We are a family of Christian believers who facilitate relationships with Jesus Christ, (each other and our community) in a loving, forgiving environment that is culturally current.
We are captured by His voice, His song, His people, His justice and His kingdom.
How can you tell who we are in a sentence or in a paragraph? Instead we have the defining assumptions. They are several one liners (some witty but extremely true) who represent who we are. Here are just a few of them.
- A commitment to excellence produces confidence in ministry and in care.
- The primary foundation for healing in all dimensions is LOVE - love from God and love from each other.
- Our God is not a cosmic killjoy raining on our party.
- Having a heart of compassion for the poor, orphans and widows should be the norm for a Christian. Giving consistently and generously should also be normal.
- Love is the glue that binds this fellowship together.
There is no one "Vineyard." Vineyards meet in gymnasiums, rented churches, and converted industrial buildings all over the world. Each is unique. Yet, all of the Vineyards are like-minded in their approach to God. Perhaps this is why we can feel home in each other's fellowship. While it is not always easy to define one's priorities as a church, sometimes it is necessary. Therefore, this paper exists only to say who we think we are and what our priorities are.
Our desire is to do and teach just what the Bible says. Consequently, we have a particular approach to Scripture. We believe it is the main way God speaks to us. We realize when we approach Scripture, our tendency is to impose our own presuppositions and preconceptions on it. Therefore, we ought to seek the Holy Spirit's interpretation. Our desire is to experience the Bible, not simply just to know it. Thus, we highly value teaching with an emphasis on doing and experiencing. We believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, that its purpose is to teach us (expose a body of truth) and to train us (for a certain course of action). It is completely trustworthy (infallible) and without error in the original manuscripts.
Our first priority as a people of God is to worship Him with all of our hearts. We were created to worship and glorify God; therefore, our worship is an expression of our love for God. Worship is a time of self-disclosure to God. It is to be our most truthful place with God. It is a time of repentance and the language of love. In this disclosure to God, as we allow Him to touch us, we are also freed to be able to disclose ourselves to others. Our desire is that Jesus be central in our lives, that He be our Lord, and that His Spirit would rest on us and fills us. We desire Spirit-led worship in a style that is intimate, dynamic, cultural, and life changing.
We believe that when we worship God, He touches us and opens us up to love and embrace those whom we wouldn't have loved before. Therefore, our worship leads to fellowship and the goal of our fellowship is wholeness. A kinship setting is the place where we believe that wholeness can be most effectively brought about in people's lives. Kinships are small groups of about 8-12 people, who come together to worship, to learn, to explore and share their gifts, and to be healed. It is in this setting that people become known and accountable to one another.
God gives different emphases to different groups within the Body, yet all fit together to produce spiritual results. In that light, we have compassion to heal. We seek to extend the ministry of Jesus with signs and wonders and the preaching of the gospel by bringing healing to the sick, lame and hurting. We believe that Jesus has granted authority to His body to heal and to preach the entire Good News: healing, freedom and salvation.
Healing, wholeness, intimacy, worship and salvation are all aspects that we desire to be part of our experience as a church body. As we become healthier as a body, it is of major importance that we reach out to the oppressed poor. We must not miss our commission to minister to them. It is an expression of our health, and an understanding of what God has done for us. Who are the poor and what must we do for them? They can be victims of racial prejudice, working class men and women, elderly, young married couples, housewives, singles, or teenagers. They may be addicts, alcoholics, runaways, dropouts, gang members, homosexuals, ex-cons, criminals or street people. On the surface, the lives of these people may appear to be very normal. However, many are living right on the precipice of ruin. Drugs, booze, pills, pot, affairs, and broken marriages may have left their lives in shambles. All are troubled and desperate. Every one of them needs help. We are God's extended hands. With vision and the leading of the Spirit we must learn to minister directly to these people. The expression of ministry may be through giving money, cleaning up a yard, fixing a water pipe, painting a kitchen, or teaching an "unemployable" person how to work. Our fellowship must have a wide open door. We pray and hope that one-day, as we grow, learn and practice, we all will be a positive benefit in all neighborhoods. It is our investment philosophy.
In our society, education has been viewed as sufficient training. However, the practical "doing" aspect has been neglected. We must "DO." This means that all of us must learn to pray for the sick, minister to the poor, witness, or do any other activity that Scripture commands us to do. While we do have formal occasions for education, so that we might learn the theory and doctrine of what we are doing, we place a higher priority on the relational/New Testament model where Jesus apprenticed His disciples. Therefore, we teach on a need to know, prescriptive type, learning/counseling basis.
It is our belief that the New Testament calls for radical commitment. What we believe about discipleship is that every Christian has been called to the unconditional surrender all of their life to Christ. We believe that a personal, intimate relationship with Jesus is available to all who give their lives to Him. It is our desire that this relationship does not become legalistic or judgmental, but rather it is one where God is approachable and can be talked to concerning everyday activities, as well as life goals and aspirations. As we draw into closer relationship with Jesus, He transforms our lives. In response to this, we begin to desire to please Him, and to organize our lifestyle around Him. When we are living in close relationship, others easily see these changes and they too are stimulated to do the same thing. As a result, everyone learns to live in freedom and live within the definition of being a community of people who have committed themselves to Christ.
Our desire is to meet the needs of broken people through a ministry of mercy. We believe that this is a place where righteousness and mercy meet. People come to us looking for a safe harbor, and we are to meet them with the mercy of God, so that they might know God's precious love for His children, and be redeemed in spite of their guilt.
KINGDOM OF GOD
Our desire is to bring the Kingdom of God into areas where Satan has stolen ground. We are committed to establishing beachheads in Satan's territory and to raiding his camp, freeing the men and women he is holding captive. We believe that there is a war being fought, and we want to be aggressive in asserting God's rule in Satan's dominion. It is our goal to learn how to function as proper citizens of God's Kingdom, to explore all the authority, permission and rights that have been decreed to us by Jesus. God loves the whole church, and we desire to do the same. This brings our perspective on missions to light. First, our primary calling is to evangelism, and church planting. We want to find people like ourselves and love and help them. All around the world, particularly in large urban centers, there are people, especially young people, who are looking for a cause. These people have a need for stability as well as a need to explore. They are willing to leave all and devote their lives to a real cause. We want to ignite them with the love of Jesus so that can bring His saving power to their generation, and so change the world. We want to mobilize a massive missionary force to plant churches wherever the Holy Spirit calls us. There, we trust, He will draw the unsaved and join them to what He is doing in and through us. Secondly, we see church renewal as part of our mission. God loves the whole church and we see ourselves as part of that whole. Therefore, we must be lovers of the things that God loves - people of differing views, theologies, practices, etc. We want to be part of God's plan in restoring the Church to the end-time purposes of God. So our desire is to bring renewal to the whole Body of Christ wherever He takes us. In doing so, we will be continually renewed.