Why does the Vineyard talk in the language of values? Because John [Wimber] primarily wanted to build a church that people who he knew before he met Christ would want to go to. The church would have to feel like “home” to those sorts of people, it would have to taste, smell, sound, dress, talk and be like them without compromising the gospel. This is the task of every missionary–to contextualise the gospel to a culture, or to make the gospel “fit” the culture so it is not seen as “foreign”. Being trained in sociology and willing to use its language, John wanted to create a church that had many of the same values as the people he was trying to reach, a church that would express his own values as someone who came to Christ from a non-church background in his thirties.
The dangers of this approach are the same for any missionary who attempts this process. We can go so far that we become no different from those we are trying to reach and compromise the gospel – syncretism. In the other direction, shunning the culture, we can become such a sub-culture, so different from the prevailing cultural values, that we ourselves are a hindrance to conversion and can only grow by families having more children and transfer growth. The Amish are Christians, but how many new converts do they get?