCH” !!
    After all , it would have been easier to cancel
    church , but NOT nearly as fun as last Sunday !!
    Sometimes , a whole bunch of heads are better than ONE !! lol lol

    Reminds me , that a pastor is only as good as his congregation !! That it is important to encourage you & lift you up in prayer !! You carry a huge burden for our Majesty, but WE are paying attention !!!

    OH , and that brick WALL that was our back ground during the service ????
    The whole time you were preaching , randomly , I would think of ” WOW, when we are facing a BRICK WALL , God ALWAYS makes things happen !! May not be the way we plan ( like the electricity DIDN’T come on – but peps JUMPED in and made it happen !!) , but HE takes care of each detail – EVERY DETAIL !!
    All we have to do is “show” up at the offer of Salvation, believe and live it !!
    The HOLY SPIRIT no doubt was with each of us , last Sunday . The presence was certainly felt by me.
    Love what GOD is doing,
    ~ Loretta Eichbauer

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