Tag Archives: 2012 Vineyard Northwest Regional Conference

New Rotating Vineyard USA Board Members

During the recent Vineyard Northwest Regional Conference, Phil Strout dropped a gem into the pond that will, I believe, have long-term ramifications for the entire Vineyard Movement in the USA. Yeah, it’s that big!

What is this gem?

Starting next year there will be three members on the Vineyard USA National Board in their 20’s or 30’s who will serve for one year before being rotated out for another young board member. This means that by the end of five years, there would have been 15 Vineyardites in their 20’s or 30’s who have an understanding of the Movement on a national level.

This, in my opinion, is AWESOME and BRILLIANT!

Not only is Phil mentoring and ‘pulling’ up the next generation of Vineyard leaders (which is powerful in and of itself), but he is also helping the National Board gain insight into the rapidly shifting culture of the USA. No longer can we do church as we used too as it is not working (a look at declining church attendance and lack of behavior change around the nation clearly shows this), as such we need to be looking at and pursuing an ancient/forward mentality of church.

“Ancient/forward mentality” => To me this means that we look both forward at what the Spirit is doing now and where He is leading us as well as looking back at the generations of believers on whose shoulders we stand. It is a mentality that does not throw things out simply because it is ‘old’ nor do we blindly accept things simply because ‘it is the way we do things.’ Instead we look toward the Spirit and run after Him while thinking through things according to the culture and worldview in which we now live.

The change to the National Board was approved by the current Board on the same day that they elected Phil as the new National Director. Meaning that this is really going to happen…. The only question now is who is going to represent the younger generation?  In talking to Phil about this, he mentioned that the folks will be chosen based upon their leadership ability, current engagement within the Vineyard, and the guidance of the Spirit.

Basically this means that these 15 new board members do not have to be senior pastors and will be chosen by Phil – which works for me. In fact, I think removing the senior pastor requirement is great as it brings in another viewpoint into the board and means that they may have more time to give to the board (most young pastors I know are usually bio-vocational with young families, so adding yet another thing on their plate is not too smart).

All and all, I look forward to hearing who these new board members are and seeing what the Lord does through them and the new leadership of the Vineyard USA. Good times. 😀

Living In Transition

As mentioned previously, one of the biggest topics at the 2012 Vineyard Northwest Regional Conference was transitions as the region is in the process of being split in half. To help with this, the regional leadership planned two transition workshops for attendees:

Leading and Learning Through Major Church Transitions James Lafolette, Senior Pastor Oasis Vineyard Church, Hermiston, OR

This workshop will explore lessons and skills that can be beneficial in leading our fellowships through major transitions. James will share insights from personal experience in taking a church through several big changes and then facilitate group discussion.

Transitions:  How to Thrive in Times of TransitionTad Blackburn, Associate Pastor Vineyard Rockville Centre, Rockville Centre, NY

In life and ministry we experience many transitions. Understanding the process and how it affects us spiritually and emotionally is essential in learning the skills to enable us, and those we lead, to thrive through these times.

Knowing that the Payette River Vineyard is on the verge of building a food pantry/clothing closet/community center/church facility, I went to both workshops. The first one had a fairly relaxed atmosphere and was insightful into the dynamics of leading a church through change over the long term. The second one was more structured and provided some good tools for understanding how transitions effect people mentally and emotionally.

The Connie Hansen Garden flower path in Lincoln City, Oregon

Interestingly enough as I reflected on these workshops and Tad’s main session, it hit me that our church was not  just entering INTO transition but was living IN transition. What I mean is that in a lot of ways the Payette River Vineyard has never stopped being in transition as we had a rocky start with multiple pastors coming and leaving (none for moral reasons mind you; the changes were all due to economic reasons). When I stepped into the senor pastor’s position in February 2011, I became the fourth pastor five years… yeah… change and transitions…

Putting all this together, I realized that while I, as an individual, may be eager and ready to strike out for worlds unknown, the church as a whole may not be. Tad mentioned in his workshop that it sometimes takes two to three years for an organization to adjust to major changes… James also brought this up in his training as he made the mistake of trying to change too much too quickly…

In chewing over this, I made some comments about slowing down and recognizing when we are in transitions to those at our monthly prayer and worship meeting last Sunday. Interestingly enough they all agreed with the statements and noted that we were in fact still in a pastoral transition with folks having joined the church at different points along the last six years (i.e. folks who join a church at one point in its history tend to rank all other points according to that time as the original culture was what brought them in).

Continue reading Living In Transition

Reflections on the 2012 Vineyard Northwest Regional Conferences (continued)

Worship at the pastor's luncheon before the conference (what can I say? we all love worship.)

The thing I love the most about Vineyard conferences is the worship. There is just something powerful about a group of people passionate about worship and pursuing the presence of God.

Yes, this same level of passion can happen in the local church (and SHOULD happen!). Sadly, however, it doesn’t always happen as Sunday mornings are full of people from all kinds of backgrounds and places on the journey towards Jesus – all of which can serve as distractions from the main goal of throwing our lives down at the feet of Jesus. (not to mention the busyness that comes with setting up chairs, preparing to preach, brand practice, etc…)

Those who typically attend pastors and leaders conferences are, well, fully sold out for Jesus and, for the most part, don’t have the inhibitions that normally keep people from actively worshiping the Lord. As such, these conferences are hotbeds of powerful worship! At this particular conference, each main session started with 45 minutes to an hour of worship and ended with half hour ministry/worship. (and NO ONE complained about the length or the song selections!)

It was awesome!!!


Life giving!!!

I could dance all I wanted to without worrying about the sound system or playing the bass guitar!! It was just me and Jesus bouncing off the walls in an intimate embrace!!

Much happiness!!!!!! 😀

The Vancouver Vineyard building had a huge front area just prime for dancing (and they thought it was for ministry time?!)

Reflections on the 2012 Vineyard Northwest Regional Conference

I’m back and wiping the cobwebs off my keyboard as I have not touched a computer in a week and a half. Scary, I know…but it was also very refreshing as I attended the Vineyard Northwest Regional Conference in Vancouver, Washington, at the end of June before enjoying a week at the Oregon coast with the family (a much needed vacation and soul rest).

Now that I’m back, I would like to take a few days and post some reflections on the conference and the Vineyard Movement as a whole.

The theme of the 2012 Vineyard Northwest Regional Conference was “Convergence: For Such a Time As This” as everything is changing this month. The Northwest Region has effetely been split into two separate regions as of this month with Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South and North Dakota becoming the “Big Sky Region.” The theme of convergence also points to the changes on the national front as Phil Strout takes over as National Director on September 13th.

As one could expect, all of the main sessions (and some of the workshops) were focused on this theme. Below is a quick summary of the five main sessions:

Current Vineyard USA National Director and Acting NW Region Overseer Bert Waggoner kicked off the conference with a look back at the landmarks in our history. Pulling from Joshua 4:1-9 where the Lord tells the Israelites to take twelve stones from out of the Jordan River and create a memorial for the people, Bert listed eleven ‘stones’ that God has given to us as a Vineyard Movement and as a region. While the full list is a tad long to list here, I want to mention the two stones that really touched me:

  • Stone #6: “Do you remember…how freeing it was to grasp the message of the Kingdom?”

Ah…yes…I can remember this day very, very clearly. It was during a small group in 2003 when the hosts invited Kevin Thienes, a Vineyard Boise lay pastor, to come and share with us all about prayer and healing. At some point during that Q&A, my view on the Bible and Jesus began to change and a new way of living came into view. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in miracles or healings as I came from a Charismatic background in which all kinds of stuff used to happen… no, it was the theological underpinnings to the experiences that finally made sense and jived with the Scripture. The rabbit hole was opened at that point and there was no going back.

Continue reading Reflections on the 2012 Vineyard Northwest Regional Conference