Tag Archives: Jason Clark

Two church planting related posts by some Vineyard bloggers

jason clarkThought I would share a few church planting related blog posts by some Vineyard folks:

Post #1: “Leading and managing change: lessons from a church planter #1”  by Jason Clark

Author bio: Jason is the pastor of the Sutton Vineyard in London, UK (planted in 1997) and serve as Area Leader. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree in theology and leadership, and is currently completing PhD research on the church and culture.

Post summary: Jason outlines the five key leadership areas that he realizes that he has to face up to and grow in if his church is to move forward with God. The five areas are: Vision, Skills, Character, Counting the Cost, and Change.

My thoughts: I love Jason’s honesty and openness about having to change and grow as a leader in order to take the church to the place that God wants it to go. His statement, “what had gotten me here wouldn’t get me there”, is very telling and resonates with me as I transition out of the senior pastorship and into a new currently-undefined role within the local church. To always be growing, always going deeper with Jesus…that is life and it is hard.

dave jacobsPost #2: “If I Planted A Church Again, I Would… Pt. 1” by Dave Jacobs

Author Bio: Dave is a church coach and consultant based in Southwest Oregon. Before that he was a church planter and Vineyard area leader in California. (Personal note: Dave coached me for six weeks a few years ago and was very, very helpful!)

Post summary: Over the years Dave came up with a list of 37 changes he would make if he ever planted another church (he started three of them). Enough folks have asked him about this list that he decided to publish the list in small chucks. The link above takes you to the first six items on the list. The other 31 will be coming out over the next few weeks.

My thoughts: I’m not too sure about a few things on Dave’s list….granted, I know that he has a ton more experience and time pastoring then I do…yet, comment like the following make me nervous:

“I would try to be a humble, benevolent dictator, surrounded by a few people not afraid to get in my face and be honest with me.”

I think I know what he is getting at in that in starting a new church it is good to have someone calling the shots…however, I have seen a rise in team leadership that I feel is healthier for both the church body and the pastor/leadership team. For example, if one is bivocational (which Dave lists as a good thing in point number 2) then being a “humble, benevolent dictator” means long hours and TONS of stress. To me personally, I would rather go with a co-pastor/team-leader structure and try to lower the stress load. =/

What do you think about these two articles?

Is The Cross Big Enough For You?

jason clarkI just finished listening to Jason Clark’s talk on at the Vineyard UK/Ireland conference entitled “The Shape of the Church: What Story are you living? It was very, very, very powerful – full of open honesty and hope for the future.

Yet the one thing that stood out to me the most, as I’m sure it did with the folks there that day, was Jason’s challenge to really embrace the cross of Jesus through the tough times of life. I know that sounds really religious and worthless…but I am at a loss to find words to explain his talk… all I can say is that if you only listen to one message from the Vineyard UK/Ireland conference, this should be that one talk.

Summary of the talk as posted by Jason on his blog:

It summed up my experience as a church planter, and my theological reflections/research within that. It was part autobiography, part theological reflection and part pragmatic advice/coaching.

I set out a vision for how we much understand the church in our current context in ways that would respond to the biggest challenges we face for being church and church planting. I also made it in the hope that it would give hope and confidence to church planters and church leaders.

Top 12 Resources From the Vineyard UK/Ireland in 2012

Each week the Vineyard UK/Ireland AVC uploads some new resources for the church – either ones they re-discovered in their vaults or new material recently released. In celebration of the year just finished, they posted a summary of the top 12 popular resources.

Here is a quick list of the resources in reserve order along with a few of my notes. Feel free to navigate over to the main article for more details as well links to specific resources.

12. Creative Evangelism // Alan Scott

11. Developing Fearlessness // Robby Dawkins

A short video by Robby on being willing to risk everything – including looking like an idiot – to tell people about Jesus. What are we willing to risk to share the message of Jesus?

10. Burned for the Bible // James Mumford

9.  Kids Can Too // Nigel & Jo Hemming

Children are not the church of tomorrow – they are the church of today!! The church in general needs to move past ‘babysitting’ kids on Sunday and allow them to participate in the mission of God as a fully functional member of Christ’s body.

8.  Why bother with theology in the Vineyard // Jason Clark

This is a written article based upon a talk Jason gave last year. It is a well thought out article about the importance of theology in our daily lives – give it a read!

7. Songs that reflect a season of the church // Kathryn Scott

6. Everybody gets to play // John Mumford

A great article by the National Director of the Vineyard UK/Ireland on the value of allowing everyone to participate in the mission of God.

5. Serving our Communities // Alan Scott

Continue reading Top 12 Resources From the Vineyard UK/Ireland in 2012

The Distinctives of the Vineyard

There are many tribes or denominations within the greater Global Church, some of them old and some new… Every group is important as they reflect the multifaceted mystery of the Almighty. We, I, need the entire body of Christ (i.e. Church) to help guide me and direct me down the path of life.

Yet sometimes it is nice to find a smaller tribe of people in which you can walk… a group that shares common values and whose heart breaks with the same intensity over the same issues. It is, as Jason Clark recently wrote, to be apart of a denomination in which you can find accountability and support. And the group that I belong to – the group that shares the cries of my heart – is the Vineyard. It isn’t the ‘cats meow’ for everyone nor does it claim to be the best. But it is the group for me!

Recently I was browsing a church planting forum when I saw a post by Michael Gatlin, National Church Planting Director, about the distinctives of the Vineyard. As I read through the list that he got from John Mumford, Director of Vineyard UK, my heart just jumped! This was it! This is why I call the Vineyard home and why I love my tribe.

So, being a blogger, I would like to share with you all this list of distinctives on what makes the Vineyard Vineyard. (underlines emphasis are mine)

The main and the plain.

  • What do what the scriptures say. The Bible is our gold standard, plumb line
  • Confident and thoughtful in the teaching of the bible in small and large groups the whole counsel of God, the good & easy bits and the difficult bits. We are a people who are wrestling with what the bible says, and how does it apply to our situations.
  • Are our people reading and looking up stuff in the bible? Get into the book yourself and push your people to do the same!
  • We’ve only really had the book in this form for 400 years and we tend to take it for granted.
  • We minister who we are, people impacted by the kingdom in our real lives. Taking it in and giving it away.

The now and the not yet.

  • This is crucial and foundational to who we are.
  • Encouraging a lifestyle that expects the kingdom of God to be demonstrated time and again everywhere we are. We are first and foremost a kingdom of god movement. Our central theological motif. It is not nearly a proposition to believe, rather a way to live.
  • This is a theology that empower and at the same time sustained us through difficulties. It keeps us from the triumpfatalism of Pentecostalism on the one hand, and from the cecassionism of conservative evangelicalism on the other.
  • We are unashamed and unembarrassed that power and suffering go hand in hand. This teaching helps life make sense, it takes my breath away.

Continue reading The Distinctives of the Vineyard

Some Of My Favorite Blog Sites…

A site I have been following recently asked for blog suggestions as they were looking for some new sites to follow. In thinking about that, I decided to list out some of my favorite blog sites for your reading pleasure. Note however that this is a very small list as I have over 80 sites on my RSS feed… yeah, I’m strange that way!  😛

Vineyard Related:

  • Jason Clark – Jason is a Vineyard church planter in SW London, UK, as well as a teacher at George Fox Seminary and a PhD student in theology at Kings College London. He has some great thoughts and conversations on the church, culture, mission, and theology in general.
  • WordHavering – Written by Mike Freeman, a Vineyard Boise (Idaho) pastor, this blog full of amazing “musings/haverings on God, theology, the Bible and the occasional movie.” While it may sound cliche, I would have to say that Mike’s style of write is refreshing and warm to the eyes.
  • As I See It… – Marty Boller is the pastor of the Cedar Rapids, IA, Vineyard church and has been exploring ways to move from focusing on size of a church building, money in the bank account and/or the number of folks attending to really, truly following Jesus and being missional to our communities
  • Peace Catalyst International – Peace Catalyst is an organization seeking to “stimulate peacemaking between individuals and between peoples.” Most of the articles are written by Rick Love, a truly peaceful and loving man, who severs as a consultant for Christian-Muslim relations in the Vineyard, USA.
  • Brambonius’ blog in English – Brambonius is a Belgium Vineyard guy who writes some eye opening posts about Jesus, Christianity and the Bible through a European worldview.
  • Carl Medearis – Carl is an international expert in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations as well as the author of “Speaking of Jesus(one of the best books ever!). The thing I love about Carl is his passionate love for Jesus and the ability to separate the culture of “Christianity” from following the person of Jesus. Well worth the read!
  • Verse&Verse – A wonderful blog full of heart felt poems and deep views on following Jesus. It is written by Steven Hamliton who currently in the process of launching a Jesus community in urban Pittsburgh. He is also deeply involved with the Vineyard Anti-Slavery Team.
  • Captain’s Blog – Written by Chad Estes, this blog just oozes the freedom, mercy and love of Jesus to all people at all times. It is definitely a good site to have on your RSS feed.

Continue reading Some Of My Favorite Blog Sites…

Why Bother With Theology?

My friend Jason Clark, a brilliant pastor theologian in the UK, was recently asked by the UK Vineyard AVC to help teach folks how to integrate theology into their lives and churches. The result of this is an amazing video of Jason sharing his life with a class and address why we, as Jesus followers, should bother with theology.

As part of this discussion, Jason mentions ten thoughts on why we should care about theology. Below are the ten as I heard them…granted, there were times when Jason didn’t quite state the reason as a number, so I might have missed one or two while breaking up one thought into two or more pieces…

Either way, the below unedited scribbles will give you an idea about what Jason talks about in the video.

Ten Thoughts On Why We Should Bother With Theology

  1. Theology raises our experiences with Jesus
    1. All too often we separate the doers and the thinkers instead of keeping them together
    2. A dialogue between your/mine lived life of faith and other Christians who have gone before us in history
    3. How can I reflect on my lived experience of faith and how can I bring that into conversation with a whole bunch of people how have gone before me or are currently living with me
    4. Vineyard – born out of a thinking and experiencing move of God
  2. The different bits of theology are just different conversations about God
    1. Many different ways of talking with each other and learning about our Lord
      1. Biblical studies
      2. Systematic theology
      3. Ethical theology
      4. philosophical theology
      5. etc
    2. Don’t be put off by all the different conversations
    3. “One of the biggest challenges of theology is navigating through and learning…challenge you on two things, do the bits you enjoy and the other one is to do all the stuff you don’t. They go together.”
    4. You have to listen to each of the conversation as they all work together
    5. Example: one’s understand of how a Bible book was written (i.e. biblical studies) must effect your ethics and how you live.
  3. Theology is learning and not education
    1. Education is chasing a degree
    2. Theology is a lifelong learning
  4. Theology requires reading and writing
  5. Theology helps us process life when crap happens
    1. Is your understanding of Jesus big enough to handle the dark parts of life?
  6. Theology helps us understand what is happening around us in our culture
    1. How do we share Jesus with others?
    2. For example, if we only have one view of the atonement, what do we do when folks reject it? Do we dismiss them or do we share with them the other biblical views that may connect better with them?
  7. Discernment – knowing how to ask the ‘why’ questions instead of simply, ‘does it work?’
    1. Something ‘work’ in the short term, but in the long term actually take people away from Jesus
  8. Leadership – learning from history or from the Bible
    1. Most leadership books assume a certain view of humanity that says that we can control our own path, be who we want to be, etc
    2. As Christians, we want leadership that gives up our rights to be who we want to be in order to let God work through us
  9. Pick something you enjoy while at the same keeping an eye on the other discipline
    1. Have fun with it
  10. Theology is vital in our practices
    1. Helps us to know why we do what we do
    2. Theology lets us know where we, the Vineyard, fit into the other all Body of Christ and why we do or don’t do certain things