Joining the Vineyard
Affiliation occurs when an existing church senses through its leaders that the Vineyard is their spiritual home. So it was and so it will be in the future. However, we need to be very aware of our calling to plant and build churches, and not seek to grow by incorporating existing churches. The latter option should be an exception to the rule, otherwise most of our time and energy will be spent on integrating with other churches. John has always said that we should give birth to our own kind, because, frankly, it takes a lot of effort to turn a community with an established view, culture and value system into something completely different. Anyway, why do we need to try to change them? That is why John said, "You don't enter the Vineyard, you just find out that you yourself are the Vineyard." In this case, the process of integration will not be painful and painful, and will not distract from our true vocation. We will just need to devote time to building relationships and connections, accepting common values that have already taken root and then, together, go and fulfill the main thing that God has called us to. If God made the Vineyard home to some churches, then we will need to go through a process of adaptation. John talked about it very simply: courtship, engagement and wedding. This is a time for acquaintance and knowledge of the pastor and leaders, communication and joint ministry, so that everyone will open up and show who is who and who wants what. This usually happens through a relationship with the pastor of the nearest Vineyard in your area. If this church belongs to any denomination or association of churches, it is imperative to walk in the light before each other. From the beginning, you need to be frank and honest about your intentions, and then blessings will be poured out on everyone who participates in this process. Otherwise, the actions of the participants in this process will be wicked. At the right time, the denomination letting go of the church will bless it (if possible), and then new commitments will come into play. Later there will be a real adaptation and a change of name. Having clarified the theological principles of the Kingdom and the Church, and having defined some terminology and perceptions of the Vineyard, we need to take a closer look at the philosophy of the ministry of the Vineyard as presented by John in 1982. At this point, I enter the scene as well, presenting you with a forty-five page document that I call Building from the Bottom Up. I talked about this document in the first chapter of this book. First, we will compare three models of community activity, one of which is a model of our approach taken in the Vineyard. We then apply these sociological approaches to the issue of church membership and loyalty, and see how Vineyard applies these approaches in his work.