Our overall focus has been on helping our local Vineyard churches to…well…multiply. I know, crazy right? Seriously, that’s what we (and what I’m) all about, helping Vineyard churches to multiply. We think that the very nature of the gospel at its core is about multiplication—continually inviting others to experience the presence of the kingdom of God. The original disciples were told to share their stories of transformation, their stories of being with the resurrected Christ (Acts 1.8). And the result was that the church, the body of Christ grew and multiplied throughout the early Roman Empire and throughout the the world over the past couple of thousand years. Here’s a spot to read about the vision and begin to explore how you might participate and I’ll give you some stats at the end of this post…so stay tuned.
We’ve been working diligently over the past four years developing processes, resources and relationships to encourage and support and spur on our wonderful local Vineyard churches towards multiplication. Over the course of 2012, I personally traveled to every region, mostly with my trusty motorcycle, met lots of great Vineyard leaders, listened to lots of concerns and talked about this over and over. During that year one of the things I was impressed by was this: every single village or town or neighborhood or city in our country would be better off with a healthy Vineyard church in its midst. Every single one. There were several times while I was riding and praying and asking God about how we might better participate with him that I broke down and cried about it. It was a good thing I had my helmet on, or folks might not have thought me the tough biker that I may or may not be. Over the past (almost) four years we’ve planter 96 new Vineyard churches together. For a movement our size, that’s quite an accomplishment. We’ve done well. But we’re still in the early stages of learning to multiply our churches. And I look forward to the day when its difficult to keep track of all the Holy Spirit inspired multiplication that going on around the country. There are several things we’ve developed over the past four years to help our churches to help grow and sustain this kind of multiplication
- We developed, tested and refined a process for becoming a Vineyard church with a strong element of community discernment for new planters. There are four parts to this process and all together it creates just the right amount of structure we need: First, gett to know the Vineyard (our values and distinctives); Second, let the Vineyard get to know you (our discernment process); Third, get some specific training; And fourth, get connected to our larger movement. There overarching parts of our process have been extremely helpful for many as they’ve processed the call of God on their lives. Here’s a link with more information.
- We have a great team of coaches who are ready to provide up to two-years of solid and extremely helpful coaching for every Vineyard planter, and it free for the planters! This has been amazingly helpful as planters have been able to count on monthly appointments with a well-trained and professional-quality coach, whose purpose is to help, to draw out what the Holy Spirit is saying to the planter. Imagine having a Barnabas-type person you knew was invested in your healh and well-being? It’s a pretty sweet deal.
- We’ve reestablished regional representatives in each of our sixteen regions around the country. These are experienced Vineyard pastors in every local area who are available to
help both the planter and the sending church answer questions and negotiate the processes of reproducing our churches and provide mentoring. Sometimes you just need another set of eyes on the situation to see things from a different perspective. And these men and women can certainly help. Here’s a link to help you meet your rep.
- We have an ever growing group of Multiply Vineyard specialists—folks who are experienced and dare I say, experts, in specific areas of church multiplication. We’ve currently
covered the areas of coaching, training, developing a multisite strategy, addressing justice related issues, beginning new La Viña churches and ministries, and working on smaller, rural communities. And this group of specialists will continue to grow!
- We’ve developed some great training resources that each local church or group of churches can begin to implement as they train leaders and pastors for new churches. These resources range from the plug-n-play type to the heavily pastor-involved year long residency program offered through Vineyard Institute. It’s vitality important that we train our pastors well, and we’ve got some options here. Here’s where you can learn about all the options we’ve put together.
- And we’ve assembled a great administrative team to help our church planters through this new process. Our goal has been to provide the best service possible to everyone we get the privilege of working with. We sure hope we get to work with you in the near future. This team has built a very useful database and a communication strategy and so much more behind the scenes infrastructure we badly needed. If you like to meet them, click here.
There is obviously much more, but this give you an idea of what we’ve been up to! We are continuing to work on many more ideas and resources for our movement, and we’d love for you to be involved. Where you have a great idea or see a need for improvement, please don’t hesitate to let us know
Here are some of the stats since January 2013
- 96 new Vineyard churches planted
- 9 more could be released and official by the end of the year
- We are currently working with 165 potential church planters
- 14 of these are new plants La Viña churches
- additionally 10 new La Viña ministries
- For an overall total of 48 La Viña churches and ministries throughout the country
- 25 new multisites (that we know of!)
- There are 30 churches using a multisite model with 49 campuses for a total of 79 congregations
- 97 students have entered into the Residency+ program
- with 18 churches participating
- and another 5-6 have started their own church planting training programs!