After my last blog a good friend of mine, I will call him Ray,(could be his real name:) left me this on my facebook page: “I've never thought it was either-or, this or that. Power Evangelism and Spirit-filled church planting is what we're about!” I think he made my point for me really or at least helped me sort it out a bit more. Yes, church planting is a big part of the Vineyard and my point would be it needs to be more from the leading of the Spirit than just a numbers kind of deal, trying to reach a quota...and we have been a movement, a kingdom of God movement, that should have signs and wonders following. Shouldn’t we? Isn’t that what Jesus said? I was talking with a friend just yesterday who is on staff at a church, not a Vineyard, but very much in the vein of a Vineyard church. I remember a time when he brought some of the people from his church body to one of our worship nights and he had a word of knowledge for someone with a fibula problem. No one came forward and we still laugh about it...but he was going for it...and they stopped...to look better..to grow bigger. He said they are now realizing that even though they began with inviting the Holy Spirit and moving in the things of the Spirit, they had moved away from that to become a little safer for those visiting. Kind of like, “Sure we speak in tongues and pray for the sick but you won’t find that out for quite a while.” Now they are moving back towards the move of the Spirit...where they began. At one point he sensed the Spirit said this to him, “ Remember the scene in the garden where Peter cuts of the ear of one of the soldiers? This is what it has been like for Me trying to move around you...you are always protecting others...from Me! From what I was trying to do!” That cut close to the heart there.
So sure church planting is part of the Vineyard movement...but so is worship...so is experiencing God and His Spirit...so is ministry to the poor. It should all be the part...even the part we cannot control...His Spirit. I love what Bill Johnson has to say about the move of the Spirit. It kind of goes like this, “People always want to quote 1 Corinthians to us, you know everything done decently and in order...well what if we used Acts 2 to define what decent and orderly looked like?” (not perfect quote but close) My friend yesterday said it is time for us all to recognize the real trinity...Father, Son, and Spirit...not Father, Son, and the Bible. I think we have become a bit embarrassed by the Spirit, you know like He is our odd relative that we have to kind of apologize for ahead of time...but He is God! Not like God...or a part of God...GOD! He does not move on His own, randomly, He moves in complete unity and coordination with the Father and Son...a dance like no other dance. And we have been invited to join this dance...to be loving community with them. What an invitation!
So my little rant concerning my Vineyard family is just a cry to let God out of the box! Remember He is a supernatural God and we desire to be naturally supernatural...let Him be supernatural...and let’s join Him. Dust off “Power Evangelism” and read it again...dig out “Power Healing” and give it a whirl. Then read “Empowered Evangelical” and remember that is who we said we were...with an emphasis on “empowered” . Then as we work to save our planet we are ready for the Spirit to lead us into divine encounters...as we fight for social justice we also heal the sick...as we become “Vineyard scholars" we can also prove from scripture how the Spirit still moves today. It should not be an either or as Ray said...it is a both and. Look up the series, “Signs and Wonders and Church Growth” (something like that” and remember that teaching as we go.
So I love my Vineyard family...and I am too old to make much a difference in the movement now...but I can sure try, can’t I?