In January 1996, a house group Bible study in Hyde Park formed out of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Evanston. This house group was mainly comprised of college students from the University of Chicago. Through answered prayer, Rand Tucker (founding and current senior pastor) met this group and joined the house group in October 1996. God made it clear to all that a new Vineyard church should be started in Hyde Park.
After a long season of prayer and planning, the first Sneak Preview Service of the Hyde Park Vineyard Church was held on October 5, 1997. God’s blessing was present and the timing seemed right, so the group hosted its first Sunday Morning Gathering on January 11, 1998. Eighty-five people crowded into a small room at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club. Although some of those present were just there for moral support, the church had a strong base of 65 people who stayed with the church.
From the very beginning of the church, however, the emphasis of the Hyde Park Vineyard Church has not been on the number of people who attend its programs; rather, we see ourselves as a missional community set apart for God’s purposes. We believe that “God’s mission through the Hyde Park Vineyard is to produce world changers and world changing churches who are 100% devoted to Jesus and each other and others in the world.” Almost all of those who helped start the church have moved to new cities, started new careers, and joined new churches, but the fruitfulness of God’s ministry through this church continues to multiply through both the lives of our alumni and our current members.