Our story begins in January 1999 when I (Rich) unwittingly walked into the first official service of a new church called Blue Route Vineyard in Media, PA. I felt welcomed. I experienced God’s presence. I discovered how exciting life can be when you do what Jesus says.
Little did I know it, but 14 years after my first encounter with Jesus in that little Vineyard church plant, I would end up starting a new church at the other end of the Blue Route (I-476) in a town near where I grew up: Conshohocken, PA.
But this next time, I would have the honor of leading the charge to building a new community of people who love Jesus alongside of my wife Jessica and our young family of four children.
Jessica and I got to know each other by attending church together and got married on July 12th, 2003. We enjoyed our church experience so much that we deeply involved ourselves in ministry life.
I never imagined myself becoming a pastor, but within the first year of our marriage, we helped plant a new church in West Philadelphia. During that time, I also completed training with the Vineyard Leadership Institute.
After a year helping with the new church, having our first baby, and working a five-year stint teaching high-school math at a charter school in Philadelphia, we decided to move to Media. We plugged back in to Blue Route Vineyard, with the dream to one day start a new church when the timing was right.
God’s timing was ten years—and with seven of those years with experience on staff as an associate pastor, missions partnership leader, and site pastor—we got the call to start a new church.
Our calling to pant a church came through conversation with our church, friends, and family; confirmation from God’s word; significant time in prayer and fasting, with specific answers to prayer; and a series of divinely orchestrated circumstances.
In 2013 we announced our plans to plant a new church in Conshohocken. We gathered a team by casting vision for a new kind of church that would be a living reality of Psalm 23 for those living along Route 23.
Conshohocken means “pleasant valley.” We dream about a kind of church that brings “people in the valley” rest and refreshment in God’s presence. We dream about a church that demonstrates to the hardworking and busy people of our town that Jesus is worth the time investing in.
The greatest restoration project in our area is not a new building complex—it is the community God is gathering together to bring restoration to lives and families in Jesus’ name.
Conshohocken is a one-of-a-kind town. Life downtown with the diversity of restaurants, community events, and access to the rest of the area is a blast. But the people of Conshohocken are what we love most.
The surrounding neighborhood is a complex mosaic of old and new. At the same time it is a place of business and commerce. It’s located at the heart of southeastern Pennsylvania, within minutes of Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.
While there have been, and are, beautiful expressions of the body of Christ in Conshohocken, many churches have also been closing. Many young people do not see the church, and Jesus for that matter, as a relevant aspect of their lives. We want to change that.
That’s why starting in February 2014, we made plans to move our family to the area.
Then, on September 6, 2014, our core group of 50 people, almost half of them young children, gathered together, along with a good number of supporters from our partner churches, to launch the Conshohocken Vineyard.
Since then, we have seen good things happen.
New friendships are forming. People are going out regularly to serve in the community and pray. We’ve seen God heal people on the streets. Many are discovering the joy of hearing God’s voice. A few others have given their lives to Jesus and gotten baptized. We’re excited and hopeful for what’s to come.
Jesus is good news for Conshohocken. The kingdom of heaven is at hand!
We invite you to be part of our story of bringing people together – from both the main line and main street – to discover what it means to follow Jesus in a busy world.
Come as you are and be restored.