Here are the most read, watched and listened to resources of the year from Vineyard Churches.
We have a new release from Vineyard Record UK coming out called My Soul Yearns on 30 June, so place your order now.
Blurb from the VRUK website:
"It was recorded live at the 2011 Vineyard National Leaders Conference with 1000 attendees comprising of leaders from the UK and European Vineyard churches, ‘My Soul Yearns’ offers an album of new and recently released worship songs that capture the heart and passion of Vineyard worship.
"With the opening title track that speaks of our desire to draw closer to God, through to the triumphal anthem of God’s all conquering love for His people (The Lamb Has Conquered), and finishing with a declaration of the King’s reign on this earth (Jesus You Reign), this album is an authentic expression of how God is moving with Holy power through the Vineyard UK movement where worship is one of its cornerstones."
Features worship leaders on 'My Soul Yearns' include Samuel Lane, Dave Miller, Carly Billingham and Joe Blustin, accompanied by their band which includes former Delirious? band member Paul Evans on drums. Produced by Trevor Michael (crave, Trent, Delirious?), the album was mastered at Abbey Road studios by Geoff Pesche (Gorillaz, Athlete, Coldplay).
The track I personally love is "I respond". A great audio snapshot from an outstanding national leaders conference. One to remember. One to get.
I like his opening salvo:
"The difference between a fad and a movement is that a movement produces long term enduring change."
In the light of our recent conversation in the Blogosphere on whether The Vineyard has 'move in its movement', this seem a good complimentary read. Although its context is in the light of the future of Emergent, Organic and Missional churches, I think we can easily filter David's thoughts to reflect upon his observations in our own cultural context.
I would argue that no movement starts by thinking that it is going to become a long-term strategically-led organisation. A movement starts with a moment. And that moment then becomes a seed for a revolution, bringing change to the status quo.
David Fitch is quick to criticise the industry that springs out of fads, i.e. books, tours and websites. Quite rightly so too.
One thing John Wimber would never of had (or has) is his own dotcom website. Using a movement or fad to get yourself famous is pretty distasteful, to say the least.
Although far from perfect, one legacy of Wimber's values is that he has given us is a whole set of wonderful worship leaders and preachers whose names you'll never know. Most will never be asked to contribute to a Bible week or international conference, but they are loved and deeply respected by all within.
If being a movement means that the Vineyard has to lose its fame and status among the Church's Evangelical elite maybe that's no bad thing.
And if we are a fad, we seem to be lasting a quite long time. Of course it is all relative, but I am not sure the Chopper bike enjoyed our kind of longevity.
Surely a movement is simply the response of like-minded activists. Maybe a pertinent question is to ask what is it that are we responding to 25 years later? Do we still feel like activists for the Kingdom of God. Personally, I do.
For those leaders sadly unable to get to Vineyard NLC this year, you might like to know that you can listen to the main sessions on the new Vineyard Churches website. (It calls them podcasts, just in case you are slightly confused as I was.)
Caleb Maskill's talk is particularly outstanding, as is our national director John Mumford's talk. Following on from the previous post these two talks make essential listening, regardless if you are in the Vineyard or following as a friend in your own tradition.
I returned from last week's Vineyard National Leaders Conference in Bognor Regis to be asked if anything significant happened. I think some were probably expecting me to maybe relay stories of healing, but actually as weeks go it was significant in another way.
Not least because the question was asked whether Vineyard movement had any 'move' left in it.
It caused a lot of dinner time conversation. Some new to the Vineyard family asked whether there was something they should know. It was interesting how unaware many were to what was happening Stateside. Thanks to Andrew Jones at Tall Skinny Kiwi I got a heads up before the week.
I echo the sentiment that it is timely to reassess/reaffirm the 10 distinctives brought afresh to us by UK & Ireland National Director John Mumford. It has got to be a healthy thing to look again at the reasons why we joined the Vineyard and remain in it, and why many others still want to become part of it.
Lest, we were under the illusion that we stopped being seen as radical by others. It certainly is not my own perception in south Suffolk.
It struck me last week how much the Vineyard, through John Wimber's selfless example, has kept emptying its own pockets to fill the pockets of others. It has given at great sacrifice. Sometimes, it might be argued, too much.
Many denominations and new church groups have been affected in some way, shape or form. New Wine, Soul Survivor, HTB, Alpha, New Frontiers and Hillsongs all apparently pay testament to that.
However, the thought that John Wimber could potentially become some faux holy relic truly horrifies me. But where I find comfort is in the roots of the Methodist Church, which historians tell us only really took off once it's founder John Wesley died.
It was suggested by Caleb Maskill, a church historian and church planter himself, that we were moving from being a 'renewal movement to a church movement'. I know this statement has already caused some consternation, but it deserves reflection.
I would encourage those of us in the Vineyard movement to be open to the debate, but I would also welcome other's perspectives too.
Caleb spoke from Luke 15, where he suggested that a tree which has always been fruitful will naturally have to be pruned. But you only prune healthy trees. If the tree has rotten branches or is dead you pull it out of the ground.
The fact that Vineyard has borne much fruit over the years should not surprise us now that we are going through a time of pruning. We might find all sorts of sociological language to describe this, but undoubtedly we are in a time of natural transition nevertheless. My only surprise has been that it has not come sooner.
Caleb went on to conclude that pruning happens in winter time. I hope I am representing Caleb's thought right here, but I think he was suggesting that Winter is a known metaphor for loneliness and suffering amongst other things. Pruning is not without its pain. However, it is perceived by others that there are fresh buds already appearing, so we will wait and see.
One thing I would say is that the British Vineyard has been allowed to grow organically and so has, perhaps, escaped some of the suggested identity crisis of our dear friends in the US. Maybe if 'Vineyard worship' had emanated here, not in California, we would be suffering more too. However, as a 'body' we all share in each other's pain.
I look forward to watching the debate unfold on both sides of the channel. And, as my own thoughts emerge, as a young church planter of just two years, will share them here for what they are worth.
I can't fully remember the first time I read John Stott. However, I know that his writing has a lasting impact on my ministry and hopefully those in my beloved church that I have the privilege of leading.
His books have continued to engage me and stretch my mind to think biblically and culturally. He has challenged my on my biblical understanding of Heaven and Hell and help revolutionise my perceptions of what it is to minister to a broken world through compassion and justice.
I was privileged to hear John at a chapel service while I was at college where, unlike other guest speakers, he used a New Testament Greek version to speak from. I was in awe as I sat there colouring in the pretty pictures of my Good News Bible.
What struck me most was his expectation that every student would have the same hunger to go as deep into the theological issues as him.
The post-war Evangelical Church owes so much to John. He has continually brought balance, especially where Evangelicalism has latterly been affected by short-sighted culture-bound thinking, i.e. prosperity teaching.
John has also demonstrated how to make theology accessible to all, a gift not insignificant, often bringing much needed clarity to tricky subjects. A sure sign that he has got to grips with the issues and wrestled with them.
So now I hear from Mark Meynell at All Souls, London that John Stott has written his absolute final book. (At 89 years old, I think we can all let him put down his pen now, don't you?)
According to Mark, his new book, The Radical Disciple is not so much new material as a reflection of things we may have heard or read elsewhere. What is remarkable is, as a man in in ninth decade, he still wants to be seen as a radical disciple!
I borrow from Mark's excellent blog for an outline of themes covered in the book:
Mark also makes a useful comment on the symmetry of John supposedly last book at the time The Living Church with The Radical Disciple:
One for the bookshelf.
Meanwhile, I am off down to the Vineyard National Leaders Conference in Butlins, Bognor Regis this week. Undoubtedly, I will see the effect this much loved pastor-theologian has had on our young movement in one way, shape or form among us.
I'll bring you back a stick of rock.
It is really hard to keep up with everything happening in the Blogosphere. There is so much good stuff out there. The trouble is we often only have time to skim-read.
Google's Reader is an excellent way to keep me checked in with what's out there. I recommend it. Anyway I thought I would give you a few of the ones I am currently enjoying reading. I have been blessed overall by these committed bloggers. I appreciate their time and energy in bringing regular posts. They often give me the encouragement to carry on.
For those of us in the Vineyard tribe I have tried to include some of the highlights out there. Okay, in no particular order:Bible Studies.org.Dave Schmelzer
I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who who has a fave blog. Let's share the love!
As ever, thanks for reading. Have a blessed weekend whatever you are doing.
I have been told there have been some technical glitches on the bookings page of the Vineyard NLC website, so if you have been struggling now you know why? I am informed that it has been fixed and all is now well. Also the other pages are up. Though you'd like to know.