Tag Archives: 2013 Vineyard National Conference

A Letter to the Vineyard Family from Phil Strout, USA National Director

phil stroutDear Vineyard Family-

“Do what the Father is doing” is one of the Vineyard movement’s treasured sayings. As I reflect back on our national conference in July, and forward to fall and a new year of ministry endeavors, it seems wise to ask the question- what do we see the Father doing?

The Father seems to be breathing life into the conference theme “All In”. We had an overwhelmingly positive National Leaders Conference with over 3000 participants, including hundreds of children and teens and many of our movement’s treasured seasoned saints. In our times of worship, teaching, prayer, and relational interaction, it seemed clear that God was calling all of us to mutual engagement for the Kingdom of God.

The Father seems to be pleased to send his Holy Spirit to minister among and through us. We collected story after story at the conference of things the Lord is doing in our churches -and perhaps most exciting, outside of our churches. When we open ourselves up to the supernatural ministry of the Spirit in and through us, the Lord is pleased to work.

The Father seems to be calling us to new dreams for what our movement can be. The growing energy around church planting both here and abroad, reaching across cultural barriers, and taking supernatural risks, is palpable. My prayer is that in God’s mercy, the best days of our movement are those yet to come.

So let’s say yes to the Lord! Doing what the Father is doing is not glamorous or easy. There are high moments – moments like the national conference, or special victories in any of our areas of service. But, as Rich reminded us in his talk on growing to adulthood, oftentimes saying yes to the Father is simply a day by day, step by step obedience. Taking an evangelistic risk, even if we look silly. Praying for the sick again and again, even when they don’t get better. Investing in a church plant, even if it isn’t taking off yet. It’s those combined “yeses to God” that form a movement.

I hope you managed a restful summer, and that you are hopeful and energized for the fall. If you are – God’s blessings on you. Go for it! If you aren’t – I pray for the Lord’s mercy on you, and that you will be carried by his power in this season. I look forward to seeing many of you as I travel throughout the movement in the months to come.

For the glory of God,


Stories Around The Web About The 2013 Vineyard National Conference

vineyard all inAs mentioned before (here and here), the 2013 Vineyard National Conference in Anaheim, California, was an amazing conference! In fact, I even heard folks who have been around the Vineyard for 20 or 30 years say that it was the best conference they have been too since the 1990’s. They also mentioned that this past conference was the LARGEST gathering of the Vineyard family ever. Yeah, ever. The Anaheim Vineyard church was packed out with over 3,500 people – 800+ of which were youth and 400+ were children under 14. Big family, lots of fun. 🙂

And being a big family, here are other bloggers out there who have written about their experiences at the conference. Knowing that it is always good to get more than one option on a subject, here are some stories about the 2013 Vineyard National Conference:

A Day by Day Account

Luke Geraty (Trinity Christian Fellowship in Stanley, WI) wrote a great four part series detailing the main points and highlights of each day of the conference. If you want to know the ins and outs of what happened, then this is the series to read! (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4)

celtic cross vineyardThe Quick Summary

On the flip side, Jason Smith (Mason Vineyard Community Church, Mason, OH) wrote a quick summary of the conference.  Even though he didn’t details things out as much as Luke, Jason does have some good comments about the state of Vineyard worship and the Kingdom Ministry momentum in the movement.

The Art Piece

Six artists from the Vineyard Boise (Boise, ID) made the trip to Anaheim with one purpose: to create a prophecy piece of art live during the worship sets of the conference. The result was an huge Celtic cross interwoven with symbolism. If you are part of the Vineyard Movement then you NEED to read Jessie Nilo’s description of this art piece as it was created in the middle of a family gathering for the entire Vineyard family.

Deaf No More

One of the individual pieces of art created during the conference and interwoven into the Celtic cross mentioned above was a mold of an ear.  God used this ‘ear’ to start an conversation between the artist and a gal who was deaf in one ear. The reslut …well, you will just have to read the post to see what happens. 😛

Listening and Obeying In A Fast Food Joint

two feetI almost missed it.

It was very subtle and gentle.

But it was there. A quiet voice telling me to ask this lady if I could pray for her.

The problem was that I was at a fast food restaurant with my son enjoying an ice cream cone and watching him play. And there were other people around. Oh, and did I mention that it was at a fast food restaurant and the gal the Lord was telling me to pray for was an employee? Yeah, all kinds of barriers.

Yet the voice remained even after the gall walked away.

That is when I remembered what God had told me last week while at the Vineyard National Conference. Twice that week – once during a worship set and once during a ministry time with Todd White and Robby Dawkins– God had told me to get back into the streets.

Years ago I had enjoyed going to counter-culture environmental and Earth day fairs and praying for folks on the side of the street. It was a blast setting up a booth offering information on how to take care of God’s creation next to nudist colonies, fortune tellers and the like. The stories that came out of those events are a testimonies to the workings of the Holy Spirit.

Sadly as the years went by I slowly got out of the habit of doing that… partly because I became engaged in pastoring a church and raising a family (both of which take time, a precious commodity), and partly – or perhaps ‘mostly’ – because I got nervous and lazy. Come on, let’s face it – praying with folks outside the church walls is scary and counter-culture. Praying for folks, our minds say, is done on Sunday mornings or, perhaps, during the weekly Bible studies and prayer meetings. You don’t do that kind of stuff at a fast food restaurant!

The gentle nudging stayed there. Only conviction increased at each passing second.

How could I, a pastor, ask folks in the church to pray for folks on the streets (which I have) if I was unwilling to do so. Hypocrite.

In the end I really only had one choice: to go find this gal and pray for her.

So I did.

And she cried.

Tears of joy and sorrow for she had a very rough day and just needed someone to love her – someone to tell her that she mattered. The details of her story don’t belong on this blog, it is enough to know that I prayed a blessing over her and her kids (she was a single mother).

The main take away was that was that God taught me a lesson.

A lesson to listen and obey. To listen while not obeying is just as bad as acting without listening. We, the follower of Jesus, need to listen to the Father and obey the promptings of the Spirit.  We have to move from being scared and nervous, move from being too busy, and start, well, doing what Jesus did.

Seven Principles to Staying “ALL IN” with Jesus

steve nicholsonLast Wednesday evening at the 2013 Vineyard National Conference Steve Nicholson outlined seven principles to staying “ALL IN” with Jesus. These principles hold some good truths within their words – truths that are worth looking at and pondering a while. It should also be noted that they come from the lips of someone who has been pastoring and living “ALL IN” the Kingdom for 37 years… so yeah, they are worth looking at.

Seven Principles to Staying “ALL IN” with Jesus

1.    Keep being filled in order to give

While this is true for anyone, it is especially true for those of us who serve the church on a weekly basics. Pastors, ministry leaders, and their spouses can easily get drained as “church” becomes a job to do rather than a time of refreshing. Yet if they – or should I say, “I” – want to continue to give out and love people day in and day out, year in and year out, we MUST find ways and time to receive Jesus’ refreshing spirit and peace. This could be daily mediation, hobbies, or time away at conferences…or something totally different. Whatever it is, we need to be filled up with the Spirit of God in order to give out to others.

2.    We need to keep telling the stories

Stories have a way of building faith and communicating truths that impact one’s daily lives. Accordingly, we need to continue to tell the stories about what God is doing in our lives and communities. Not just the stories of old – which are VERY important, just think for a moment how much of the Scriptures is stories – but current stories. Stories of praying for healings, stories of how Jesus changed lives, stories of stepping in faith, stories of success and failure. And the story tellers need to be folks from all generations as each generation need to be actively walking with Jesus and seeing Him work in their lives.

radicaly in3.    Complete integrity in life and in reporting

The truth will come out so don’t even try to lie or ‘beef up’ what God did. If you prayed for someone and their arm still hurts, say it – don’t try to cover it up by claiming a miracle when nothing changed. The same goes with the number of salvations or people attending an event. If you want a number, count folks – or, at the very least, under estimate the number of folks as it doesn’t help anyone to claim huge numbers. That is just pride.

4.    We need to have a theology of both success and failure

Successes are good. No doubt about that. Yet we also have to have a theology that allows for failure. What happens when you pray and nothing happens? What happens when you take a step of faith and fall on your face? We need to have a theology about how to deal with that – how to get back up and keep going.

5.    Stay in the field of harvest

It is easy to get into a “holy huddle” and stop going out into the streets and telling people about Jesus. We, and I am speaking to myself, need to keep going out and hanging with the non-believers. We need to make sure the organization of the church does not stop us from being the church!

6.    Endure through the desert times

Endurance is hard. It is very, very, very hard. Yet as Tri Robinson is fond of saying, “Keep showing up.” Showing up is more than half the battle – it is most, if not all, the battle. Steve in his talk also pointed out how it was the Holy Spirit that drove Jesus into the desert for 40-days after his baptism. The Holy Spirit. In other words, God may have a reason for taking you into the desert… keep on showing up and following God and He will lead you through the valley of the shadow of death.

7.    Train those who are younger

Don’t just do the stuff. Grab someone younger than yourself, either in age or in faith, and model it with them watching. Then let them do it while you watch – then let them go by their selves. Give away what Jesus gave you for it is His anyway.