The Vineyard is a relational movement. Personally, when I found the Vineyard I had an experience like many others: I discovered, “I’m Vineyard.” I wasn’t initiated and converted into the Vineyard, rather I found out that is what I had been all along. That feeling of belonging is accentuated in a conference setting where I am able to connect in person with other Vineyard folks.
I’ve really been impacted by gathering with other Vineyard leaders. I meet new friends. I reconnected with old friends. And the Holy Spirit was present. As one of my favorite young leaders in the Vineyard, Megan Swanson, tweeted: "It's not a real Vineyard conference experience unless you get wrecked by the Holy Spirit #VineyardTLO” Wrecked I was. This past month in Anaheim, I was expecting Jesus to do a lot. As God has a tendency to do, he out did himself.
Here are a few observations from the conference from my experience:
Our Church Planters have a Vision for Multiplication
Our current church planters expressed that they are not just content with just building their church. They have vision for more. They are identifying their best leaders and discerning with them if they are called to church plant. These planters are looking at the next neighborhood, town, and their region, asking Jesus: “Where could other church plants thrive?" They have vision for multiplication. Jesus is expanding the Kingdom through the Vineyard as a church planting movement. In the 104 churches planted in the Vineyard over the last four years, they have recorded 1342 reported salvations. And these church plants are reaching different demographics as they keep planting in new communities.
We are an increasingly diverse movement
The theme of diversity was woven throughout the conference. Exegeted from the scriptures. Exclaimed in the worship. Exemplified in the speakers. Exhorted in prayer. Our world is increasingly more complex, and yet, increasingly in need of Jesus to meet people where they are. Phil Strout said it well: ""If we have $2 answers to $500 questions, then we haven't listened enough.” We are a movement that is growing in this, and we have more work to do. Social media captured a few great examples of our diverse expressions of the Kingdom.
We are hungry for more
More Holy Spirit. More diversity. More soul care. More church plants. More resources. The Vineyard as a movement is hungry for more of the Kingdom.
And the beauty is that, as Geno Olison said, "It is a good time to be in the Vineyard." We are not in a kingdom of scarcity, we serve a God of abundance. Specifically, from my seat in Multiply Vineyard, I see that there are resources, mentorship, and freedom to plant churches 101 different ways. Check out our national conference resources page for all you will need including audio recordings from our conference workshops:
- 101 ways to plant a church led by Michael Gatlin
- The Best Practices of Multiplying Your Church led by Rich Andrews
- How to Partner with Other Churches to Multiply led by Joel Seymour and Ross Nelson
We Are Honest
We have the vision to multiply. We are intentionally becoming a more diverse movement. We have more resources to support this work. And yet, in the Vineyard we are open and honest about how hard it can be to plant churches, serve cities, and fight injustice. Take a look at these stories that look at the difficulties of sending out new churches, and how God has met us in that process. I think you'll appreciate the honesty and continued risk-taking!
There was so much support being offered from ministry times to prayer in the lobbies. We are open and honest about how hard it is to bring the kingdom. This honesty and transparency is necessary for us to be used by Jesus. Here are a few stories we filmed before the conference about honestly living into the hope of the kingdom.
What is God inviting you to next?
The process of discernment and church planting can be complex. Reach out to us and we will work hard to get you what you need. The Multiply Vineyard team is here to support you with the relationship and resources for your calling. Please email me: [email protected] or call our office at 218.525.3462.