Last week, we sent a team of Vineyard pastors and leaders to the largest church planting conference in North America, Exponential in Orlando, Florida. 6,000+ people all gathered around the mission of God, leaning in to learn how to plant more churches and reach their communities with the gospel. It’s a beautiful thing to see people from all corners of the kingdom joining for that mission.
In the midst of all that, we were reminded of the Vineyard’s legacy in the last 40 years as a church planting movement and we learned a few things about our place in the bigger landscape of church planting.
- The Vineyard has something to offer in the conversation.
Amidst all the strategies to meet new planters at the conference, one of our pastors said, “We just need to get our hands on some people and pray for them.” The light bulb came on for the team. Yes! That is what we do! It is who we are and how we practice. In so many ways it is what makes us distinct—not in a prideful way, but it is our identity.
We pray for people on the spot. We work to build authentic community among leaders and we invite the Spirit to do the heavy lifting. We sometimes take this Vineyard DNA for granted.
But it is not just who we are, in so many ways it is our gift to the people of God. The first day at the conference was an overwhelming wave of human beings at all times…and you still found a way to lay hands on and pray for folks.
Most pastors and planters are yearning for support and connection. “Come Holy Spirit” was often enough. It was really amazing to watch.
- People are rooting for the Vineyard
Time and time again we heard about the Vineyard’s influence. People shared stories of John Wimber or experiences with Vineyard Worship songs that shaped their lives with God.
Our team was often asked, “Is this the Vineyard?” We said yes, and many times the response was: “I love the Vineyard!” So many people have been touched by the movement in some way shape or form. We heard from probably a dozen folks that they learned from John Wimber by watching videos of his teachings online. Many others saw him at conferences, went to Vineyard churches in college, or loads and loads of other stories.
Isn’t it encouraging to know that there are people who have been deeply touched by the movement and that they’re still out there rooting for us? Like this Article from Daniel Im, the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com.
A number of times people said, “I didn’t even know the Vineyard existed anymore.” Well, we’re still here and we’re still doing the stuff!
- The Vineyard is building strong kingdom partnerships.
Church planting is all about collaboration rather than competition. An old saying from John Wimber is: “We are just one vegetable in the stew of the kingdom.” We like who we are as the Vineyard, and we also value the way other movements, denominations, and independent churches are extending the kingdom in our cities.
We are building relationships with other movements and networks, learning how we can partner and collaborate. Why? Because in the next 30 years we want to increase planting in the USA to keep up with population growth, church closures, and rates of the religiously unaffiliated. We have a great opportunity ahead. To do this work, collaboration will be key.
Here is a resource endorsed by Michael Gatlin and numerous other leaders about how we are planting together in the 21st century from our friends at the Send Institute.
May the move of the Spirit that birthed and sustained the Vineyard for 40 years continue.
Want to connect more to the Vineyard movement?
Join Multiply Vineyard in Dayton, OH or Denver, CO this summer at the Vineyard National Conference.
Lindsay Mizell is the pastor at Vineyard Church at the Springbrook Venue in Alcoa, TN. She spent her summers running around Young Life camps and believing she could change the world. She is married to the bravest man she knows. She and her husband have 3 sons who are reminders that God is deeply and intentionally involved in their world.