Cambodia Initiative / Could God be calling you?

Cambodia Initiative: Phnom Penh, June 2016

After five years of exploratory visits, prayer and planning, the Vineyard Churches of Aotearoa New Zealand have sensed God’s leading to pioneer church planting work in Cambodia over the rest of this decade.

In the first two weeks of June 2016, a first New Zealand Vineyard team will join with our Cambodian friends and contacts in Phnom Penh in gatherings devoted to practical, powerful kingdom ministry.

We are looking for a team of up to 20 to join us in this ground-breaking work. If you are interested in taking part, please email Vic Francis and Clark Alcock on cambodiainitiative@vineyard.org.nz for an application form, then join us for one of two preliminary meetings – in Auckland at The Vineyard Conference (October 1-3) or in Christchurch at the Encounter conference (November 5-7).

Applications close November 30 and we will select the team before Christmas so we can spend the early months of 2016 preparing for our Cambodia initiative to begin. 

Making the most of a public space

by Fran Francis of Shore Vineyards

Over 20 years’ experience in rented halls comes to you right here!

Use your senses: Sight (add light or colour). Smell (add a reed diffuser – not too feminine/flowery. Go for fresh). Sound (add floor coverings to help absorb sound). Feel (add screens/arrange seating in a way that feels humane). Taste (how’s the hospitality? Good coffee? Great baking?).

People don’t like to rattle around in a space that is too big, nor to be jammed into a space that is too small. People need about a square metre each to feel “just right”. If you don’t have that much room for each person – time to move! In fact, if your space is 70% full people will perceive it as too crowded so you will lose them.

If the space is big you have to make it more intimate and the best way is with screens. Large “office divider” screens arranged in a semi-circle at the end of the hall going lengthways will draw the eye to that point. That’s where the worship team will stand and you can arrange seating in one block or two (with a central aisle) according to your numbers and the kind of seats you have. Hessian from Spotlight or Harveys is an affordable way to change the colour scheme. Velcro strips along the top of the fabric, which just happens to be the perfect width for those screens, makes it easy to attach. You can then use this backdrop to hang a painting, an A1 poster that illustrates the sermon theme or hang a wreath at Christmas…

This semi-circle of screens can be placed as far forward or back in the space as you need. For example, in the summer numbers are often reduced while families are on holiday so move the screens forward to create a smaller gathering area and put out fewer chairs. On special days such as Christmas Eve or Easter, move it back so there is room to accommodate visitors.

Why a semi-circle? Because curves are organic and “friendlier” than hard lines.

Folding Japanese-style screens from The Warehouse or folding fabric screens off TradeMe are lightweight and relatively cheap. Use these to create the same effect if you don’t have access to 2m x 140 office screens. They are easier to store, which is often an issue in rented spaces.

Vintage standard lamps with or without shades are great for brightening the room. Or go for an industrial look if that fits better

Dampening sound on wooden floors can be achieved by using carpet runners. Anything from hardwearing rubber-backed “garage” carpet from The Warehouse to vintage Axminster-patterned hall runners could be considered. We have used a combination of charcoal grey rubber-backed commercial carpet with colourful Trade Aid rugs to cheer things up a bit. Make sure you eliminate trip and slip hazards – remember your “public liability”! We taped ours to the floor each week, covering sound leads and cords at the same time.

What’s the lighting like in your space? Too gloomy? Vintage standard lamps with or without shades are great for brightening the room. Or go for an industrial look if that fits better. The design rule for lighting is three points of light in a domestic room – scale it up for your space. In fact, three is pretty much the magic number. If you can’t afford a big semi-circle of screens, which would likely be seven, get three and space them out a little bit.

Make sure the tea and coffee area is attractive and accessibe. We used to use two vintage drop-sided wooden tables (easier storing) and coffee plungers, matching teapots and polka dot cake tins with the week’s baking in them. At another venue we used two trestle tables with covers made from coffee sacks to disguise the trestle. A layer of clear plastic from Spotlight protected the fabric from inevitable spills.

Change it up seasonally. How can you make it special for Holy Days? Lent, Easter, Advent, Christmas, baby dedications, Mother’s and Father’s Days, or special preaching themes. This is your shop window – dress it up!


Starting something new

by Lloyd Rankin, Vineyard national director

In his book The E-myth, Michael Gerber talks about the myth that you have to be a gifted entrepreneur to start a business.

Gerber found that entrepreneurs are often great at kicking something off, or having the initial idea, but often fail to turn the idea into a successful business. It takes planning, systems and work to make it fly.

From this, I would conclude that you have an advantage if you have a bit of an apostolic gifting – but that it isn’t necessary.

Remember, most churches in the book of Acts weren’t started by the apostles – they were started by ordinary believers who had been scattered all over Asia and just lived the new life among their community.

What makes you mad, sad or glad?

Starting something new is both a gift and a skill – gifts like faith, the prophetic and leadership; and skills such as courage, leadership, building team and casting vision.

Having said that, though, only a few great ideas ever come to fruition.

Most people have dreams, some people have visions, but not many do something with their dreams and visions.

So how do you know when to start something?

Often it comes in the form of what makes you mad, sad or glad.

When I became involved in church planting, it came after a period of frustration with the religiosity I found in church life when it came to bringing my friends. So I dreamed of starting a church that my friends could join, a church that had as many cultural barriers removed as possible (language, practices, focus etc).

My life of planting churches started from feeling sad and a bit mad. These days my motivation is much more about glad. I love seeing people come to Jesus in our churches and grow and do well in life.

It has been said to find a need and meet it, find a hurt and heal it. When we start something new we stand between two things – a perceived need and a possible and preferable answer to the need.

Once we have decided to start something, it’s helpful to clarify what we have heard. Is God saying you should do something? Is God saying you should join someone else who is doing something? Is God saying now or in the future?

We then crystallise the plan by sharing the dream with trusted people, though this also opens you to negative responses. However, sometimes the push back serves to clarify the vision.

Then we get to make a plan:

What: Start with the problem you hope to solve, or the need you hope to meet.

How: Then how will you do that.

Who: Who will you do it with

When: When will you do it

Where: Where will you do this

Why: Start with why and end with why.

Building a team becomes essential at this point. The most common mistake in starting something is not having enough people at the outset. Groups don’t form just because you put an advertisement in the newsletter or create a Facebook event.

Always begin with a minimum of five or six people if you are starting a small group, people you know will be there at the kickoff event. Give people a task to do, and they are much more likely to be there.

Set the timetable and goals and work to your plan, while remembering planning is everything but the plan is nothing.

Face your fears – fear of failure, fear of presumption, fear of it not working.

So go ahead and start! You never know how influential your great idea could be unless you try.

 

Becoming a church the unchurched love

by Mark and Tina Salisbury, of Journey Vineyard in Tauranga

God invites the church to be a place of worship, a place to gather, a place to celebrate, a place of teaching and discipleship . . . but also a safe place that He can bring the lost and broken who are desperately seeking.

The longer we attempt to do this at Journey Vineyard, the more we’re learning that unless you intentionally build culture (like becoming a church for the unchurched) into your church community, it probably won’t happen.

We want to be a church that creates a safe place for people who do not know the love of God to come and encounter His transforming power. We use the tagline “Belong, Believe, Become”.

We have three main points to share about creating a church culture the unchurched love:

Creating a culture of acceptance and grace

Jesus accepted us all – as is, where is. There weren't any conditions beyond, believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, for us to enter into relationship with Him. Isaiah 55 says to all who are thirsty, come to the waters and drink. We need to create a place that all who are being drawn to discover God are welcome.

Jesus accepted people exactly as they came to Him. He loved them where He found them and then transformed them with love and grace and truth. So should we.

But we can unknowingly place barriers in front of people who are seeking. They don't know our dress code, our language, our traditions, or culture. Coming to church for the first time is scary for those unfamiliar with it. They carry all kinds of assumptions and expectations of what we and God may think of them. It takes great courage or even desperation to walk through our doors. Will we judge them? Will we reject them? Are they good enough? We need to show them the same grace Jesus gave us.

Having a large front porch, wide front door environment allows people to discover or grow closer to Jesus in community.

Jesus accepted people exactly as they came to Him. He loved them where He found them and then transformed them with love and grace and truth. So should we.

We have been very intentional in creating a safe culture for people to come into, teaching our people to be welcoming of others however they come. One of the life groups we have run annually for those new to Journey Vineyard is called “No Perfect People Allowed”, taken from the book of the same title by John Burke. This tool has been a huge help to intentionally reinforce and promote our culture.

Creating a culture of being real (authentic)

Most of us when we were kids spent many hours pretending to be someone who caught our imagination – having super powers, being doctors, nurses, firemen, soldiers . . . pastors.

Unfortunately many adults carry on this behaviour into adulthood, wearing all sorts of masks and thinking they need to be something they aren’t. Even in our churches.

We challenge the “nice” answers and seek the “real” ones. We invite people into a place of authenticity.

It’s okay to struggle, to question, even to stumble. People are terrified that if they were to be real they wouldn’t be accepted, so they hide. They hide in plain site around us. But as we are real and they see a healthy community, where people may question and doubt and stumble, but they are surrounded, encouraged and supported to keep going and growing, they feel safe, the barriers come down, the masks begin to come off and lives are transformed.

Jesus said He came to set the captives free. And we don't think that only refers to our sinful natures, but also being released from expectations and burdens that others have put on us and we have put on ourselves.

We have found that people love and are attracted to a community that pursues being real with each other. It’s liberating for people when they hear that we, the leaders, or others in the community, haven't got it all together. It frees them to be real. We remind each other we are all on a journey and none of us has arrived yet.

Creating a loving community

On the last Sunday of each month we have a meeting that is a little different, where someone in our community shares their story. Perhaps it’s how they encountered Jesus, or maybe what He is doing in their life right now. After the message we have a shared meal. Sharing food together and the natural conversations that happen over a meal are fantastic ways to build relationships, friendships and generally get to know each other better.

We have found that people love and are attracted to a community that pursues being real with each other.

These are usually our biggest Sundays of the month and the ones where people bring their unchurched family and friends. The feedback from these guests is always so positive, and they often come back. As a wise pastor once told us, people may come for events or programmes, but they stay for relationships.

John 13:34 says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Another way we try to intentionally create a sense of community is beginning our time together with coffee and tea and mingling for 20 minutes before worship.

Over these few short years we have seen random acts of kindness spontaneously spring up as one family in need provides for another. We’ve seen people doing chores for others because they are on bed rest, food boxes delivered, countless meals provided, homeless youth given places to stay. To see this happen spontaneously is a sign of a healthy, loving community.

We are aware the church can be very big on truth and sometimes not so big on grace. We cannot be either/or. To become a church the unchurched love, we need to be both/and.

So let’s open the door wide, let’s allow the extravagant, lavish love of Jesus to pour through us, let’s lovingly engage the world around us and offer the broken and thirsty the Living Water they seek.

FAITH AND BUSINESS

by Phil Bull, CEO of Blue Barn Consulting and member of Coast Vineyard

Blue Barn Consulting provides engineering consulting advice to the public and private sector in areas of roads, pipes, land development, bridges, parks and buildings.

We have grown at meteoric speed some years and laid people off in others. We have had projects go swimmingly well with our clients loving everything we do and the odd one get mired in difficulties. We have been cash rich and cash strapped. For the record, cash-rich is better! We have struggled with poor work spaces, few resources and clunky systems and been blessed with the opposite.

Through it all, I have learnt to apply our company value of “People Matter” and trust God always – work my tail off, of course, sowing seed, but trust God always for the harvest.

For all of us, our businesses or places of work provide us tremendous opportunity to connect with non-church folk. And my work is very important to me. But in the very end I know I will be measured in terms of the people I have met and influenced and the faithfulness with which I have sought out and pursued God’s will for my life.

Let’s talk about business:

People and profits

If you think God is going to do all of the work in your business (or, in your life, for that matter) you are almost certainly going to be disappointed. You have to get into the game.

Although He would do a much better job Himself, He chooses almost always to work through His people in seeing His kingdom extended and His will outworked here on earth. There are all sorts of reasons for this but one of the biggies is that is how we grow. Our character is shaped through persistence in the face of adversity.

As business leaders we are being called on every day to make judgments often affecting real people and families and often in areas of grey. We need wisdom and courage in large doses.

In terms of hard work, business offers plenty. So if you are keen to grow in your faith I do not know a better place. It forces us all to be brutally honest with our performance – there is no hiding behind platitudes and visions if the business is losing money.

Let me make no bones about it – a business’ primary function is to make profit. If you are not making profit you are not in a business, you are in a hobby, and you better have some other way to make the money you need to live.

If you do not believe me, try this exercise: ask yourself a series of “how” questions in response to the “why you are in business”:

Why are you in business? To help people earn an income and support their families.

How will we do that? By serving our customers well with a product they love.

How will we do that? By hiring the best people in the game.

How will we do that? By paying them well and offering them an exciting career trajectory.

How will we do that? By being profitable and growing the business to provide career opportunities.

How will we do that? By investing in the business and a high-growth strategy.

How will we fund that? By being profitable.

Profit is the oxygen a business breathes. It is like any one of us – we need oxygen simply to live.

Once that is a given, we can work out our call, express our values, grow a family and hopefully make a meaningful contribution to the world we live in.

A business is very much the same. Once it is profitable (or “breathing”) it has life. Once it has life all sorts of opportunities open up: to open an office in a Third World country supporting the local communities with employment and business choices (perhaps providing a pathway to freedom for men and women caught up in human trafficking); or to invest in the R&D of a product that can simplify or improve people’s lives; or to give away to organisations and individuals doing great work in the prisons or with disaffected youth.

Profits often provide the mechanism to support the expression of our faith or calling. Or to support others in the expression of their faith.

And do not play games with profit. It has to be truly profitable to be a business. If you play games with the books – perhaps not drawing a market salary yourself and then declaring yourself profitable as a result – you are kidding yourself.

Keep the books clean. Pay your taxes. And remember that People Matter. If we ever lose sight of the fact that profit exists to serve a bigger purpose then we really have lost our way. It is never profit at all costs.

It is good for the soul to get to the end of a bruising week with difficult staff or losses on the P&L and sing praises to God that declare his provision in all things.

Always remember that we are blessed to bless. Money and riches in and of themselves are a meaningless and dead-end pursuit, even if they are being deployed for a grand purpose. We have only to look at Solomon’s well-funded pursuit of the meaning of life to see that. It’s all meaningless was his conclusion!

True contentment and happiness is only found in Him. Money will come and go; as will every single thing we may be tempted to place our trust in – our health, friendships, good name, family, bank account, business. The Bible’s wisdom is very clear – in the very end heaven and earth will be rolled up like an old cloak and it will pass away, only his Word remains.

As we enjoy blessings and our businesses prosper – remind yourself that making profit is not an end in itself. It is simply a “vital sign” that your business is alive. Now you can get on with the living itself – blessing others with what God has blessed you.

Running a business

So, how do we marry up our kingdom outlook with daily business needs?

First, and sorry to bang on - but do not lose sight of the profit imperative! Without profits you are seriously constrained in what you can do (at an organisational level) to express your faith or outwork your call or help people.

Second, remember that life is a series of moments. John Lennon said that, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” No matter what we do for a business, we all still have to get up every morning, put our work clothes on, kiss the wife or husband goodbye, drive to work and go about our day.

It is all well and good having a clever strategic plan and 5-year plan and vision statement and mission statement and the rest of it. And these things are all very good – in fact, imperative for a business with any aspiration at all.

Jesus went on a journey to Jerusalem. You might call it his strategic goal or mission. Yet along the way life happened – we know that he healed two men just out of Jericho, he met the Samaritan woman by the well and told her of her own life, and he told many parables.

It is safe to assume, too, that over the days the journey may have taken that everyday life happened. They ate, they walked, they talked. And in each of those moments there was an opportunity to express faith and build a little of God’s kingdom.

And each of these things may have been perceived as a distraction from the mission, whereas in fact they were the very fabric of the bigger mission of life.

“People Matter” is Blue Barn’s core value. How this works out in practice is in every moment of every day. We deal with clients and staff and partners and suppliers all day every day and we do our very best to ensure we treat all people with respect and dignity – remembering that we have to face our maker in the end.

Does this mean we are “soft”? Nup. Remember the first rule? If making profits is our oxygen, sometimes there are hard conversations with clients about extra payments for extra work requested; or with suppliers to drive down our costs; or with staff who didn’t get the desk space they wanted or salary increases they thought they deserved. Or, sometimes, layoffs because work has dried up.

But always, in the midst of this, we remember that God is above all and that He loves people. And we need to too.

Thirdly, get to church – recalibrate.

It is pretty tough out there sometimes. As business leaders we are being called on every day to make judgments often affecting real people and families and often in areas of grey. We need wisdom and courage in large doses to discharge our duty well before God and before men.

And it is very easy to lose our way. We are often surrounded by worldly thought and practice and this can innoculate us against God’s higher ways. Some practices that are not good can become quite normalised in our minds by the constant exposure.

The only antidote to this that I know is regular church attendance. And by regular I mean weekly. It is good for the soul to get to the end of a bruising week with difficult staff or losses on the P&L and sing praises to God that declare his provision in all things or hear a message of truth to counter the lies that may have confused you over the week.

I think of it as a recalibration. And of course it is good for us all, not just business people. I do know, however, how very essential it has been for me to keep me pointing north.

Fourth, seek counsel. And not always from church folk – although they can be helpful. Find the very best advice you can.

One thing I have observed is that successful, sustainable business usually follows some pretty biblical principles: expect profit (like the men with their talents) and if you do not get it from one area of the business cut it off (like the unfruitful branch); sowing and reaping; a soft answer turns away wrath; listen carefully, speak slowly; adopt a servant’s heart in your business …

It can be quite humbling really – there are many very good businesses out there without a shred of faith at their core outworking these kinds of principles very successfully because they work.

What is Church? Part Three

by Vic Francis

“If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good!”
— 1 Timothy 3:1, Message

Or, if you will let me for a moment seriously mess with scripture, “If no one wants to provide leadership in the church, bad!”

Recognised, biblical leadership is a hallmark of the church – along with gathering and worship and fellowship, as already discussed in this What is Church? series.

So let’s consider what recognised and biblical leadership might entail.

A church needs recognised leaders – those who take responsibility in some way for the people and who are very much trying to be in tune with where God is leading them. These leaders may be appointed by vote or proclamation or even by accident – but they are essential if a church is to truly find its purpose and destiny.

Once they’re recognised, they need to be free in themselves and freed by their churches to actually lead, and Vineyard New Zealand national director Lloyd Rankin boils this role down to three key areas:

  • Receive and implement vision.
  • Raise up other leaders.
  • Ask the why questions (why we do what we do).

Sound easy? Well, if you’re a leader you will know it’s not! But it’s a good thing to try!

We are, indeed, servants who lead, not leaders who serve. That’s biblical leadership in a nutshell, and it should be a hallmark of the church.

So leaders need to be recognised; and leadership also needs to be biblical. What, then, is a biblical leader? 

Actually, the Bible is surprisingly (and encouragingly) elusive when it comes to defining leadership or describing who or what makes a good leader. 

Even a study of biblical leaders is inconclusive because they vary so much in personality, situation, achievement and strategy. Some were clearly God-ordained and gifted leaders with a title to match – among them Joseph, the Old Testament kings and the apostles and elders in the New Testament. Others never had any recognised title, instead leading by the authority of who they were and God’s evident anointing – Jesus and Paul would be among those. Some were reluctant leaders (Moses, Gideon), some were unlikely leaders (David, Esther), some were doomed leaders (Saul, many of the kings). All were flawed (except Jesus). 

Biblical leadership, then, doesn’t seem to be restricted to any particular type of personality. Ephesians 4:11-12 suggests leaders will come with all types of giftedness – pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets, apostles. The Bible is cautious on inexperienced leaders, but youth per se doesn’t seem to be an obstacle (Jeremiah 1:7). And while there appear to be some circumstantial biblical restrictions on women in leadership, it’s clear that women as well as men were leaders in the New Testament church (Romans 16).

What we can say with confidence is that leadership is God’s idea – he even bestows a gift of leadership (Romans 12:8). But we can also say with surety that God even more strongly desires his leaders to be men and women of high character. In fact, the two major New Testament passages on leadership (1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9) are far more concerned with the qualities of the leader than with job descriptions or key performance indicators. Vineyard churches worldwide have embraced this by valuing “character over giftedness” when they assess a candidate for a leadership position.

As with all things, however, Jesus is our model for leadership.

Jesus, as already mentioned, led from personal and spiritual authority rather than any title or formal role. And while that in no way negates a title as a legitimate means of reflecting calling or responsibility, it is a timely reminder that we need to lead by influence, anointing, vision and character more than from our position as a pastor, leader or minister. In fact, there are few things more pathetic than a leader who has to pull rank to get his or her followers to respond.

Jesus’ leadership style was vastly different to many business-inspired models of church leadership we see today. Indeed, “servant” is the word most commonly used to describe Jesus the leader, while the New Testament word for “minister”, diakonos, also means “servant, one who waits on tables”. So while a “minister” or “pastor” would today most often be identified as a clergyman or preacher, the origins of the word show that person should essentially be a servant leader to be faithful to the essence of the role.

We are, indeed, servants who lead, not leaders who serve. That’s biblical leadership in a nutshell, and it should be a hallmark of the church.

Engaging with your community

by John and Corrina Sheed, pastors, MountainView Vineyard, Stratford

Vineyard founder John Wimber said, “The meat is in the street”. That’s our community!

Early on in our church planting in Stratford, God spoke to us from Nehemiah, who saw Jerusalem was in ruins and the walls were broken down. He rose to the challenge to rebuild the walls.

The Stratford community is our part of the wall and we need to diligently and intentionally go about restoring and building our part of the kingdom.

Our goals:

  • Community transformation.
  • To see the kingdom here in our community one relationship at a time.
  • To be relevant, have a face and a voice. This means having outreaches that equate to people knowing who we are, where we are and what we do.
  • Getting our people into places of influence – community boards, school boards etc.

And we outwork those goals through the church, the community and the church and community together:

Church

We prayerfully seek God about His heart for Stratford and look for ways to make the Gospel relevant to the worldview and culture of the people of Taranaki. Seeking his heart and finding the key to the doors for this season.

  • Hearing from God – the call.
  • Making the choice to commit – for the long haul.             
  • Praying through – casting the vision – forming a team.
  • Turning ideas into reality – mobilising.

Community

God passionately loves Stratford - our community – and we have to love it too. We want to be deliberate to work in and engage with our community., identifying our needs such as after-school care, Christian-based childcare. We have also been involved in:

  • Random acts of kindness – trolleys at the supermarket, morning teas for businesses, police, fire department, WINZ etc, gardening, firewood, food parcels.
  • Ways  to touch base with families – Music4Kidz, Light Party, Airsoft.
  • See a need, fill a need – some of our congregation help at individual schools, youth at school camps and we have recently been approached to provide “playground mentors” in our largest primary school.
  • Meals when we hear of a need – bereavement, new baby, sickness etc.

Church and community

Church is the centre of everything we do and our worship service is the most important gathering of the week.

What is God calling you to in your part of the wall?

We come together to implement projects that benefit all; it’s not “them” and “us” but “we”.

Our OSCAR programme and Gr8Kidz have been an effective bridge into our community.

Conclusion

We have sought God’s heart, have an amazing family who are on board and we go about our part of the kingdom.

We aim to keep the main thing the main thing and there is a lot that we can do. We remain prayerful and continue to look for the “right” way for us to go. We look for what the Father is doing and get on board. The kingdom is an adventure and each of us has a story to tell from our investment in it.

So what is God calling you to in your part of the wall?


Releasing missions from the local church

by Martin Baty, pastor Capital Vineyard

The object of this article is to assist people who have a passion to see the Kingdom of God extended beyond the four walls of the local church. Primarily the focus will be on cross- cultural missions, but the content will slot into Missions: Local, Near and Far. 

Hopefully this will encourage us to simply “Rise Up” and “Do Something”, or if we are already doing stuff to go and do more. Also, where there is little interest or perhaps little understanding about missions on the part of local church leadership, this will provide some guidance towards resolving this and implementing a missions programme in your church.

I will divide this up into three main categories with the acronym AIM – All Called, Initiate (Ignite), Maintain.

A = All Called

All means All. That is, every one of us. We are ALL “On A Mission from God”. We have been given a mandate by Jesus to share the good news of the Kingdom Of God to all peoples (every nation and people group). 

Matthew 28:19-20a, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

John 20:21, Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 

Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the good news.” 

Luke 24:47, “Repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning with Jerusalem.”

Matthew 24:14, “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come.”

Zechariah 4: 6, “Not by might not by power but by my Spirit.”

From the time of Abraham it was always God’s intention to use His people to be a blessing to others (Gen 12: 2-3).

Missiologist Arthur F. Glasser: “God’s programme for evangelism of the world involves the local church. Unless local congregations are firmly established in each population centre that has been evangelised there can be no satisfactory way of conserving the results of evangelism.”

CMS missions leader Michael Green: “There can be no doubt from a candid examination of the New Testament accounts that the prime purpose of the coming of the Spirit of God upon the disciples was to equip them for missions. The comforter comes not to allow men to be comfortable but to make them missionaries.”

Vineyard is a church planting movement that believes the most effective means of global evangelism is through church planting in all nations. As family members of the Vineyard we, too, must be committed to taking the Good News of the Kingdom to all peoples.

I = Initiate (Ignite)

Do something. 

Don’t pressurise the pastor/leaders. In many cases they might not have a grid for missions. Just focusing on the local congregation may be all they can handle. 

Have a plan – pray, meet with your pastor/leaders and offer to start something. Here are some possibilities:

·       Meet with a group of interested people to pray and gather ideas. 

·       Missions Sundays two or three times a year with guest speakers.

·       Projects/sponsorship, which raise an awareness of cross-cultural missions.

·       Run a missions course, such as “Perspectives on World Christian Movement”, Vineyard College papers etc, followed by a short-term missions trip. Studying with a group and then going on a short-term trip will ignite something. Ideally get the senior pastor/leaders on a trip. 

You may also like to partner with other churches in mission, which offers wonderful opportunities. By banding together, a number of smaller churches can achieve a most effective cross-cultural mission. By pooling resources such as training, logistics, equipment, contacts, skills and finance, their ability to impact is multiplied. Several churches working together (synergy) can see a new work finally established. 

Step out and have a go. If you wait until you have enough money or until everything is perfect then you’ll never do anything. Faith is spelt RISK.

M = Maintain

It’s easy to initiate something, but maintaining it requires real commitment. It seems that with missions it’s easy to let it drop off the radar.  Some suggestions for missions maintenance:

·       Missions budget: Shows commitment and will keep it on the radar.

·       Missions team: A committed missions team with vision together with the support of church leadership is essential if we are going to go the distance.

·       Support something or someone involved in cross-cultural missions.

·       Attend VCANZ missions round table events to be aware of what’s happening in our movement.

So let’s AIM for something together and Go Do His Work His Way knowing that He will supply the resources.

Why the Vineyard? Matt Lilly

We're asking Vineyard leaders all over the country the question, "Why the Vineyard?"

Matt Lilly, who pastors Coast Vineyard in Whangaparaoa with his wife Jacinda, shares that having a high priority for encountering God is one of the big reasons why he loves the Vineyard.