Perhaps you’ve noticed our recent name change. The Vineyard church planting team that’s been in existence since the early 1990’s is now known as Multiply Vineyard. I like the way this name does double duty: it’s both an invitation and a challenge. It describes not only what we want to do, but also how we want to do it.
Multiplication really is the essence of the gospel of the kingdom, is it not? The gospel, the good news of the kingdom is meant to multiply. Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated this great news of God’s rule and reign to the original disciples, and bit by bit it impacted every single part of their lives until it became something they were willing to die for. Then they went out proclaiming and demonstrating God’s kingdom to more people, who brought it to more people, still. It has branched and spread from just one man to millions and millions. That’s multiplication.
So how does this apply to Vineyard church planting? I’m so glad you asked! It’s quite simple really: we desire to see healthy Vineyard churches multiply—multiply disciples, multiply leaders and eventually multiply entire church communities.
Since the very beginning the Vineyard has been known as a church planting movement. And in some people’s minds over the years, rightly or wrongly, the meaning of “church planting” has settled on one particular model, or one particular way of doing things. So for instance, church planting has sometimes been reduced to beginning a new Sunday worship service, or acquiring a particular place to meet. But while starting a new church may encompass these elements, planting a new Vineyard church is so much more than that.
A church is a community of believers who have Jesus working among them in each person’s heart. So planting a church is about bringing that kind of a community to life. The other details, like where and how to meet, are important, but they play a supporting role to the main goal of seeing more communities of believers being established.
And multiplication is the engine that drives the whole thing. Think about it like this: when I first became a follower of Jesus, back in the days of paisley printed shirts and bellbottoms, I couldn’t stop telling my family and friends about the life I had found as I connected to the living Christ. And along the way some of them began to follow Jesus as well until a small community began to form. That’s multiplication at work.
It’s so simple, anyone can do it. At the same time, there is more than enough for everyone to do—for every person who has seen and tasted the kingdom of God at work, how many haven’t had the chance to experience it yet? So we are inviting every Vineyard church, in its own way and in its own wider community, to stick to the simple business of multiplying followers and disciples of Jesus, and then to multiply leaders, and then to multiply churches. Multiply Vineyard!