Vineyard Church welcomes new pastor

By Evelyn Long

July 8, 2014

Jerry Stephens, new pastor of the Vineyard Church of Morrow County , Fulton, is excited about serving a small rural church.

The pastor assumed his new position on March 9 and was formally installed on Palm Sunday, April 13. He succeeds Jenny Gravley who founded the church in 2011.

She and her husband, David, have relocated to Florida where they are organizing a new Vineyard Church.

Pastor Stephens was with the U. S.Navy in Jacksonville, Florida, serving from 1973-79 at Cecil Field where he flew the S-3 plane.

“One day I went on a blind date who took me to her church. I ended up becoming Christian,” he said.

A year later, “the Lord called me to the ministry” and he served with the Assemblies of God ministry for ten years.

The Vineyard movement began in the 1990’s and he spent most of that decade on the pastor staff of the Vineyard Church of Columbus, later transferring to the Vineyard Church in Delaware and served at the Turtle Crossing Church in Dublin.

He was with the Vineyard Church of Knox County in Mount Vernon until two years ago when he took some time off.

He noted that VCMC is a smaller congregation but what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in heartfelt devotion to the Lord and to the community. Responding to the question

“What do you understand your pastoral calling to be, he said. “It is significantly different than the typical church model.”

Taking his cue from the Apostle Paul’s statement in Colossians 1:28, his focus is on “presenting each person mature in Christ.” To that end, he said his emphasis will be on personally discipling key groups of men and women who will, in turn, disciple others. He believes that in this way, VCMC will fulfill the great commissioning Christ gave to his church.

The Vineyard Church of Morrow County is located at 104 West Main Street in Fulton.

Worship services, typical of most Vineyard churches, features a casual contemporary service and begin at 11 am each Sunday.

“We are growing slowly,” said Pastor Stephens, who explained that he is developing Discipleship groups, titled Alpha Course, designed for people who are curious about Christianity and want a safe plan to discuss about what it’s all about.

Sunday School is held during the worship services which begin at 11 am each Sunday. Vacation Bible School is planned for August 4-14 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

The pastor and Jeanie, his wife of 38 years, have five children. They will soon welcome their 16th grandchild.

Although he loved being at his previous charges, this small church in a rural setting “fits us perfectly. My wife and I love small churches.”

Pastor Stephens and his congregation invites the public to come worship with them.