Thoughts on 2015 Vineyard Leaders Meeting in Ft. Lauderdale:
I always look forward to gathering with our tribal elders each year. This year had an extra bit of oomph, if I may call it that. The reconnecting is on all of our minds for we are spread out across the nation & rarely get to spend time together. I consider it a wonderful honor & blessing to be able to attend as an Area Leader. Humble, joyful, generous, all terms I would use to describe this group of men & women. But there is also a deep passion & commitment to seeing the Kingdom come on the earth, as it is in heaven. So, here’s some numbers, info, things to celebrate, if you’re a part of the Vineyard. If you’re not, then please pray for us as we partner with all our fellow followers of Christ in joining what the Father is doing on the earth:
* Reminded that we are about 3 things – Presence of God, Proclamation of the Gospel, Practical Application
* “Just do & say what the church has been doing & saying for thousands of years.”
* “Preach the Good News over & over again.”
* “If everybody who goes to our church are Christians, well that would be a scary thought.”
* “The only thing you really have to bring to your town, your city, is the Gospel.”
* “I want to contend for the lost tonight.”
* William Booth’s (Salvation Army founder) vision was read [http://www.sermonindex.net]
* “Lost” means something valuable is missing, something worth the search, the sacrifice & cost to find.
* Jay Pathak shared with passion & tears his desire to see his neighbors come to know Christ.
* One of the most touching times was when it was declared that we do not control the seasons. However, for the Vineyard, winter is over! “See! The winter is past; the rains are over & gone.” Song 2:11 Spring follows winter, which is a season of work; of planting, sowing, tilling the soil. It’s time to go to work church!
* We are called to be witnesses to God’s lavish love.”
* We heard of a 79 year old church planter & a revival among children; 4 year olds praying for healing & God doing it!
* Children can make a difference in this world now!”
* “What if our (older Vineyardites) ceiling became their (children in Vineyard) floor?”
* Rick O., says, “What I hear from this generation is,’Do you see me? Do I matter? Do you want me?'”
* Becky O., says another revival is coming & this one will include the children.
* 183,500 Vineyard church members in US (last survey)
* 567 pastors
* 77 area leaders
* 16 regional leaders
* 16 executive board members
* 1 national director
* 567 churches in U.S.
* 2,400 churches around the world
* Many of us older pastors have seen, experienced revival before. One pastor said,”I’ve seen it on the front end as a young man, I believe I will see it on the back end as an old man.”
* We heard so many amazing testimonies of children coming to Christ, millions in short periods of time coming to Christ in other countries, Muslims watching how loving & committed the church was to their safety & well-being, that they came as a group to join the church.
* “It’s not the knowing it, it’s doing it that will change the world.”
* “It’s not about gender, it’s about gifting.”
* “The young want us to mentor them.”
* John Wimber quote,”The most important thing a pastor does is…keep the doors open!”
My personal takeaways?
1. The winter is over. Time to sow, water, get in the fields & go to work in our local churches & globally.
2. I need to stop being so concerned about form, be more concerned with people. Stop being overly concerned with “how” & get seriously concerned about “who.”
3. I wrote this in my journal, “We pastors feel lost because we have lost our love for the lost. We wander around testing out forms all the while becoming deformed in our hearts, when it comes to making the main thing, the main thing. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, not my cool form of church. Preach the Good News!”