Our History

The Story of the Vineyard Church of Portland

 

Our Beginnings:

The Vineyard Church of Greater Portland (VCGP) began in 1993.

Phil Strout, Associate Pastor at the Lewiston Vineyard and his wife Jan, who had previously been missionaries and church planters in Chile, moved to Portland to plant a church.

 

The Lord gave them a clear vision articulated in a simple phrase:

Be Loved, Believe, Be Healed, Be Equipped, Be Going.

There was a conviction and a commitment in the hearts of those God called together that the new church should foster sincere love, proactive faith, progressive healing, spiritual equipping and missions.

The Lord spoke a series of prophetic words that affirmed who he had made us to be as a people and where he wanted to take us as a church.

Growth:

Meeting initially on Sunday mornings at Riverton Elementary School and in homes during the week for small groups the church began to grow.

In the spring of 1995 Mario Maston joined the staff as Associate Pastor and in the summer of the same year the church signed a lease on a facility located in the Riverside Mall on Warren Avenue.

As the church continued to grow so did the diversity of ministries.

While Children’s Ministry, Small Groups and Worship provided a solid foundation new ministries were birthed. These ranged from Vineyard Marriage Encounter, Acts and Alpha to ministries for Men, Women, Young Adults and Teens.

In 1999 e3 Portland, a leadership institute began with a mission to equip, empower, and engage men and women for kingdom leadership and service.

VCGP developed a strong cross-cultural mission focus through membership and active participation in the International Association of Missions (IAM) a partnership of Vineyard churches in New England created for the purpose of planting churches in Spain.

The further growth of the church and the maturing lease on the Warren Avenue facility meant the need for another property to call home.

In February 1999 after a temporary stay at King Middle School, while renovations were completed, the church purchased and moved into the current facility located on Route 302 in Westbrook.

Transition:

Two years later marked a major transition in the life of VCGP when Phil Strout stepped away from the pastoral role, and together with Jan, undertook an assignment with the Vineyard Missions Task Force.

Mario Maston, the Associate Pastor, stepped into the lead role on an interim basis and soon after was appointed Pastor. The next couple years would be a time of consolidation and change.

In June 2003 the Vineyard Church of Greater Portland planted its first church in Sanford-Springvale, sending a team under the leadership of Dick and Judi Ryerson.

In 2007 VCGP planted a second church collaboratively with the Vineyard Church of Lewiston. Dan Downer, who served as Assistant Pastor for three years, and his wife Pat, led this plant with a combined team from the two churches. The launch of the Lake Region Vineyard Church occurred in September 2007.

The following January Kevin Doepp, who had previously served together with his wife Debra as Co-Director of Children’s Ministry, became the new Assistant Pastor at VCGP.

Spring of 2008 saw the International Association of Missions (IAM) multiplied into two partnerships. Together with other Vineyards in Maine, VCGP joined Maine Vineyard Missions (MVM) and shared in the summer launch of this new missions partnership committed to planting churches in the Basque Region of Spain.

Recalibration:

2008 was also a year in which God led us to recalibrate our mission and vision as a church. The Lord re-energized and redefined our purpose calling us to be a church that is for and not against. He gave us new language to articulate His vision:

A people for Christ, for the Kingdom of God, and for the world

As a church that is for God and others we are committed to a positive Kingdom agenda for the Greater Portland area.

Our aim as we move into the future is to be a church that is for God, on a journey with God, to make known the Kingdom of God.

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