Toowoomba Vineyard Initiative

In May 2022 Northridge farewelled our Evening Community Pastors, Chris and Jen Gresham-Britt, who are moving to Toowoomba to plant a new Vineyard Church. We are sad to see them go but excited to release them to build this new church, see our Vineyard movement grow, and invest in this initiative for the kingdom.

We asked them a few questions about their journey so that you can learn more about this new initiative in Toowoomba.

Jump to a question:


Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Of course! We’ve been a part of Northridge for 17 (Chris) and 15 (Jen) years, and leading the Evening Community together for the last six and a half. We’re passionate about food, community, our Vineyard movement, and seeing God’s Kingdom come in our nation. Aside from a short stint in the USA for Chris, we’ve both lived in Sydney all our lives. In addition to being pastors, we are both bi-vocational — Jen works for a charity (RAW Impact), and Chris is a web and graphic designer. We’ve been married 8 years and have a 2-year-old son, David, who we think is pretty great.

What is a church plant and why would you move 10 hours north to start one?

There’s a great quote from C Peter Wagner, an important early voice in the Vineyard movement. He said: ‘The single most effective evangelistic methodology under heaven is planting new churches.’

Church planting is, quite simply, the process of starting new churches. It’s a high priority in the Vineyard church, because we believe it’s an extremely powerful way of fulfilling the mission of the church — to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). Extensive research shows that new churches are highly effective at introducing people to Jesus, growing them into effective leaders in the Kingdom, and even invigorating existing churches in the area. It’s hard work, but a win-win for everyone involved.

What’s Toowoomba like? Why did you choose Toowoomba?

Toowoomba is a regional centre about an hour and a half West of Brisbane. It’s a beautiful city perched on top of a mountain, with epic vistas, and lots of green space (it’s often referred to as ‘The Garden City’). It has about 130,000 people (around the same number as live in Ku-ring-gai), with the main industries being healthcare and education.

The ‘why Toowoomba’ part is a bit of a long story, but in short, we have some friends who live there and have been telling us for years the city needs a church like the Vineyard. It’s home to lots of well established and wonderful churches already, but as a rapidly growing centre, from our research, it seems that the Vineyard would find a perfect niche there.

During 2021 we strongly felt that God was beginning to lead us into a new adventure, and after lots of prayer and discernment we decided to move our family up to Toowoomba to start a new church. When we finally had the chance to visit in early 2022 (thanks, border restrictions) we quickly fell in love with the place!

…and for those who are concerned, there’s lots of good coffee! 

In concrete terms, what’s the plan? How do you go about forming a new church?

For the first few months we are going to concentrate on getting to know the town. We’ll spend lots of time meeting people, connect with other local churches, and find out what the most critical needs are. From there we will begin to intentionally gather a small core group who will form the beginning of Toowoomba Vineyard Church.

Our desire is to begin some form of public meeting towards the end of the year. This might mean meeting in our home, or in a small rented space if numbers and finances allow. From there we will focus on doing the things Jesus did as we seek to love the city.

What kind of church do you envision in Toowoomba?

We haven’t made a lot of decisions on things like our model or meeting format. This is intentional — we want to get to know Toowoomba first, and make decisions that allow us to best serve the neighbourhood.

What we do know is that we want to carry the same DNA we have experienced at Northridge, which is characteristic of the Vineyard movement. We want to plant a church where everyone is welcome, and everyone gets to play. Where we hold a high value of scripture, but never stop pursuing the presence of God. Where people can come to find healing though the love of Jesus, and the embrace of community. And ultimately, to be a thriving church that plants thriving churches.

How can we support you?

If you made it this far down… thank you! It might feel token, but we would LOVE you to pray for us, regularly. Though the scriptures we see God respond when His people pray… so please, do commit to pray for us regularly!

If you’d like to give financially to Toowoomba Vineyard Church, you can give to the following bank account:

Bank: Westpac
Account name: Toowoomba Vineyard Giving
Account Number: 301171
BSB: 032-089

If you’d like to stay up to date with how things are going, you can join our little WhatsApp crew:

https://chat.whatsapp.com/DxPaMg39Rku9tLqx23NyDP 

And finally, if you’d like to reach out to us (please feel free!), you can email us both with one address:

[email protected]