History of Cobb Vineyard
Our story is the blend of the personal pilgrimage of Thomas and Lori combined with the emergence of a new movement of churches called “the Vineyard.”
Thomas and Lori
Although born in Nashville, Thomas was raised in Cobb County from the age of 9. The son of hardworking southern Baptist parents, Thomas’ first love growing up was sports and his dream of playing professional baseball. Surrendering to Christ at the age of 17, Thomas found that God had other plans in mind!
After an “equal opportunity” undergraduate degree (he attended Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Kennesaw State, and the University of Georgia), Thomas received his Masters degree in Christian Education/Theology from the Church of God School of Theology in Cleveland, Tennessee. From the very early days, God planted in His heart the desire to plant a church in the southeast.
While serving as Youth Pastor, Thomas met Lori, an Auburn grad with a Catholic upbringing, and they were soon married.
Soon after their marriage, this new family went as Associate Pastors to another church where they served for 18 months. Obviously not a good match, Thomas and Lori decided to step back and see what God would do. In the mean time, they needed an income so Thomas was hired by Delta Air Lines to program computers.
During the “Jesus Movement” days (1970 – 1975), God orchestrated a small movement of independent churches to come together to form a symphony. These churches possessed a common vision to create a new kind of church.
These young people (mostly in their early 20’s) wanted to create a relevant church to reach their generation of post WW II Baby Boomers. They dreams of a church that was contemporary and genuine – a church that played their kind of music, where you could be yourself, dress casually, while at the same time having profound, life changing experiences with God.
In this environment the Vineyard was born. The leader these starry-eyed post teens looked to for direction was John Wimber.
John was from the previous generation. He was not a degreed theologian nor even fromChristian heritage. Rather he was a converted musician whose income was gleaned from promoting several rock & roll bands of his day!
Yet because of his brilliant thinking, unswerving loyalty to Jesus and the Bible, and sensitivity to culture, John quickly emerged as the leader of these new churches called the Vineyard.
Originally Vineyards met in homes, remodeled garages, rented gymnasiums, in schools or at the beaches of Southern California. Regardless of the location, the format was the same. These young people came together to worship God with contemporary music, to receive relevant teaching from God’s word, and to experience His touch through personal ministry.
That process has never grown outdated. John’s clear thinking lead to the formation of Vineyard “values” and “priorities” and soon gave rise to the rapidly growing movement of churches know as the “Association of Vineyard Churches.”
Covenant Life Church
Cobb Vineyard’s history dates back to the early 1990’s and a Bible Study that met in the home of Thomas and Lori. Meeting once a month, we enjoyed a dinner, worship,teaching and ministry together. In a few short months, it was obvious that God was doing something much greater than any of us had expected. At the last monthly gathering, they had 40 adults and 50 kids in their little house!
After a meeting of the leadership of our fledgling group, we started meeting on Sunday mornings in February 1991 with 16 adults and 12 children. We named ourselves “Metro Atlanta Covenant Life Church.” Our aim was to live authentic Christianity in the context of a community of believers.
Meet the Vineyard
From the very beginning, there was a quiet understanding that God had put us together and called us to be a piece of the puzzle in the Body of Christ. We checked into various outstanding organizations to affiliate with, but none of them seemed to fit whom God had created us to be.
In 1992 and 1993, we became familiar with the Association of Vineyard Churches led by John Wimber. First through Metro Vineyard Fellowship in Kansas City and then through building relationship with Johnny Crist at the Atlanta Vineyard, we knew we had found our home. The Vineyard was who we had been all along – we just had not had the name.
On August 1, 1993, we officially adopted into the Association of Vineyard Churches and became known as Cobb Vineyard Church. Since that time we have moved meeting locations three times and, in the spring of 2000, moved into our permanent facility in Kennesaw.
Since that time we have experienced the grace of God in making a difference in our community. Our desire is to see God’s Kingdom expanded, not just Christians changing churches! We want to see
people drawn to God, healed, and equipped to fulfill God’s purpose in our generation.