Middle Creek Vineyard Church: Taking a leap of faithSometimes, getting where you’re supposed to be takes a leap of faith. John and Paige Guist know that. Two years ago they were comfortable.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Sometimes, getting where you’re supposed to be takes a leap of faith.
John and Paige Guist know that. Two years ago they were comfortable. John was a pastor at a church in Burnsville and Paige taught at a school in that city. But the couple also had a community in Farmington, where they have lived since 2000, that they wanted to serve. Doing that, and sometimes even meeting the neighbors, was not always easy when so much of their life took place in a different city.
Then the senior pastor at Guist’s church, South Metro Vineyard, approached him about starting a new church. He said it was what John was “supposed to do.”
It wasn’t an easy decision to make. John had a steady income. They knew the people they saw at church every day. And they knew starting a new church would mean a lot of long hours with no guarantee of success. The more they thought about it, though, the more they liked the idea.
“We had this increasing sense the more time we moved in the community,” Paige Guist said. “This is a place we wanted to see a Vineyard grow.”
John officially wrapped up his work at the Burnsville church in August of 2007 and the couple went to work building what has come to be called Middle Creek Vineyard Church.
John, who’s been a pastor since 1995 and worked as a youth minister before that, said he saw a need for another church in Farmington. Even if everybody in Farmington attends a church in town, he said, that’s still a couple of thousand members at each church. And he believes Middle Creek Vineyard offers something other churches don’t.
“It’s not like we’re apples and oranges, but maybe you’re braeburn and they’re macintosh,” he said.
Starting the new church was difficult even before it officially began. Just getting approval required filling out an extensive application and going through an eight-hour interview process.
Once they had approval, the couple had to find people. With only a limited ability to recruit from their former church they had to find ways to reach out to the community. So John and Paige wrapped gifts at the Farmington American Legion and did whatever else they could think of to get out into the community and meet people.
“It’s people getting to know who we are and what our vision for our church will be,” Paige said. “We get to tell our story.”
That story has appealed to at least a small handful of people so far. When Middle Creek Vineyard started holding Sunday services in October seven people gathered on the porch of the couple’s home. Three children met in the family’s basement. They talked and sang and prayed.
In the months since the congregation has grown to 11 adults and six children, ages 2 to 10.
John and Paige, who share duties as lead pastors, have visions of the church growing even more. The couple had planned to move services to the American Legion, but when breakfasts became popular there that became impossible. They’ve avoided renting space at one of Farmington’s schools, they said, because they want a home where they know they can stay put for a while.
“We know this is supposed to be bigger than a houseful of people,” John Guist said. “We want to make a difference in this town.”
In the meantime, the church is making the best of what it has. There are still times John and Paige wonder what they’ve gotten themselves into — when Paige lost her job at that Burnsville school to budget cuts, for example — but things have always worked out. Paige found a job working part time at Farmington Middle School East. John works part time as an office manager for an IT company. And in their spare time they continue to build their church. They plan to get out in the community as much as they can, washing windows or cleaning toilets or handing out cans of pop — ways to show people they care, they say. They’ve also gotten involved in Farmington’s Warrior to Citizen program, an effort to ease the transition home for soldiers returning from service overseas.
John and Paige are building relationships and they’re serving the community where they live and they’re loving every minute of it.
John points out that about half of all church plants fail. He’s OK with that, but he’s going to do everything he can to make sure it doesn’t happen to him.
“It’s OK to fail, but it’s not OK not to try,” he said. “If you do your best, even if your best is lame, at least you tried.”