Welcome to Exeter Vineyard Church
We’re a friendly church based in the lovely city of Exeter in Devon.
We think of church as a family, so it isn't something you ‘do’ or ‘attend’ – it’s who we are at all times. This means our highest priority is to create a loving, supportive and fun church-family with God at the centre, and that we, at all times, are looking to be people who bring God’s kingdom to the world around us.
The Coronavirus ‘New Normal’
Like all of society, we’ve been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve ceased all of our normal public meetings and have been doing most of activities online. We have been running occasional, Covid-secure, meetings and activities for our under 18s.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Exeter Vineyard, the best place to check us out is our online services, found here on our YouTube channel. Every Sunday we release a weekly online service on YouTube or at 10:30 on https://evc.online.church
We are using this disruption as an opportunity to adjust our practices to better suit our purpose. You can read about our purpose below, but we believe the most effective way to go about this (and a way that we see modelled in the Bible) is to have our weekly church connection in smaller communities, not the traditional large Sunday morning gathering.
This is something God has been talking to us about for a number of years and we are excited about this next step. The video above gives a 10-minute summary and you can also read about these plans here.
God’s plan for the church isn’t a club for Christians. He started the church as the way he wants to make the world a better place. We see church as a place to bring transformation and make a difference in people’s lives, whether this is practically or spiritually, but usually, both.
This process of experiencing this difference, and being the sort of person who God uses to bring it to others, is what the Bible calls discipleship. We think of it in four elements - four ways we constantly are being transformed into living a Jesus-sized life.
We want to help people discover, develop and enjoy a connection with God; something that we’re made for and is an essential element of being human. This is true whether you’ve been around church for ages or you’re still exploring what you believe.
At Exeter Vineyard we centre everything we do around God; in prayer, acts of worship and the Bible, not just to repeat tradition, but to help us develop our relationship with God.
The Bible says God thought of each of us even before he created the universe. His saw us as a perfect version of ourselves, but one that now is lost under all the mess in our lives and our broken world. However, God wants to work in and with us to help us become the person we were created to be.
We see this happening as God helps us understand we are loved and significant, and we discover the purpose for our lives.
God has given each of us unique skills, talents, personalities, opportunities and resources. These gifts are meant to be used for God’s kingdom and we want to help people learn how we each use our distinctive gifts.
At Exeter Vineyard we want to encourage uniqueness and initiative, rather than expecting people to fit into a ‘cookie-cutter’ culture. Hubs are a great place to experiment and innovate, according to people’s interests, passions and giftings.
Church is not a club for Christians. We want to make the world a better place and believe we do this by planting Kingdom-seeds in the people and situations around us; friends, family, neighbours, colleagues. The Bible says we’re God's best instrument to bring his light to the world around us.
At Exeter Vineyard we believe that as we connect with God, grow towards the person he created us to be, learn how to use our gifts… this all means we are able to make a difference to the people and situations around us.
What We Do
Like family, church is defined by relationships and relationships take time. This means we highly value regular opportunities to spend time with each other, to hang out alongside opportunities to focus on God.
Before Coronavirus we had started thinking about being the church when we are ‘gathered’ and when we are ‘scattered’. Gathering as a whole church family is really important to us, and we look forward to be able to do it again.
When we get together, whether in a large or small group, we want to embody our values. We want to take God serious, but not take ourselves too seriously. We love to have fun, encourage one another and learn about living a Jesus-sized life.
We are starting to organise our church family into smaller communities, which we call Hubs. These are environments designed to encourage whole-life discipleship.
Our plan is to increasingly see our church connection being in these groups. Think of them as mini-churches within Exeter Vineyard, where meetings happen in an informal environment. It is church done over food, whether around the kitchen table or balanced on your knee in the living room.
You can read about Hubs here. At the moment these communities are having to meet virtually.
Whole Church Meetings
When we are able to meet as a whole church we want to do those things that really benefit from all being together, such as corporate worship, hanging out, celebrations, sharing stories and vision casting.
We release a weekly online service. This goes out on Sunday morning and has an activity to help us focus our worship on God. There is a brief update of church news and someone does a short talk based on the Bible. This is on our YouTube channel and on our online church platform.
We also release a shorter video and podcast of the news and talk, so people can use this and choose their own way to worship God. You can access these through the Podcast section of the website or on Spotify or Apple podcasts.
Children are fully part of our church family and we really want them to enjoy their time as they learn about God. We organise activities for children of all ages, but currently they are somewhat ad hoc due to changing Covid-regulations. Please get in touch if you would like to learn about what is going on.
We don't have formal membership in Exeter Vineyard, but it's really important to connect to the church family. One way we do this is through a church database software called ChurchSuite. It holds contact details and we use it for communication and organising teams, activities and Hubs.
If you're part of our church family, you can add your details to ChurchSuite here. If you want to log into ChurchSuite to check and update your details you can do this here.
Dave & Sarah
Dave & Sarah lead the team at Exeter Vineyard. They met while studying art in Exeter and have been involved in Exeter Vineyard since it started. They took on the role of senior leaders in 1995 in some sort of divine hijacking of their own plans! They have two children. Dave is a Spurs fan and loves kebabs. Sarah is very artistic and enjoys peace and quiet.
Alan is our Assistant Pastor with a focus on our gathered activities and online service. Alan also works as a head teacher of a local secondary school. He is married to Jane and they have two grown up boys. Alan is a fan of F1 and definitely drinks too much tea.
Adam is our Assistant Pastor with a focus on Hubs. He also oversees our under-18 activities. He works for us one day a week and spends the rest of his week as a Marine Biology researcher. His speciality is micro-plastics and their effect on the environment (spoiler: it’s bad). He has a Phd, so technically he’s a doctor, but don’t show him any suspicious rashes or expect help if you’re choking. He is married to Hannah and they have two cats.
Rachel is our Operations Manager. She works 2 days a week, making sure everything works smoothly behind the scenes. She is married to Alex and they have two teenage boys and one overexcited dog. Rachel is the master at getting the coolest clothes in charity shops.