Tag Archives: Vineyard UK/Ireland

Stick Close to Jesus

celtic cross vineyardAndy Croft, Senior Pastor at the Soul Survivor Church in Watford, UK, recently released a short two minute video about the key to longevity in ministry via Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland.

In listening to his talk, I couldn’t help but think about my own ministry journey… the last decade has been full of activity, pain, joy, happiness, and struggles. There have been times when I have felt close to Jesus and seasons where he has seemed very far away….

Sticking close to Jesus…it is a good policy. Perhaps the best one as Christianity is a journey rather than a doctrine or a destination. There was a reason why the first name for the church was the Followers of the Way. The Way…. a name that hints at a journey with Someone…

yeah… stick close to Jesus. That’s what we I need to do. One step, one moment at a time.

Giving Away Our Best

A short video of Rich Nathan was recently posted on the Vineyard UK/Ireland website with a powerful message. In the video, Rich reminded local pastors that the Kingdom of God is much, much, much, much bigger than their local church. They are part of a larger movement of God throughout the world – and, as such, God may ask them to take some of their resources and “spread it around for the sake of the kingdom.”

This may sound scary to some local churches and pastors as it will cost them. They may not have anyone in place to take over the ministries of the people they are sending out…they may not have much money left over afterwards…but, as Rich said the in video, we give away our best. It is, after all, all God’s anyway – we (as pastors) are just stewards of God’s people and resources. If He says, give them away, we better give them away.

giving away our best rich nathan



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.

Vineyard UK/Ireland National Leaders’ Conference

main session Our Vineyard family across the pond has posted the audio files for both the main sessions and the seminars. The main topics and speakers are as follows:

•    A Vision of Christian Leadership by Rich Nathan
•    A Vision of God by Rich Nathan
•    The Vision of Christian Mission by Rich Nathan
•    Guard what has been Entrusted to your Care by John and Eleanor Mumford
•    The Shape of the Church: What Story are you living? By Jason Clark
•    Visionary Leadership by Mike Pilavachi
•    The Power of His Presence by Alan Scott

seminarsAnd here is a list of seminars available to listen too. There are definitely some here that I am going to tune into!

•    Building teams that make the church grow by Steve and Juliet Barber
•    Dying well by John Wyatt
•    International missions by Jon Franklin and Andrew Myatt
•    Deepening your devotional life: Introduction to Ignatian spirituality by Rich Nathan
•    Our fragile minds by John Wyatt
•    Pressing through pastoral disappointments by Chris and Maggie Parsons
•    What does your website say about your church? by Mark Crosby and Jonny Norridge
•    Simple church, a strategy for growth by Andy and Bethan Chapman
•    Why serve our communities? by Dave Bass
•    Dare to share – Communicating God’s heart by Claire Lynch
•    Isn’t Christian morality immoral? by James Mumford
•    Outside the church there is no salvation? by Jason Clark
•    Revisiting personal growth by Lulu Williams
•    So you want to plant a church? by James Rankine
•    You are the project by Andy Smith
•    Compassion and The Arches by Helen Murphy and Team
•    Training to pursue God’s call to lead by Mike Newport and Neal Swettenham
•    Inside out: Discipling the fringe by Chris and Fliss Lane
•    Connecting the church with those that don’t know God by Glyn and Sophia Barrett
•    Women in leadership: Theology and challenges by Juliet Barber
•    Vineyard worship in the local church – our values and distinctives by Jimmy and Kate Cooke
•    Developing a sustaining spirituality by Erik and Rebecca Jespersen
•    Peace on earth: Starting in your community by Dan Green

Vineyard and the New Archbishop of Canterbury

justin welbyEarlier I had mentioned in passing that Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby spoke at the Vineyard UK/Ireland National Leaders’ Conference last week. Sadly the conversation between him, his lovely wife, Caroline and the Vineyard national directors, John and Eleanor Mumford, has been taken off the internet… however, I did make some notes about his talk that I wanted to share with you all. 😀

First off, it was really cool to hear a little more about Justin’s background as he has a very influential position on the world stage (the Anglican Communion has around 85 million members worldwide). One cool item that stood out to me was the openness that  he and Caroline had towards the movement of the Spirit through signs and wonders. Having never been to an Anglican church, I’ve always assumed that they were more cessatist (I know, I know…it is wrong to assume…). However, Justin spoke of being greatly influenced by John Wimber and having just come back from a retreat center in Europe ran by a bunch of charismatic Catholic monks (I told you assuming was wrong! Besides, I should have remembered that Wimber spend years blessing the Anglican Church!).

Secondly, and I think most importantly, at one point in the conversation John Mumford asked Justin what he thought about the Vineyard. Justin responded with a wonderful encouragement to keep on keeping in the direction and calling that God gave us. Here is the question John asked as well as Justin’s response (transcribed by yours truly):

John: “What do you feel that the Vineyard can bring? What can we contribute as a family of churches that loves to be part of the broader body of Christ?”

Justin: “I think it is a really important question. I think – there is a lot of answer that can come. One of the one’s is around the holistic ministry – the idea that you deal with people as they are, not as you would like them to be – you deal with them where they are – you take them were they are – the ministry to the poor, integrated utterly with a passionate commitment to Jesus Christ and to worship. I think I want to say something else – for me part of the inspiration of the Vineyard is seeing the reminder that in the presence of Christ we can we transform the life of the church, which in the churches we have been at – it is sometimes taken a while – and it is this sense of transformation – of integrity, reality and hope and living in the power of the Spirit.  I suppose I want to encourage you all in more than anything else: Do not move away from the gift of the spirit to this place.” (underlines added)

Continue reading Vineyard and the New Archbishop of Canterbury

The Pastor’s Main Duty…

As a pastor it is easy to get carried away doing this and that, wearing different hats, doing different things –good things, mind you. Yet, in the middle of doing and being this and that, it is very, very easy to forget what it means to be a Pastor. Dave Workman, pastor of the Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, recently brought this tension in the pastorship with a light-hearted, but serious post about the “top 5 things pastors should stop pretending to be.” In the post Dave states the following:

“…the pastor’s main duty is making sure the mission of the local church is carried out, and primarily that’s finding lost people and shepherding them through the process of seekers to servants. And so we have to lean into the expertise of theologians and biblical scholars we’ve learned to trust. It doesn’t mean that we don’t study; it simply means there are people who only and solely do that as a vocation for the purpose of schooling pastors like me. In many ways, a pastor has to be a generalist. We should best be able to pass on creedal basics and lead and shepherd the local church.”

This concept of what it means to be a pastor echoes the words of Eugene Peterson in his book  “The Pastor: A Memoir” – a book, by the way, that that have greatly influenced my own thoughts on what it means to be a pastor:

“I was not primarily dealing with people as problems. I was a pastor calling them to worship God….Congregations is a company of people who are defined by their creation in the image of God, living souls, whether they know it or not. They are not problems to be fixed, but mysteries to be honored and revered. Who else in the community other than the pastor has the assigned task of greeting men and women and welcoming them into a congregation in which they are known not by what is wrong with them, but by who they are, just as they are?”

In other words, a pastor isn’t someone with all the answers, or someone who does everything – they are, at the core, someone who stands in the middle of the community calling people to worship God. They, we, are a bell ringing in the day and a light on a hill, reminding folks that God is real and is passionately in love with them. It is as Archbishop of Canterbury-elect Justin Welby said this week at the Vineyard UK/Ireland National Leaders’ Conference:

“The key piece of advice for Christian leaders is that you have to be the one who is growing closer to Jesus; closing closer in your love for Jesus – and nothing else counts. The rest is decorations. If you are not doing that, you’re wasting your time. Nothing else counts, however skillful you are.”

It really is that simple. Love Jesus with all you soul, heart, mind and strength, and then love others as yourself.

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

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