Our History

Our History

Church Plant in Northridge

In 1957, Jonas & Mary Classen moved to Springfield to plant a church in the Northridge area. They were sent out from Bethel Mennonite Church in West Liberty, Ohio. In 1961, the Classens were joined in the church planting effort by Leon & Glenda Mast and Glenda’s parents, Ernie & Mabel Frey, both couples from Archbold, Ohio. These three couples shared a common vision to see a new church planted in this suburb of north Springfield. The church was originally called Northridge Christian Fellowship.

“Our purpose is to establish a Christian Fellowship (Biblical and Christ-centered) where families and individuals may come for worship, fellowship, and service . . . to have a growing church reaching the unchurched of this community.”

First Worship Service

The first worship service was held on March 18, 1962 in the Frey’s living room. The three couples and their children met in the Frey’s home until January of 1963 at which point they relocated the fellowship to Northridge School. The church met at the school until the first phase of our present facility was completed in July of 1968.


In 1977 the second phase of the building (the office wing) was added. Then in 1991 a third phase was completed which included a new sanctuary, classrooms, and an unfinished basement. A youth room, café/fellowship area, and kitchen were added when the basement was finished in 2004.

The staff of the church also grew over time. Early pastors included Dale Helmuth (1965-1966), Joe Kauffman (1966-1968), and Richard Davis (1968-1972). The first full-time Pastor, Wally Fahrer, was hired in 1972 and was succeeded by John Miller (1978-1982) and later Phil Shenk (1982-1995). In 1988 Neil Haney joined Phil Shenk as full-time Associate Pastor, and then became Senior Pastor in 1996. For more information about our current staff see the Staff page.

From Mennonite to Vineyard

In 2000 the congregation voted to dissolve its loose connection with the Mennonite Church and began a search process to find a new affiliation. In the fall of 2002, we became a part of the Association of Vineyard Churches and changed our name to Vineyard Church of Northridge.