We moved to Manhattan, NY over 10 years ago to plant a neighborhood church with a group of people who had already been planting and living on mission throughout the city.
Over the next few years, our network expanded as more churches were planted in the NYC boroughs and we eventually grew to 11 congregations.
Then after all those years of fruitful ministry, that network of churches dissolved. Each church was released to become an independent, autonomous faith community. We were left without a larger family to be on mission with, exposed without appropriate spiritual covering, and isolated with little formal relationship to a larger body.
It was really difficult to be a part of something that was so strong and good, only to have it fall apart. With that flood of emotions and a deep conviction to never be an untethered church, we began looking for a new church family.
We’re excited to say that in early Spring of 2019, our church adopted into the Vineyard. So, out of all the incredible denominations and networks available, why did we choose to join the Vineyard?
I first learned about the Vineyard when a colleague introduced me to a series of videos from John Wimber, one of the early leaders of the Vineyard Movement, on Signs and Wonders. They were originally recorded in 1985 and once I got past the sweater vests and big hair, I was drawn to the presence of God in those meetings and to Wimber’s teaching on the Bible and the kingdom of God.
Not long after that, I met a Vineyard pastor at a conference we were hosting and we became friends. As I became more curious about the movement, I started attending Vineyard Area, Regional, and National events, meeting with Vineyard pastors and leaders, and reading everything I could get my hands on from Vineyard authors.
We knew we wanted a family more than we wanted doctrinal bureaucracy or policies. As we learned more, the Vineyard quickly rose to the top of our list of possible groups to join.
From my experience ministering in New York City, I was convinced that what was going to change our city and its people isn’t better funded churches, more impressive strategic plans, or more gifted communicators. We’ve had more than a decade of that and I’m not sure much is all that different.
What I think every New Yorker needs is to have a transcendent encounter with the person of Jesus through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
As I looked around, I saw the Vineyard’s charism, their naturally supernatural approach to the work of the Holy Spirit as a way forward in changing our city.
Along the way, we even realized that the ministry-time and prayer model we had been using in our church was influenced by the Vineyard. Many people say, you don’t find the Vineyard as much as discover that you’re Vineyard. In the end, that was certainly true for us.
If you’re interested in learning more about being a part of the Vineyard, we invite you to join virtually for the Multiply Vineyard Summit on February 4 & 5, 2021. At the Summit there will be opportunities to learn about the values and history of the Vineyard Movement and to look forward to its future of church planting. Learn more at www.mvsummit.org.
Vineyard Values and Distinctives
About the Author
Guy Wasko is a church planter and founding pastor of Sanctuary Church NYC in Lower Manhattan. He is also the founder and lead facilitator of The Claritive Group, an organization committed to creating personal strategic plans so people can uniquely live off the pages of their own story. Guy is passionate about collaboration, justice and helping people live meaningful lives.
He has earned a Masters in Theology and a Masters in Organizational Leadership from Regent University and is currently a Doctoral candidate at Capital Seminary in Strategic Leadership. For more than ten years he has lived in the East Village of Manhattan with his wife, three girls and their dog Wrigley.
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