Local churches series: Vineyard Church North

From+Edwin+Kpodzro

From Edwin Kpodzro

After arriving in Grand Rapids, it does not take long to recognize that the area is uniquely populated with an incredible number of churches. Yet with only so many Sundays in a year, it can be difficult to get a good grasp of potential churches one might attend. Each week, students at Calvin attend a wide variety of churches with different theologies, worship experiences, ministry opportunities and so on. This semester, the religion section of Chimes will offer weekly articles on churches Calvin students attend in order to give a brief glimpse into the diverse church offerings of the Grand Rapids area.  

Vineyard Church North is a vibrant, local church community conveniently located on the East Beltline in Grand Rapids. Edwin Kpodzro, a junior engineering student at Calvin, has been attending Vineyard Church North for the past two years.

Vineyard North is not associated with any particular denomination. According to the church website, Vineyard Church is “an association of Christian churches that is attempting to combine the best of historic Christian traditions, including an evangelical understanding of the power and purpose of the Bible, a charismatic belief in God’s active presence in the world, a high church view of the shaping power of liturgy and contemplative prayer and a passion to see the world restored by the breaking in of the kingdom.”

Both the interior space and sung worship at Vineyard North contribute to a relevant, contemporary atmosphere. “On the inside, it’s very spacious and has cool lights in the auditorium,” says Kpodzro. He describes the worship as “Spirit-filled” — some compare the music at Vineyard North to worship at Hillsong and Bethel. “The leaders lead with passion and grace, and the people respond with their hearts and minds,” Kpodzro says.

Kpodzro described the sermons at Vineyard North as challenging and down-to earth. Theologically, services “focus on Jesus as the Savior of the world, our role as Christians in bringing God’s Kingdom to earth, our cultural mission to reach out to people outside the church and compassionate ministry every day of our lives,” said Kpodzro.

Vineyard North’s congregation is extremely welcoming, and exudes a “come as you are” mentality. It is also a diverse body of believers. “I believe it is very representative of the body of Christ — anyone and everyone,” said Kpodzro.

The ministries at Vineyard North emphasize community reconciliation, compassionate ministry and lives of gratitude. Some of them include foster care for refugees, an addiction recovery program, an outreach program for the Grand Rapids community and a food pantry. One of the ministries “recently sponsored a mother and her six children from the Congo and helped them settle in Grand Rapids,” added Kpodzro.

Kpodzro highly recommended Vineyard North to anyone looking to try a new church. In particular, he would recommend it because of the welcoming congregation. “They take Jesus’ words very literally and love one another to bits,” Kpodzro says. “It is just a big family in which everyone is genuinely interested in growing, helping others grow and following Jesus wherever he leads.”

Kpodzro insists that his words cannot do Vineyard North justice; instead, he says,

“All I’ll say is come and see!”