The Vineyard is a people with shared values and priorities, with common goals.
Historically, as programs and human effort replaced the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the church, the buildings became identified as “churches,” while church literally means “God’s called-out people.” To identify the Vineyard is to identify the people who share in fellowship together. Currently, there are approximately 600 Vineyard churches in the U.S. and 2,400 in other nations. Together, these churches share common goals and values, among others:
We are in love with Jesus Christ, and enjoy nothing more than telling Him – especially by singing to Him! We like to constantly sing new songs to the Lord, and we love doing it together in celebration. Though singing is only a part of worship, we find growing intimacy and fulfillment in loving the Lord through music. As a result, worship is a high priority. Worship is willingly yielding our bodies as living sacrifices to God because He’s shown us His love, and we want it – we want Him. Expressing our love to God is the spontaneous response to the experience of His presence.
We love each other – and even like each other! When we’re in fellowship with God, we find ourselves reaching out to one another as well. Though there are difficult times producing growth in every relationship, we’re committed to being built together as God’s dwelling place, the Body of Christ on earth. As a result, developing redemptive relationships is a priority for us. We make a point to meet in small and large groups to worship, to learn, to pray, to comfort, and to counsel one another, to know and be known, to pray for and receive healing. We’re constantly seeking to release an atmosphere of love and acceptance to encourage the development of friendships, security and wholeness.
We are seekers, learners, “disciples” of Jesus Christ. Having been born into His kingdom, we are hungry to become like Jesus, to think as He thinks, to see as He sees, to do what He’s doing – to love with His love. As a result, we believe training is essential and devote much time to it. We are committed to studying God’s Word and to receiving from all the resources available in His church. But for us, teaching must lead to experience. We don’t want to be an audience, but an army – healed, strengthened, and equipped to do what Jesus did and is doing.
We have been hurt and are being healed. Physically and emotionally, separation from God has taken its toll. Failure to experience God’s available wholeness can leave us discouraged. As those who are experiencing the mercy and compassion of God, we are now rejoicing in forgiveness, and being restored in our minds and bodies. It’s a process punctuated with frequent crises! As a result, healing is a priority for us. Jesus proclaimed the good news of God’s kingdom, made an entrance for us through His death and resurrection, taught us how to enter and experience His kingdom, and demonstrated healing as evidence of His kingdom. We are committed to the process of being healed, and of teaming to cooperate with God in His healing of others at every level.
We are increasingly aware of our utter dependence on the Holy Spirit. We’ve been struggling to “be Christians” and have often served God in our own strength. This results in weak Christians, weak churches, and a gospel that has little effect in our lives and the life of the community. In our weakness and desperation, God’s Comforter has revived us and shown us His power to be and to do for us what we can’t be and do for ourselves. As a result, seeking and yielding to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit is an essential priority. We are willing to take risks in our desire to honor His administration. We recognize that His gifts are tools that enable us to continue the work of Jesus, and that His presence is our power. We don’t want to row, we want to sail.
We are excited about what God is doing around the world, and realize that His work is not limited to any group. We have been blessed by others and continue to learn from many. As a result, we want to bless all those that call on the name of Jesus Christ as Lord. We want to participate in the movement and ministry of God everywhere we have an opportunity, regardless of denominational and doctrinal differences.
We want to serve the Lord out of love, using our gifts and talents as He provides opportunity. We don’t want to learn forever without putting to work what we know. We believe the best training comes from doing, and that Jesus taught by modeling, explaining, and then sending His disciples out “to do” what they were taught. We feel every Christian is Jesus’ disciple … part of the army, involved in evangelism, healing, comforting, training. As a result, we see the release of ministry as a priority. We understand the role of leadership is to “equip” God’s people to fulfill their potential in the power of the Holy Spirit – to release them to serve, not just here, but in other cities and nations as God directs them.
We are concerned about the poor, the hurting, and those who need God’s salvation. As God’s love touches our hearts and expands our world view, we see as Jesus saw, and feel compassion for the poor, sick, and needy. As a result, we are committed to sharing spiritual and material help with those in need as God gives us resources and direction. We want to help both those who are local and those who are in various parts of the world as practically as possible, sending people and teams who have prepared through training to demonstrate the love of God. “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” I Tim. 1:5 (CEV).
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