Greenhouse

Beginning in 2015, the pastors and shepherds sought the Lord to reveal to us the unique purpose of Life on the Vine.  Through months of prayer, conversations, reading Scripture, reflection, and interviewing members, the image God gave us was of a greenhouse.  As we pressed further into the metaphor, we identified four “seasons” or movements of a greenhouse:  Receive, Root, Grow, and Gift.

  • Receive.  We are received by God into this community.  Members receive visitors with grace and hospitality as if each person was Christ visiting us. 
  • Root.  We let our roots go deep in the soil of liturgy, prayer, and community. 
  • Grow.  We change and grow as we respond to God’s work in our lives.
  • Gift.  Each of us has been entrusted with a ministry, listening and responding to a God who is already at work in every person, every place. 

@9

We gather at 9:00 a.m. to learn and pray together.  Sometimes we have classes where the Bible is studied and taught.  Other types of classes that meet @9 are: 
   
The Pathways Series are a collection of 3-4 week-long classes, focusing on a prayer practice such as Examen, Lectio Divina, Immanuel Journaling, Discernment, and Set Hour Prayer or Book of Common Prayer.
 
The Apprentice Class is for students ages 9-12 and meets for six weeks in the fall and six weeks in the spring.  This class is a three-year cycle covering basic theology (what is God like?), the Sermon on the Mount (what did Jesus teach?), community life (how do I participate with the people of God?), spiritual formation practices, and a year learning the overarching Story of Scripture.

Our Beliefs & Affiliations

Life on the Vine belongs to the Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA) denomination. Founded in 1887, some of the C&MA’s distinctives are leading people into a deeper life with God, the work of the Spirit to bring healing and holiness, and participating in the mission of God near and far.  See C&MA doctrinal statement.


Life on the Vine also belongs to the Ecclesia Network.  Ecclesia is a relational network of churches, leaders and movements that seek to equip, partner and multiply missional churches and movements.

The LOV Story


  • Planting:  2001-2002

    In 2001, the Christian and Missionary Alliance called David and Rae Ann Fitch to plant a church in Long Grove, IL (a northwest suburb of Chicago). A small band of people from all over joined together to form Life on the Vine—a name drawn from John 17 (“I am the true vine and you are the branches) and Phillip Kenneson’s book by the same name.


    Life on the Vine was planted with a vision of gathering a community that would abide in Christ and bear the fruit of the Spirit in a post-Christian culture.  In an isolated, consumer-driven, and individualistic setting, we longed to be a church gathered in God’s presence, living with one another for God’s mission in the world.


    Along with other early leaders like Stu and Laurel Heiss (from the Rez Band) and Tim White, the distinctive Life on the Vine Sunday morning worship service took shape.


  • Growth:  2003-2005

    Life on the Vine began growing, drawing families from the surrounding neighborhoods and college and seminary students from Trinity International University. Many were ready to engage with the liturgy drawn from church history, practiced in a family-like setting.


    Geoff Holsclaw was called as worship leader upon graduating from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in May of 2003, and later was affirmed as a co-pastor along with David Fitch. The Holsclaws moved into the parsonage in June of 2003 (the same week their first child was born).


    During this time David Fitch also worked on The Great Giveaway: Reclaiming the Mission of the Church, published in 2005. In many ways the book explained why David planted Life on the Vine.


  • Maturing Discernments:  2006-2009

    In 2006, seeing the need for wider diversity of gifts on the pastoral team to continue building up the church, Life on the Vine added Matt Tebbe to the co-pastoring team to offer the gift of his pastoral and teaching gifts, complementing David and Geoff’s more apostolic and prophetic gifts.  


    During this time, we also invited the congregation to embark on a year-long discernment about if and how women and men can serve equally as pastors.  Pastors and lay members gathered for regular study of scripture and times of corporate reflection and discernment. Through this process, we affirmed together the equality of women and men to minister alongside each other.


    As our congregation that began as many single people began to transition into a congregation that included many young children, Cyd Holsclaw, along with Jeff and Kristin Andrews, began to experiment with ways of bringing up our kids in the same rhythms of worship and discipleship we had learned over the past years. We began to use the models of Young Children and Worship and Godly Play in our children’s ministry, training our congregation in how to be “present” to Christ’s presence as we spent time hearing God’s stories responding in play and wonder.


  • Planting New Churches and Transitions:  2010-2011

    Beginning in 2009, several people felt God leading them to mission beyond Life on the Vine.  Two church-planting teams developed from within our congregation. After spending time in community, dreaming together, and praying for guidance, two churches were planted from Life on the Vine in 2010, in partnership with the C&MA—one in Westmont, IL and the other in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.


    At this time, Matt Tebbe was also led to bring the missional DNA of Life on the Vine to another church in Indiana. Our congregation blessed and said farewell to many of our Vine family members in a short period of time!


    In 2011, after a period of seeking God’s will and paying attention to the gifts among us, we called Cyd Holsclaw and Ty Grigg to the co-pastoring team (joining David and Geoff). Both brought unique pastoral and equipping gifts to the pastoral team.


  • Reorientations:  2012-2014

    Within these leadership and congregational changes—we sent a quarter of our church out to church plants and sent out one of our pastors!—Life on the Vine entered a needed time of rest and rejuvenation. (We say we were in an “ecclesial postpartum” after giving birth to two churches in one year!)  We approached this season as if we were also a church plant, gathering and forming ourselves as a community again.   


    More transitions came during this time as well. After 13 years of ministry with us, in 2013 David and RaeAnn Fitch moved to Westmont to minister at our church plant there. In 2014, Cyd also stepped off the pastoral team to devote herself more fully to homeschooling her kids.  


  • Greenhouse of God's Presence:  2015-Present

    After another period of seeking God’s will and paying attention to the gifts among us, Juliet Liu joined Ty and Geoff on the pastoral team at the beginning of 2015.


    That same year, we began a 12-month process to discern how God was leading us in this next season of life.  The pastors, shepherds, and congregation engaged in various listening practices to reflect on what God had done in and through us as a church so far. Expressing gratitude for the past and all we had learned about being a people gathered in God’s Presence, living together in fellowship for God’s mission in the world, we also voiced hopes for the future.  


    At the end of this time we felt clarity and consolation in the image of a greenhouse.  


    We believe Jesus is growing gardens of resurrection life, and that one day, that garden will fill the world. Here at Life on the Vine, we long to be a “greenhouse of God’s Presence”—a place where His presence is known and experienced, bringing life and healing. In this greenhouse, we learn to be “received, rooted, grown, and gifted” for the sake of God’s mission.


    In 2016, we began gathering small discipleship groups called Grow Labs where we learned together how to cooperate with the Spirit as He cultivates Christ’s resurrection life in our lives.