Priorities are the things that are done on a regular basis, not only talked about. They are the things that are immediately seen, not only advertised. Priorities give visible form to what we value and believe. They are the things we need to do as we pursue our Vision. They can be measured in terms of the investment of our time, energy and money.
The things we actually do reveal what our priorities really are – whatever we say. When the following things are happening we know the Vineyard is in its groove! Here are seven practices we make priorities:
We are created to worship and our desire is to make it easy for you to worship the God who created you and loves you (Revelation 4:11). There are many ways to worship and we love to encourage creativity. In particular we are known for contemporary music: singing songs of intimacy which draw us into the presence of God, opening our hearts to His mercy and our lives to His healing.
The bible is one unified story that leads us to Jesus and to salvation through Him. Jesus loved the scriptures (and probably had them memorised!). 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” We believe the bible is true and essential for faith and for living a fulfilled and effective life. So we study and teach the bible all the time!
We believe that prayer is essential, because it is God’s primary means of accomplishing His purposes in the world and our primary means of communion with God. Paul exhorted us to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:18) So we are learning to pray: on our own; in small groups; all together; in traditional forms and in new creative ways.
Training & Equipping
Everyone gets to play in the Vineyard, which means that we can all pray, minister, play, serve, belong. Ephesians 4:12 instructs us to equip and train “the saints” – all those who are following Jesus. Another word we use is “discipleship”. This is a form of apprenticeship and it means we want to train you spiritually and help you find your gifting, your passion and your calling – “mining for gold”. We want to equip you to grow in life skills and as a follower of Jesus.
It’s an old-fashioned word but has timeless appeal. The Greek word is koinonia which means sharing the common life (Acts 2:44-47). We start with intimacy with God in worship, then with the bible and Holy Spirit as our guide we can share life: being friends, eating, drinking, laughing, crying, supporting each other. As we do life together like this we know and are known, we love and are loved, we are transformed and we show the way to Jesus (John 13:35).
The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
We believe every follower of Jesus is in “full-time ministry” (Ephesians 4:12). The Holy Spirit changes us as we are guided into life with the broken, the sick, the demonised, the lost and the poor. Our value of caring for the individual and our value of healing are given visible expression through living this way. We seek a person’s total well-being and ask for the Holy Spirit to come as we pray for each other and as this prayer ministry spills out into the community around us in generosity, power evangelism and social action.
Jesus’ ringing final command to “Go” (Matthew 28:29) echoes in our ears and so we often find ourselves sending people out on “mission”. Sending comes from worship and waiting, is nurtured in training and results in missions (Isaiah 6:1-8). It’s an expression of our Kingdom theology - to extend the rule and reign of Jesus, bringing people to faith in Christ. Some go abroad, some plant churches, some commit themselves to the secular workplace and some to serving in their community.