The Story of Vintage Faith Church

An extensive 2003 study of churches in Santa Cruz County revealed some staggering  figures—90% of people in the community were not part of a local church. When it came to college students and high school students, that percentage increased to 96%!

Despite the presence of many thriving churches in the county, the lack of impact most of them were having on younger generations was alarming. It was this startling reality that moved us to start a new missional church that could bring about much needed change. Our excitement grew as we envisioned the incredible influence a church designed uniquely to reach and disciple the next generation of youth, college, and young families could have in Santa Cruz.

Vintage Faith Church is designed to specifically connect with the emerging culture in Santa Cruz County. We have distinct values and a unique style and philosophy of ministry that we hope would connect with those who would normally never consider Christianity or ever want to be part of a church community. We desire to go back to the "vintage" values that Jesus spoke about, rather than being trapped by what has often become known as stagnant "organized" religion.

Here’s how it all happened…

In the beginning...

In the 1990’s, Dan Kimball was the youth pastor at Santa Cruz Bible Church. With a team of volunteers, Dan helped to develop a high school ministry that grew to several hundred high school students meeting weekly. Dan and a team then designed and launched a ministry called “Graceland" for college-age and young adults, which grew to 800-1,000 each week. God blessed these ministries, which were designed to strategically engage the youth and college culture in terms of values and approaches to leadership, worship and the arts. The missional philosophies of these two ministries were the launching points to eventually starting a new church. 


A new church is born

Because of the desire to see future generations reached, Santa Cruz Bible Church commissioned Dan and a core team, to plant a new church. In 2004, Vintage Faith Church launched. We chose the name "Vintage Faith Church" as we wanted to reflect the "vintage" values of the early church and teachings of  Jesus.

For the first year and a half, we met on the campus at Santa Cruz Bible Church on Sunday nights. As the church grew, we realized that we needed an additional Sunday morning worship gathering especially for families with children. We also began to realize our desire to be on the west side of Santa Cruz as close to downtown and UCSC (University of California Santa Cruz) as possible. We wanted to find a space to launch a coffeehouse/music venue/art gallery that would also be part of the life of the church and open to the public (this dream would eventually become The Abbey Coffee, Art & Music Lounge, which opened in 2008).


The move to Mission Street

While scouting out downtown locations for a coffee/music/art venue and approaching churches located on the west side for office space and additional worship gatherings, we began a conversation with First Presbyterian Church, whose building is situated at one of the busiest intersections in town. First Presbyterian Church was a church started in 1889 and from it’s beginning had a very missional focus. We discovered that First Presbyterian Church was already very familiar with us and Lee Purkey, the pastor of First Presbyterian, and most of their leadership had even attended our worship gatherings.

Vintage Faith Church relocated over to the First Presbyterian Church building and began meeting there in 2006. It was soon felt that the two churches has such a common heart for God and mission that they joined up together and became one church in 2008.


The Mission Continues

It has been a wonderful adventure so far, and in some ways, it feels like we are just beginning. We will continue to focus on seeing the next generation experience the grace, love and joy of knowing Jesus. Yet at the same time, to accomplish this mission, it involves older generations mentoring and passing the faith down to the younger. We also value having so many young families as part of our church, allowing us to be multi-generational church with a heart for Santa Cruz.

For more info about our gatherings, click here