Less than two weeks ago, East Campus celebrated its 1-year anniversary. In fact, you can read the full story in last-month’s MIX, here.
As part of the celebration, Senior Pastor, Rich Nathan made a beeline from the 9am Cooper Road service to the 10:30am East Campus service. After he finished preaching at East Campus, he hustled back to Cooper Road for the 11:30am service. It was crazy morning but definitely worth it!
Happy 1-year anniversary to pastor Charles Montgomery and everyone at East Campus. Here are a few photos by photographer and Vineyard Columbus member, Bill Tijerina. Enjoy!
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It’s hard to believe but the East Campus has already passed its six-month anniversary. I recently spent some time with our East Campus Pastor, Charles Montgomery, to learn how the campus has been growing.
One of the first things Charles and I talked about was the reason for starting the new campus. “The idea was to develop another campus within I-270 and East Columbus was an interesting opportunity, especially targeting the Downtown, Bexley, Berwick, Blacklick/Reynoldsburg, Canal Winchester, and Pickerington areas." Charles also emphasized we already had a high concentration of people in these areas coming to Cooper Road, so it just made sense.
Shortly into my conversation with Charles, I asked him what he thought was unique about East Campus. One of the attributes he noted was simply who has been attending. “We had an idea on paper who would come but now we know. It's about 51% African American, 47% Caucasian, with the remaining 2% being Hispanic. It really reflects the area."
Charles also seems genuinely proud of how involved people are at East Campus. "We've done a neighborhood cleanup and at Easter, we had over 250 children that came to our Easter egg hunt." However, their commitment is more than just servant evangelism. "The prayer team has been exceptional. They're praying before the service and during the service. They're praying over the children.” He then tells how the prayer team stepped up when they saw a need. “We had a member who had a massive stroke. Several persons from the prayer team visited the member in the hospital, read the Bible and one even brought a guitar and played worship songs there in the hospital room! This encouraged someone else from our campus to write to me and share ‘I'm going to activate my small group to provide meals and to show up and pray too!’” Pausing for a moment, Charles then notes, “We are really developing a strong pastoral-care arm at our campus and this is a blessing.”
He was also quick to point out how many young families have embraced the East Campus. “There's a strong attraction for families and the number of young families surprised us. On a given Sunday, 90 - 100 kids are under 5th grade." Charles then adds, "With this many kids, we're now in the throws of finding and recruiting more volunteers." Well, as we say in the Vineyard, “Growing things reproduce.”
With this growth has also been the challenge of mitigating concerns for residents in the Berwick area around the campus. "People were initially concerned with parking and traffic, so I gave my phone number to the president of the Berwick Civic Association. Recently, we got a phone number set up during the service so if residents have a question during services, we can address their concerns. We now even have a member who's a trustee with the Berwick Civic Association."
I then asked Charles what’s in store for the next six months and he started to get a little excited. “Currently, we have 17 small groups with two more getting started. One is an over-55 group and the other is for middle-school girls.” He then quickly added, "May 12th we’ll be doing free, professional photos for mothers and their families on Mother’s Day and on May 18th, we'll be doing Serve Columbus."
If you’d like to learn more about the East Campus or if you’d like to volunteer, please send your inquiry to
You can also follow the East Campus on Facebook or Twitter @EastVineyard.
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For some time now, our church has known we would launch a third satellite campus. The questions were when and where.
On Sunday, Sept. 23rd, 2012, these questions were answered at Berwick Alternative Elementary School.
According to East Campus Pastor, Charles Montgomery, the East Side of Columbus was chosen for a few reasons. “Pastor Rich and our Senior Pastoral Team has set a goal of planting 20 churches in the next 10 years. One of the areas emphasized was the city of Columbus, particularly inside of I-270.” Charles adds, “we also have many current members who could be served at this location. In fact, we had over 350 people at the first interest meeting.”
But starting a satellite location is more than simply moving existing members from Cooper Road to another location; it’s about growth. “The idea was not necessarily to cater to members already in the area but to leverage the critical mass of Vineyard Columbus members to reach a myriad of others in their respective spheres of influence, especially those on the east side of our city,” Charles points out.
Demographics also played a part in the selection for this campus. “The Berwick community is made up of a diverse racial and religious population, just south of Bexley,” states Charles. “It is a middle-class neighborhood that is over 50% African-American and over 40% Caucasian. There is also a strong Jewish base and a growing Latino population as well. With this in mind, there is a real chance to show the light of Christ.”
Once the East Side was selected for a campus, an appropriate building had to be located. The search team had several criteria they felt were necessary. The campus location needed to be within the city’s outer-belt, be readily accessible from the freeway, and have appropriate facilities to support childcare. After many site visits, lengthy meetings, and negotiating a lease, Berwick Alternative Elementary School was selected by the search team.
So how did the first Sunday go at the East Campus? In two words: Very well. Nearly 600 people were in attendance and the sense of anticipation was almost overwhelming. About the time worship was ending, Senior Pastor, Rich Nathan arrived to preach for the inaugural service. “You couldn’t help but be emotional in seeing the response and the diversity,” according to Charles.
An initiative such as this is clearly the result of vision,considerable prayer, and the work of many, many people. Charles was quick to highlight those who worked to see this effort to fruition. “The number of people who volunteered their time and shared the vision was incredible. It was great to have so many volunteers willing to roll up their sleeves and be a part of this.”
As I finished talking with Charles about the East Campus launch, I asked him what people had to say. His face practically lit up. “People were saying, ‘Thank you. We needed this.’” He then added one last comment, “Many people kept telling me, ‘See you next week.’” Sounds like a plan. – Trees
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