A Christmas Letter from Chris and Jen

Hello friends!

It’s difficult to believe that 12 months ago, we didn’t know most of you. Toowoomba Vineyard Church was just a pipe dream, an idea with no clear plan to come into reality. At least for us! God seemed to know what he was up to.

On Sunday January 15 2023, we met in our living room as Toowoomba Vineyard Church for the first time. We read from Matthew 11, and asked whether it might be possible to create a church—together— where people really do experience the soul-nourishing rest that comes from walking in step with Jesus.

Over the coming months we met many of you for the first time. It was so clear that God was pulling together a group of people who would become the early core of Toowoomba Vineyard Church. On the first Sunday in April we decided that it was time to move out of home (so to speak). We met in the foyer of RAW Impact at 6 Laurel Street, soaked in sunshine. We quickly outgrew the space, and conveniently our friends at RAW moved next door to what has become affectionately known as the ‘metal cathedral’.

We’re incredibly grateful to Troy, Nic, and the RAW Impact crew for hosting us for the better part of a year.

One theme that surprised us this year is just how diverse a bunch we have become. It might not be obvious looking around the room, but there is an incredible diversity in theology, church experience, politics, and increasingly cultural background. We live in a world that’s becoming more divided every day. We’re proud that when we gather, we are a living, breathing counterexample to that. We’re still a little nervous that some issue might come up one day that blows it all up! But the one that unites us (that’s Jesus, to be clear) is stronger than the powers of the world that try to break us apart.

Another theme for this year was one of healing. As we’ve come to hear your stories, we have discovered that many of us arrived at TVC wounded in some way or another. Sometimes healing happens instantly (we’ve had some incredible testimonies of physical healing in the last few months!). More often it happens gradually—especially when it’s the spiritual kind. We are so grateful you have trusted us with your journey. We want to give you permission to take all the time you need to heal. Whether you’re just stopping by for a season or this is your forever-church-home, we’re glad to have you. 

However, more than anything else, we feel this has been a year of identity formation. At Christmas in 2022, TVC didn’t exist as anything more than an idea. As we have grown, and each individual has come to be a part of this new thing, a culture has developed. Though Jen and I have an important role to play in directing TVC’s culture, it’s the sum of all of us, and greater than its parts. 

Believe it or not, conventional wisdom for pastors states that you don’t become friends with your congregation. Not that you’re cold and distant. But there is a risk of being hurt when you don’t maintain a sense of separation. However, we have never been a fan of that approach. We are glad to call you all friends. and have loved watching new friendships flourish between you.

As we head into summer break, our prayer is that you would have a chance to rest, regather, and reignite your passion to see Jesus come in our city. God is writing a beautiful story through TVC. We share this letter from our own perspective, but the truth is this story belongs to all of us.

There’s so much more we could say about this year, but we’ll leave it there for now. Have a happy Christmas (however it looks for you), a wonderful New Year, and we look forward to doing 2024 with you.

HUGE love,

Chris and Jen