1. Worship 'Til We Worship
Perhaps what people most readily associate with The Vineyard is its creative and contemporary worship. Worship enables us to glorify God, draw close to him and become more like Jesus.
We worship to come close to God and to express ourselves to him. Our worship can be summed as:
Intimacy – Our worship allows us to become intimately acquainted with God; we love to sing to him rather than about him.
Integrity – We value consistency between our private and public lives.
Accessibility – Worship is not a performance. The role of our worship team is to lead people to engage with God.
Kingdom expectation – When we worship we have a longing for God’s Kingdom to break into our current context; for the King to come.
Passion – We worship with a sense of excitement, anticipation, delight and gratitude; with passion.
John Wimber said, ‘we in the Vineyard have, from the very outset of our ministry, made worship our highest priority, believing that it is God’s desire that we become, first, worshippers of God’.
Sing a new song to the Lord! Everyone on this earth, sing praises to the Lord, sing and praise his name. Day after day announce, “The Lord has saved us!” Tell every nation on earth, “The Lord is wonderful and does marvellous things! Psalm 96:1-3 (CEV)
2. The Main and the Plain
The Bible is the compass we use to determine the course of our travel. It is central to our understanding of who God is and how we should response to Him. We study the Bible in pursuance of our relationship with God because we believe that the Bible is central to what it means to be a Christian. The Bible is our plumb line and gold standard against which we measure matters that are relevant to us today.
We have a passion for teaching the Bible – all of it, even the difficult bits. Choosing to live life in accordance with biblical truth within our modern context is difficult. Not only is it often difficult to do what we believe to be right, it is also sometimes difficult to know what the right thing is to do. Some biblical truths are clear and fixed, other parts of the Bible need to be chewed before they can be digested. Our challenge is to walk between the extremes of divorcing the Bible from our modern context, and bending biblical truths to fit our worldview.
When John Wimber said ‘the main and the plain’, he was saying, ‘stick to the main stuff and make it plain to understand’.
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:19-20 (ESV)
3. The Now and the Not Yet
The Kingdom of God is King Jesus’ rule and reign over us. It is not a place; it is a state of being. God does not intend for us to wait until we are dead in order to experience eternal life, Jesus has always been intent on bringing heaven to earth beginning now.
The phrase ‘now and not yet’ expresses a certain way of thinking about the Kingdom of God – it is here now, but it currently coexists with Satan’s Kingdom, however, it will soon exist entirely on its own. The kingdom of God has come and is coming in fullness. When we see miracles we see God’s kingdom reign breaking into our world.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10 (ESV)
4.Come Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is more than God’s empowerment or presence or a kind of attribute of God. The Holy Spirit is God himself. Just as we see the Father as a character, and just as we see Jesus as a person, so we should also regard the Holy Spirit as part of the triune God and one who has a personality. The Holy Spirit relates directly to us and we are to worship Him. All three persons of the trinity are eager to be known and experienced.
We regularly ask the Holy Spirit to come and be with us. When he does we often see people healed emotionally and physically. Our challenge and our joy is to love the Holy Spirit and work with him for the purposes of the Kingdom of God.
Later, I will give my Spirit to everyone. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will have dreams,and your young men will see visions. In those days I will even give my Spirit to my servants, both men and women. Joel 2:28-29 (CEV)
5. Everyone Gets to Play
God can use people who have been Christians for less than 5 minutes (sometimes He uses people who don’t even believe He exists). Working with God has little to do with age, gender, ability, cultural background, the past, education or socio-economic heritage – everyone is invited to be involved the work of the Kingdom of God.
‘Everyone gets to play’ is not simply a polite move towards inclusivity, it is a statement that means, the church works best when everyone is involved. Therefore, our churches need systems that enable all kinds of people to contribute. It is the job of leaders to train, equip and release everyone to do the work of the Kingdom of God.
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16 (ESV)
6. Come as you are, but don’t stay as you are
Jesus invites, welcomes, gathers, accepts and embraces people irrespective of where we’re from or what we’ve done. Don’t feel that you have to be someone else before you belong to Jesus.
A hospital receives people with all types of ailments, and it desires for people to be healed and made better. If people came along and were told, ‘welcome, we’re glad that you’re here, but we have no concern for your future development and well-being’, they would simply get up and leave. When we say, ‘come as you are, but don’t stay as you are’, we’re provoking people to step out in faith and be prepared for God to give his fullness of life.
To change, as God would have it, doesn’t mean that we become someone we’re not – it means we become the best of who we were always meant to be.
Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” John 8:2-11 (ESV)
7. Doing the Stuff
We learn from God, we practice what we have learnt, and we teach what we know and do – this is the act of equipping. Jesus wants us to be trained up and equipped so that we can be mature Christ-like followers and serve others well and ‘do the stuff’ that is in the Bible. We preach the gospel, we do the Gospel message, and we equip others to do the same because that’s what Jesus did.
He trained up fishermen and accountants – people from all walks of life – to mimic Him. Training and equipping helps us to mimic Jesus – it enables us to be fruitful as we tell and model to others the exceptional grace and love that we can know through a life with God.
Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him. Ephesians 4:11-13 (CEV)
8. Being Naturally Supernatural
This is a phrase we use to describe the way that ordinary people interact with our extraordinary God. When God comes, He does whatever he wants to do and he does it in the way he pleases – we are stupid if we assume we can tame him to move according to our wishes.
God is supernatural and he does supernatural things. The Spirit desires to teach us to live in alignment with him, to equip and empower us to engage in his supernatural movement with faith and expectancy, and without being weird, so that everyone can know him and experience life in all its God-intended fullness.
Our challenge is to be natural in how we respond to God as he does supernatural things, and to get to a place where we can use natural gifts and supernatural gifts in a symbiotic way, or in other words, move in and out of the use of supernatural gifts, alongside our natural gifts.
Jesus told them: ‘I saw Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. I have given you the power to trample on snakes and scorpions and to defeat the power of your enemy Satan. Nothing can harm you’. Luke 10:18-19 (CEV)