Vineyard USA Leadership Transition: Comments on Phil Strout’s Recent Update

Phil Strout, the new Vineyard USA National Director Elect, posted an updated on the leadership transition on his blog this morning. At a little over nine minutes, it is a fairly short video – so I would recommend wandering over there and watching it.

In the meantime here are some of my thoughts about the what Phil said:

First off, I just realized that the full leadership transition is going to take a full 12 months instead of the six or nine that I originally thought. This means that both Phil and Bert Waggoner will be working together throughout 2012 (it is the here and not yet of national leadership!!) 😛

Secondly, in the video Phil talked a bit about focusing the actions and personnel of the Vineyard instead of chasing too many ministries… the example he told was of an eagle who tried to catch two rabbits at the same time. In the end, the eagle was left hungry as its attention was divided.

While I can understand the point Phil is trying to make…I also have concerns about what that looks like.

One of the jewels of the Vineyard is that we have tried to be a center-set movement welcoming anyone who is chasing King Jesus. This means that we have a wide range of people with different church backgrounds, theological viewpoints, culture worldviews, passions, etc. There is no ‘in’ or ‘out’ boundary so much as we try to operate as a family help each other follow Jesus (emphasis on the ‘try’ as this is a hard tension to live in).

As such, my concern with Phil’s comments on focusing is that I hope it does not lead to an ‘in’ or ‘out’ mentality in which churches or individuals are judged based upon the way they look, the ministries they have or whatever boundary marker is chosen.

Granted, a refocusing does not HAVE to lead to a bounded set as it could mean a focus on King Jesus or perhaps the core values of the Vineyard (which tend to operate as more of a center target we are shoot for than a boundary line).

Unfortunately, I do not know Phil personally so it is hard to determine the heart behind his comments (I did meet him while at the Asia Summit and was VERY impressed by his heart for Jesus, style on waiting/allowing the Holy Spirit to move, and international worldview). What do you guys think about his comments? Do you have the same concerns or am I way off base?

The third item Phil mentions in the video was his heart for children and youth. To me was awesome news as I definitely think we need to give some attention to raising up sons and daughters who have a strong committed to King Jesus.

Too often the church in general has ignored the children in favor of the more sexy, limelight ministries to adults. It is almost as if the children have to wait to grow up before they can join in with what the church is doing – which very, very sad as I think we adult could learn a lot from watching our children follow Jesus (that and typically the children who have to ‘wait’ leave the church as they have no connection to it).

Sigh…as I write this, I am all too aware of the demographic of my church and the lack of structural support for our children’s ministry. My heart breaks every time I see the children meeting outside in the hallway due to the lack of a proper class room… May the Lord help us navigate these issues and help us to love and include our children in every area of our lives. 😕

Lastly, I wanted to point you all to a Christmas Greeting from both Phil and Bert.

In addition to wishing everyone ‘Merry Christmas’, they briefly touch on the regional changes happening this Spring – namely, the number of regions are going to double from eight to sixteen. In mid-January all the pastors will be notified about the size and shape of the regions and asked to nominate a regional overseer. From there the National  Board will meet in February with the goal of letting everyone know what has been decided in March.

As you can tell, there is a lot happening in the Vineyard… May each of you being praying for Phil, Bert and the National Board as they seek the guidance of the Lord throughout all these changes.


2 thoughts on “Vineyard USA Leadership Transition: Comments on Phil Strout’s Recent Update”

  1. thanks for sharing this Josh…and I agree, there’s a lot to consider here, but alas it all seems rather vague at the moment.

    I appreciate your thoughs and comments as well, because I have always thought of the Vineyard movement as a grassroots movement, and things emerge from within, and the difficult task of leadership is to lead, cultivate and resource the local stuff in a grassroots-oriented way. I’m unsure if that’s changing…but one thing I truly appreciate is that Phil continues to reach out and communicate what is actually happening (even in vague half-sentences)…

    peace bro

    1. Agreed, I LOVE Phil’s initiative to reach out to the movement and keep everyone informed about what is happening. It is a simple gesture that I think will go a long ways in uniting us.

      You know in a lot of ways I’m torn between wanting for more structure within the movement and the freedom that comes with a loosely connected association. While they both have their pros and cons, right now I would have to lean towards have a little more structure as long as that structure doesn’t destroy the center heart of the movement (which to me is the Kingdom Theology and Practice of the Vineyard – which includes a center-set mentality). I just pray that Phil and the board will be able to keep that heart while drawing folks together and helping solve some of the fracturing pains we are experiencing right now.

      Tall order…but then God does equip the called. =?

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