Tag Archives: Phil Strout

It’s Official!!

Phil Strout and Bert Waggoner

Six days ago on September 12, 2012 the leadership mantle of the Vineyard USA was officially passed from Bert and Evelyn Waggoner to Phil and Jan Strout. [cue the applause and rejoicing]

While there are many things on Phil’s heart as he starts this journey, he took some time today to remind the Vineyard family of his top three priorities:

  • Presence of God
  • Proclamation of the Gospel
  • Practical hands on living

Everything will fit in and around these three items – which I think are good anchors to have.  🙂

Phil also asked the Vineyard family if they could pray for him and Jan to have wisdom, courage and kindness. May the Lord granted those prayers and bless them both as they start a new adventure as National Director of the Vineyard USA.

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. 😀

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

Setting Our Sails

I was recently given a copy of Phil Strout’s (National Director Elect) vision-forward talk at the 2012 Vineyard USA National Leaders Meeting by my Area Pastoral Care Leader. And, wow, was it amazing!

Right from the beginning the Lord was all over that talk as Phil shared a word God had given to him nine or so times via multiple people and/or events over several continents (talk about confirmation!). The word that was given was that “we cannot control the Wind, but we can control how we set our sails.” [Note that I changed the original  singular ‘you’ to a plural ‘we’ as it sounds like it is for all of us in the Vineyard.]

Let’s break that down for a minute.

  • “We cannot control the Wind…” –  In chapter 3 of the Gospel of John, Jesus compares the wind of the air to the Holy Spirit, who similarly blows where and when He wants too. We cannot control Him or manipulate Him into showing up when, where or how we want Him to do so. He is God and His Spirit “blows wherever it pleases” (John 3:8a).
  • “…but we can control how we set our sails.” – This is so powerful as it brings home the fact that we can control how we respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit. St. Paul said that the “spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets” (1 Corinthians 14:32) which to me drives home the fact that we can either set our sails to follow where He leads, set our sails slight to the side and go where we want to go, or we can drop the sails all together and stay where we are. The choice is ours.

Wow…talk about an amazing word of the Lord to us… God is not done with the Vineyard as He still wants us to join Him in His mission to love people. Again, what an amazing to start off a new season in the life of the Vineyard? 😀

After this powerful word of the Lord, which Phil tags on the beginning due to the backdrop of the platform being a sailboat (something that was not planned or prepared beforehand as Phil had told anyone about the Wind Word), Phil shares his heart for the Vineyard and what he thinks God is doing among us. While I have posted some of the hightlights that touched me below, you can download the talk from the Vineyard Midwest Regional website (click on the link entitled “Phil Strout February Talk, Nashville” – note that the audio isn’t the greatest so be prepared to turn up the volume).

Continue reading Setting Our Sails

The First New Universal Bapticostal Post Modern Charismatic Church of Reformed Rhetoric

I was working through my RSS feed today when I stumbled up a great post by my aunt, Tura Zapata, who is also a pastor/elder at LifeHouse Ministries in Beaumont, TX, about the church’s tendency to exchange “the Gospel of righteousness in Christ Jesus for religious rhetoric.”

To quote the beginning of her post:

“Rhetoric – The art or study of using language effectively and persuasively;  speech or discourse that pretends to significance but lacks true meaning.

This could be an abbreviated name of the church in the world today; the sign would be bigger than the building if we put in all the titles that were left out!

“The First New Universal Bapticostal Post Modern Charismatic Church of Reformed Rhetoric”  (tongue –in – cheek, but no chuckle here, I don’t think God is laughing)

Paul dealt with the same problem with the believers of his time. The church at Corinth had taken on this title only the names were different!

You may be questioning how this could be, for the church has only tried to answer the need of the society and culture of the people it embraces today; struggling to stay relevant letting go of doctrinal dogmas becoming more inclusive. The five fold ministry has survived and signs and wonders are supernaturally performed. What have we missed?

The next statement [from God] hit me harder than the first.  ‘Since the gospel being preached is one of rhetoric, then the response becomes rhetorical, having no practical application, or urgency to answer, no power to change and requires no true faith to endure. It results in unbelief or disobedience.'”

While she goes to develop this point a bit more, it was this last line above that really got me. To lose the ‘practical application’ of the message of Jesus…. to lose the understand that to meet the living Jesus is to change, to be set free from bondage of all kings (addictions, shame, guilt, sin, evil, injustice, death, judgment, etc.)…

That is a sobering thought – or, at least, it should be!

Continue reading The First New Universal Bapticostal Post Modern Charismatic Church of Reformed Rhetoric

New Vineyard USA Regional Overseers

As many of you know the Vineyard USA is in the middle of a leadership transition as Bert Waggoner retires after 12 years of leading the Vineyard Movement in the USA. Part of this transition is shrinking of the current eight regions and the creation of eight new ones to better help the regional overseers foster effective relationship among the pastors of their region. As a local pastor, I think this move is awesome!

One of the difficulties in the past has been the geographical challenges of getting to know to people within a region that may stretch across multiple states and hundreds of miles. By splitting up the regions and making them smaller, I believe that the new regional overseers (RO) are going to have a easier time of things. Which is not to say that it will be a cake walk…by no means! Each RO is still a pastor of a local church in addition to having the below responsibilities, so they will have their hands full.

  1. Establish and cast a Regional vision that follows and underscores the vision of the National Director for Vineyard USA.
  2. Care for and coach the Area Pastoral Care Leaders (APCLs) in the Region.
  3. Facilitate care for the pastors in the Region through the APCLs.
  4. Communicate with the pastors in the Region on a regular basis.
  5. Help local Vineyard churches in the Region to become strong, healthy churches through resourcing.

I also really liked the process that Phil Strout, the National Director Elect, used to choose these new ROs.  At the beginning of January each local pastor was asked to nominate someone in their new region that they thought would make a good RO. These nominations were then passed on to Phil who made the final decision – meaning that the choice was not a popularity election per say, but a combination of hearing the voices of the local pastors on the ground combined with the view from the ‘top’ of the leadership structure. The process also left room for the Holy Spirit to guide, direct, and raise up perviously unknown leaders within each region.

Continue reading New Vineyard USA Regional Overseers

The Proposed 2013 Vineyard USA National Board

Last week Phil Strout, the Vineyard USA National Director Elect, announced twelve of the members of his new “Executive Team” or national board. While there are still a few appointments pending, I have to say that I am pretty pleased with Phil’s section as it gives the board a well-rounded view of what God is doing throughout the USA.

The Proposed 2013 Vineyard USA National Board
  • Current Members Who Will Continue:
    • Brian Anderson –Southwest Regional Overseer and Vineyard Church North Phoenix (AZ) pastor
    • Mark Fields –Missions Task Force Director
    • Michael Gatlin – Church Planting Task Force Director (as of May 2011) and pastor of the Duluth Vineyard (MN)
    • Happy Leman –Midwest Regional Overseer and pastor of The Vineyard Church – Urbana (IL)
    • Rich Nathan – Large Church Task Force Director and pastor of the Vineyard Church of Columbus (OH)
    • Rick Olmstead –Greater Rocky Mountain Regional Overseer and Vineyard Church of the Rockies (Fort Collins, CO) pastor
    • Lance Pittluck –Western Regional Overseer and Anaheim Vineyard (CA) pastor
  • New Board Members:
    • Phil Chorlian – North Jersey Vineyard (Teterboro, NJ) pastor and current Regional Church Planting Coordinator for the Northeast
    • Jeff Heidkamp – Editor of “Cutting Edge” magazine (a Vineyard USA church planting resource) and co-pastor of the Mercy Vineyard (Minneapolis, MN) with his wife Le Que, who leads the Vineyard USA National Ethnic Diversity Task Force.
    • Jay Pathak – Mile High Vineyard (Arvada, CO) pastor and Greater Rocky Mountain Church Planting Coordinator
    • Dianne Leman – Current Women’s Task Force co-director, co-senior pastor of The Vineyard Church – Urbana (IL) and Co-Regional Overseer for the Midwest Region with her husband Happy (it sounds like Dianne’s role is being enlarged so I’m listing her as a “new” member)
    • Becky Olmstead – Current Kids Ministry Task Force Director, co-senior pastor of Vineyard Church of the Rockies (Fort Collins, CO) and Co-Regional Overseer for the Greater Rocky Mountain with her husband Rick (it sounds like Becky’s role is being enlarged so I’m listing her as a “new” member)
Continue reading The Proposed 2013 Vineyard USA National Board

Vineyard USA Leadership Transition: Comments on Phil Strout’s Recent Update

Phil Strout, the new Vineyard USA National Director Elect, posted an updated on the leadership transition on his blog this morning. At a little over nine minutes, it is a fairly short video – so I would recommend wandering over there and watching it.

In the meantime here are some of my thoughts about the what Phil said:

First off, I just realized that the full leadership transition is going to take a full 12 months instead of the six or nine that I originally thought. This means that both Phil and Bert Waggoner will be working together throughout 2012 (it is the here and not yet of national leadership!!) 😛

Secondly, in the video Phil talked a bit about focusing the actions and personnel of the Vineyard instead of chasing too many ministries… the example he told was of an eagle who tried to catch two rabbits at the same time. In the end, the eagle was left hungry as its attention was divided.

While I can understand the point Phil is trying to make…I also have concerns about what that looks like.

One of the jewels of the Vineyard is that we have tried to be a center-set movement welcoming anyone who is chasing King Jesus. This means that we have a wide range of people with different church backgrounds, theological viewpoints, culture worldviews, passions, etc. There is no ‘in’ or ‘out’ boundary so much as we try to operate as a family help each other follow Jesus (emphasis on the ‘try’ as this is a hard tension to live in).

As such, my concern with Phil’s comments on focusing is that I hope it does not lead to an ‘in’ or ‘out’ mentality in which churches or individuals are judged based upon the way they look, the ministries they have or whatever boundary marker is chosen.

Continue reading Vineyard USA Leadership Transition: Comments on Phil Strout’s Recent Update

Asia Summit Debrief

The last few days have been crazy!!!

Just about every spare minute was used talking to people, building relationships, and networking with folks from 15 different nations. Worshiping the Lord with these guys and gals gives one a picture of heaven – the nations rejoicing and praising the King Most High!

The focus of the conference as been the Vineyard Values – with each of the main sessions tackling one of the five core values of the Vineyard. Phil Strout, the new Vineyard USA National Director, spoke Tuesday night about the Kingdom of God and following the King.

Wednesday morning saw a panel of speakers from various nations talk about and answer questions concerning being a reconciling community. That evening a lady from the Philippines spoke about compassionate ministry using stories from her life and the people in her church.

We ‘played’ Thursday morning with folks going swimming, shopping, or sleeping. But that evening we were right back at it with a session on culturally relevant mission. Or we were suppose to have a panel talking about that… God had other plans as we spend the evening worshiping, praying for each other, and basically experiencing the presences of God.

Continue reading Asia Summit Debrief

Introduction by the Newly Proposed Vineyard National Director

In case you haven’t heard, Vineyard USA is in the middle of choosing a new National Director as Bert Waggoner announced that he was retiring near the beginning of the year. The process that the National Board decided to follow is an amazing one that bridges the gap between organizational oversight and Spirit lead.

The process started off in the month of May with each senior pastor nominating someone (besides themselves) that they thought would be a good National Director. The top 13 candidates (men and women) were then asked if they felt God calling them to the position. Of those 13, four of them felt compelled to walk forward – leading to a three month application and review process with the National Board, who would then choose a final candidate.The last phase of the nomination process is a movement wide confirmation of the nominated National Director by each of the local churches.

It is too this last phase of the process that I would like to draw your attention as the National Board has proposed Phil Strout as the next Vineyard USA National Director.

As he awaits the final confirmation for the local churches within the movement, Phil has posted a video introducing himself and sharing his heart for the Vineyard. I would highly recommend everyone (inside or outside the Vineyard) to watch this video as I believe it caries a message for the church in general.

Continue reading Introduction by the Newly Proposed Vineyard National Director