The Dayton Vineyard Church is an independent, non-denominational church with two campuses: one at 4051 Indian Ripple Road in Beavercreek and the other at 1222 North Main Street in Dayton.
In 1990, The Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati sent Doug and Marcie Roe to Dayton to plant a church. Doug Roe had been the first person on staff at the Cincinnati Vineyard but he was originally from the Dayton area. Scott and Bonnie Sliver joined the Roes as they headed to Dayton. Doug served as the pastor of the new church plant and Scott served as the worship leader. The two men continue to serve as the primary leaders of the church still today.
A key component in the church’s development was serving. Doug and Scott began taking groceries around to poor neighborhoods in the city of Dayton and offering free groceries and prayer to those they came across. They had learned this method of service while serving at the Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati. The term “servant evangelism” was coined by Steve Sjogren, the founding pastor of the Cincinnati Vineyard where Pastor Doug received his ministerial training and his first job in the ministry. This model expanded to other works of mercy and service such as giving away cold drinks and other acts of service, in the name of Jesus, with no strings attached. Servant evangelism became the central thrust of ministry at the Dayton Vineyard Church and continues to be its largest single ministry. Servant evangelism is what the church is best known for in the Miami Valley.
The Dayton Vineyard is also known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere and free gourmet coffee to all who come in. Originally, Doug offered coffee as a way of thanking those who came in early to set up for services. Now, the Dayton Vineyard has a full-service coffee bar offering specialty drinks and snacks along with the free coffee.
The Dayton Vineyard held its first meetings in Vandalia, Ohio at the Airport Inn and Conference Center. By the late 1990s, the church had grown to almost 1,000 in attendance. Having outgrown the Airport Inn as well as space in a strip mall in Huber Heights, the Dayton Vineyard relocated in Riverside at the Aero-Tech Office Complex. During this season of the congregation’s life, they began a large food distribution ministry with the help of Gordon Foods, Inc. The ministry was affectionately known as the Back Door Ministry because it was conducted out the back door of the building. When the landlord unexpectedly cancelled their lease, a member of the church came to their aid and provided space for the backdoor ministry—launching what became known as the Life Enrichment Center.
The Life Enrichment Center added classroom instruction for those seeking a General Equivalency Diploma (GED), a feeding program and other instruction in general life skills. The church spun-off the LEC as a separate 501©3 so that it could minister across denominational lines. It continues today under the leadership of Jeff Sorrell as an ecumenical, non-denominational ministry to the poor of Greater Dayton.
At the same time, the Dayton Vineyard Church signed a contract to buy the Furrows Lumber Yard and additional parcels of land on Indian Ripple Road in Beavercreek, Ohio. The congregation moved into this location in December 2001 with an average of 1,200 people attending the weekend services. Growth continued through 2007, and Outreach Magazine listed the congregation that year as one of the 100 fastest growing churches in America.
In 2007 the Memorial Baptist Church gave the Dayton Vineyard Church its facility on North Main Street in Dayton. From this campus the church began a weekly breakfast outreach to the community and gave away groceries once a month.
In 2008, the congregation began a process of reflection which would lead to a reorganization of the church’s structure. During this time the governance of the church was arranged into four pillars: Loving God, Loving People, Making Disciples, and Establishing Families. Over the course of the next year, the trustees and the pastoral leadership of the church felt that they needed additional space and began investigating options for expansion. A new auditorium was completed in November 2010 with plans to reconfigure the former auditorium into a children’s and youth center.
Applying the talents and principles that God established in their hearts for serving the community in a variety of practical and meaningful ways, God continues to add to the Vineyard daily!
Attendance on weekends averages 2,200 between the two campuses. The Beavercreek campus has three services (for a total of 2,000 people), one on Saturday and two on Sunday. The Dayton campus has one service on Sunday with approximately 200 in attendance.
The Dayton Vineyard Church began as a part of the Association of Vineyard Churches (sometimes called the Vineyard Community of Churches), a small loose-knit “denomination”, or association, of churches with about 600 congregations in the United States, and several sister associations in 15 other countries, totaling about 2,000 churches world-wide. These churches are joined together by a shared theological perspective on the Kingdom of God, as elucidated by George Eldon Ladd, which emphasizes the idea that the Kingdom of God is present now, yet still to be fulfilled in the future. (This kingdom theology, when connected to charismatic teaching is sometimes referred to as third-wave or Empowered Evangelical theology.) Kenn Gullikson founded the first Vineyard church in 1975. The association was founded, and led by John Wimber, a former musician, who was part of the Righteous Brothers. His musical influence also helped shaped the association, which is known for its distinct style of worship music. John went to be with the Lord in 1997. These original Vineyard values are still central to the identity of the Dayton Vineyard Church.