My first ‘real’ introduction to the Vineyard Movement was in February 2003 when visited the Vineyard Boise after moving to Idaho from Texas (I put ‘real’ in quotes as I did visit a concert at the Tyler Vineyard church in Texas in 1999…but they were just a bit too radical for me at the time… oh how we change!). For weeks I had visited different churches looking for a new family to worship with…only nothing seemed to fit… then I walked into the Vineyard Boise on Wednesday evening, tired and not quite sure what to expect.
Amazingly enough I didn’t make five steps into the lobby before I was inundated by hellos and handshakes!! This was quite the shocker to me as I was used to visiting churches were I could walking in and out without anyone saying anything at all. Yet, here was a group of people who just grabbed you and loved you before they knew a thing about you. A few weeks later when I attended a Sunday morning service with my wife, who had recently joined me in Idaho, the same welcoming love was poured out on us. Apparently it wasn’t just a fluke…
On that first Sunday, Pastor Tri Robinson started a new series on the book of James – a book that had been on my wife’s heart for the last few weeks. Afterward, Emily turned to me and said, “I don’t know if this is the right church or not, but I want to stay through this series!” And that, as they say, was that as we never left.
There’s a saying in the Vineyard that you don’t join the Vineyard, you just find out that you are Vineyard. That is so true! The longer we were there, the more we felt as if we had come home. Soon we were serving in the Vineyard Boise food pantry and attending not one, but two small groups!
And while a church is never depended upon any one individual or couple, I can say without a doubt that the culture and environment that pulled Emily and me into the Vineyard Boise, and ultimately the Vineyard Movement, was shaped by the life of Tri and Nancy Robinson. Mercy, compassion, worship and the scriptures are values that have shaped their life and, as such, the lives of those walked with and around them over the years.
This week marks a huge shift in their lives has Tri and Nancy stepped down from their Senior Pastor role of the Vineyard Boise. They now, as Tri said on November 4th, have a pastor (i.e. Trevor and Andrea Estes, the new Senior Pastors) for the first time since 1989 when they left Lancaster, California, with twelve family to start the Vineyard Boise.
Yet instead of retiring, Tri, who is always on the go and makes me tired whenever I even think about the stuff he does, has stepped into the leadership role of I-61 Ministries, a local church based ministry that focuses on the seven areas of world crises most responsible for human oppression. He is also going to be working with Vineyard USA to help strengthen and fan the flames of mercy and compassion throughout the Vineyard Movement, nationally and globally.
Thank you Tri and Nancy for following Jesus and creating an place that loved people. Thank you for teaching me how to blend mercy and compassion with worship and the study of the Scriptures. Thank you for everything and may your next adventure be filled with the mercies and peace of Jesus.