Distinctives of the Vineyard

“What Is The Vineyard?” — This is a great question, something people ask in our congregations every week. Given enough time, our relaxed answer usually includes key “distinctives” that make up our genetic code as Vineyard communities—these help to clarify our calling in the world. The following presents core aspects of our identity that call us forward as the local Vineyard Church:
As communicated in a special presentation by John & Eleanor Mumford, the Founding Directors of the UK & Ireland Vineyard; their presentation was recorded, modified and re-presented by Michael Gatlin, Director of the National Vineyard Church Planting Team USA (2014). The following is a final editing of that same article by David & Debbie Tombe, Lead Pastors of the Kamloops Vineyard (published 2016).
David and Debbie Tombe
Lead Pastors of the Kamloops Vineyard
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The Main and the Plain.

The Bible is our gold standard, our plumb line— as such we’re always asking the question, ‘What do the scriptures say?’
We are compelled to promote confident and thoughtful teaching of the bible in small and large groups for the whole counsel of God; continually searching how the truths found in God’s word applies to our lives.

The Now and the Not Yet— ‘God’s Kingdom Come’.

We are first and foremost a kingdom of God movement. It’s our central theological motif. It is not nearly a proposition to believe, rather, it is a way to live.
We encourage a lifestyle that expects the kingdom of God to be demonstrated ‘time and again’ everywhere we are.
Ours is a theology that empowers and at-the-same-time sustains us through difficulties.
It keeps us from charismatic triumpfatalism on the one hand, and from secessionist conservative evangelicalism on the other.
We recognize that there is a very real tension in embracing a theology that allows for power and suffering to go hand in hand; not unlike Jesus who entered into our world
and embraced suffering while he administered and demonstrated God love and resurrection life.

Come Holy Spirit.

Our God is eager to be known by all—‘He is the Great Revealer’.
Our God is One—but He is more fully revealed and better understood as a triune God; three personas living in complete unity as ‘God as Father’, ‘God as Son’,
and ‘God as Holy Spirit’.
Come Holy Spirit’—while God is continually present, it is the deep cry of our heart and the deeply felt need to invite his felt presence now. Our spiritual act of worship is an appeal for his blessed presence and Holy Spirit to fill us.

Worshipers of God and Rescuers of Men.

Worship is not to be about God as much as it is to our response ‘to’ God. Worship and the mission to rescue others is rooted in our loving God and loving people.
The central means for nurturing our experience of God is found in worship; in corporate and private settings. We want our expression and experience of worship to be a lifestyle that welcomes life-transforming encounter with God.
It’s a transformation that equips and empowers us to become instruments of God’s healing power; leaning towards the poor, the sick, the outcast, and the broken—practically and spiritually clothing the naked and feeding the hungry.
The reality of the gospel affects the whole range of life — ‘Our Father’s love
changes everything.’

Come as you are, but don’t stay as you are.

We love to create an environment where people can belong before they believe. God welcomes us just as we are but he isn’t content to leave us where he found us.
We value healing and journey. Ideally, the Christian Community is meant to be a loving place of nurture and risk-taking to help us grow in our knowledge of God.

Everyone gets to play their part.

We do not have an elite; ’Everyone can do the works of Jesus’.
Demonstrating the priesthood of believers—Ministry is not based on age, gender, race or demographics—but men, women, youth and children get to equally live out their calling as agents of God’s kingdom.

Naturally Supernatural.

We minister as people impacted by the reality of God’s kingdom in genuine and naturally supernatural ways—‘Taking it all in and giving it all away’.
Our Great Shepherd, Jesus, draws people to Himself, he doesn’t drive them.
We are not willing to hype our ministry. We don’t need to make up stories or hype people. The absence of hype, the absence of manipulation; allows the Spirit of God to do what the Spirit of God does so well.

Equipping the Saints — ’Doing The Stuff.’

Training and equipping God’s people to do what Jesus did.

What about leaders?

We value leaders who lead by example.
Servant Leaders. We are looking for leaders who are first and foremost ‘servants’; functioning leaders who serve the body in love, rather than from a place of position.
We value leaders who walk with a limp—leaders who know their own weaknesses and failures; in describing leaders to Timothy, Paul insists that leaders must be ‘above reproach.’

Plant churches that will plant churches.

The Vineyard recognizes and values the effect that local church has to bring lasting and restorative change to individuals and whole cultures.

Faith Community — ’Family’ *

We are not supposed to walk alone—we are called into a sacred faith community with Jesus as our head. The church is not a ‘business’; it is a ‘family’. By its’ very nature and calling, the church is ‘God’s holy and dearly beloved bride and family’. He is our God, and we are His children.
John & Eleanor Mumford
Founders of UK & Ireland Vineyard
Michael Gatlin
Director of National Church Planting, USA
Senior Pastor with wife Brenda Gatlin
Duluth Vineyard, MN, USA
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Defining ‘church as family’.
Source: TransFUSION (Kamloops Vineyard Vision 2014)
We are a family of faith communities that span the globe, clustered in urban and rural settings, across areas and regions resulting in National Associations forming an International Community. The glue is relationship, the vision is partnering in the expanding kingdom of God in the cosmos, and our distinctives are cultivated through the lens of simple obedience to Jesus with the end game being to love and serve the whole church and love all peoples and God’s creation.
David and Anita Ruis
National Directors of Canada Vineyard

The most powerful picture of the church is a family. It is not, however, the western nuclear family, (dad, mum and the kids) but rather the extended grown-up family which consists of many nuclear families, with a connection of clan/tribe name, nature and shared history.

There is a significant difference between a ‘family of churches with a purpose’ and a network of related churches. A family has a much deeper commitment to each other, in a similar way that a single man and single woman cheerfully and voluntarily give up some of the individual autonomy in order to have the greater privilege of marriage. In a family of churches we ask each individual church to cheerfully and voluntarily give up some of the freedom of being an autonomous church in order to become part of something bigger and more effective—a movement, clan or family of churches.

A network, by contrast, simply connects a variety of church with differing interests, theological emphases, and leadership styles. There is no need to give away any autonomy, and work together for the common good in a network.”

Llyod Rankin
National Director of New Zealand Vineyards
Anita and David Ruis
National Directors of Canada Vineyard
Lloyd and Victoria Rankin
National Directors of New Zealand Vineyard