So we are getting ready to theological re-imagine some core vineyard values, and axiomatics as per my earlier posts. We are going to kick off next week, taking one value at a time, and a group of guest bloggers will be responding to each value.
The values we've decided to reflect on, are those articulated by the National Director of Vineyard Churches in the UK and Ireland, John Mumford, at the Vineyard National Leaders Conference in January 2010. You can listen to the podcast of John Mumford's talk, 'Distinctives of the Vineyard'.
I am going to make a summary of them here, with the following caveats. This is not an initiative of Vineyard Churches, and is my take on them. Also the presentation is subject to my interpretation of the presentation and my note taking. All errors in transcription are my own making.
Also another caveat to make, these distinctives are not made to be elitist, or contra any other church groups. In fact many church groups would have many of these values in common. They are how ever a presentation of some of the key values, of what might be some of the core values for people involved with Vineyard Churches.
They are not going to be disputed in this series, but taken as read, and then used for us to reflect on them theologically to explore then afresh for today. Many of them will need expanding to make sense to people outside the Vineyard movement, as I use a degree of shorthand below. I hope that will take place as the series unfolds.
John prefaced the 10 'distinctives' talking about what made people belong to Vineyard Churches. Firstly 'calling' a sense that God wanted us involved, and secondly the relationships within our experience together. Then the third thing that flows from that is our 'distinctives'. They are:
1. The Bible: A passion for the bible, centrality and confidence in bible for the Christian life.
2. The Kingdom of God: An understanding of the 'now and not yet' of the Kingdom of God, for understanding mission, the church, eschatology etc.
3. The Holy Spirit: Our Epiclesis practiced in the laying on of hands, not just for communion. How we pray for each other and expect the Spirit to minister to us.
4. Worshippers of God, and rescuers of people: Worship is for God, we abandon ourselves to him simply. The response of giving ourselves, is to the compassion, mercy and love of God, over the whole of life, towards others.