Missions Leadership Team Introduction:
Vineyard Missions (VM) sat down in the Glen Eyrie castle music room at the MLM this year to interview Mark Fields while coaching sessions were taking place in the lobby and servers bustled around us to set up for a multi-site Multiply Vineyard specialty dinner.
VM: Thanks, Mark, for taking the time to let us get to know you a bit more today amidst all the connecting and strategizing you are part of this week in your role, job, calling, and ministry in the Vineyard Movement to provide leadership and vision for Vineyard Missions in the U.S.
How did you first jump into the Vineyard?
Mark: I met Wimber in 1978. We were both part of Calvary Chapel. Chuck Smith, the leader of Calvary Chapel, got up at a pastor’s conference and said, “We’ve got this new guy in Calvary Chapel, and he teaches at Fuller Seminary and knows something about church growth. Our conference is over after lunch, but if you want to come back after, he will be around to answer questions.”
So I did, and that began a connection with John. When the Vineyard and Calvary Chapel separated in 1982, we were one of the churches that followed him (Wimber) to form the Vineyard.
VM: Wow! So you were in on the ground floor. No, it was longer than that. You started on the sub-2 basement level of the Vineyard.
Mark: *polite chuckle* It was early, yeah.
VM: What is a prayer you pray daily?
Mark: I pray the Jesus Prayer. “My Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.”
VM: Oh that’s a good one and so needed every day. What is your highest priority for Vineyard Missions this year?
Mark: *A moment’s pause to consider.* We need to systematize a few things so there is consistency in what we are doing around the world.
VM: Consistency sounds like a good priority! How do you manage your travel schedule? Can you share any strategies that work for you for those of us who go away for long periods of time to stay healthy in body, spirit, or relationships?
Mark: Yeah. I am big on the spiritual disciplines. And so I have two sets of spiritual disciplines. One for when I’m home and the other for when I travel. I find that when I am home I do a lot more of the disciplines, obviously, so that kind of fills me up for the times when I am traveling and do less. So I’ve learned to adjust those. Those spiritual disciplines include things that touch on all of those areas (body, spirit, and relationships).
VM: So you have a set time that you block off while you’re away every day? And during that time you would do an abridged version of the spiritual disciplines that you practice at home?
Mark: Yes. I pray every morning, but when I’m away I pray less than when I’m home. For example, when I am home I fast on Thursdays, but I don’t fast when I travel.
I’m trying to figure out how to get a Sabbath rhythm when I travel, it is just very hard to do because I don’t want to be away longer. I’m trying to figure out how to do it in a way that also models that for the folks I work with. So that is kind of a high priority for me. But, I haven’t figured it out yet.
Now some things I do are consistent, the morning prayer, the Prayer of Examine at the end of the day, but I don’t do Sabbath or Thursday fasting regularly while traveling. But then when I’m home, I have some extended things I do as well, periodically.
VM: Speaking of Sabbath rest, how do you unwind on your Sabbath at home? What does that look and feel like for you?
Mark: *appearing a breath more rested by just thinking of the Sabbath* On the Sabbath I pretty much stay off of email, because that is a big part of my daily life. My reading is more spiritually focused. We are at church when we’re at home, and then we are around people after that, so that fills a hunk of the day.
Then I tend not to watch movies on the Sabbath, or if I do, it needs to be something that has an inspirational component. Something like Of Gods and Men—which is a great movie—If something has more of a spiritual content, I might watch that. But mainly the day is around reading and quiet and staying off of the internet, particularly email.
VM: That’s great. So we are about halfway through the MLM now, is the Lord honing in on anything in particular this week that you can talk about?
Mark: Well, what I talked about on the first night…it is the broader issue of desire, but you already heard that. Listen here
VM: Mmm, my big takeaway was your suggestion to go back and re-hear/re-read those scriptures and promises the Lord gave to us way back in the beginning in order to focus each next move we make. I look forward to some breathing time next Sabbath to practice that.
Here are a few rapid fire questions for your personal preferences: Are you a futbol guy or a football guy?
Mark: *wide grimace and head shake* I’m not into sports. Sorry.
VM: Steak, Chicken or fish?
Mark: (quickly) Oh steak!
VM: *laughing* Nearly your whole team has said the same thing when I’ve asked them!
Mark: *Big grin* That’s why we go to Saltgrass (steakhouse) on Friday night after the conference!
VM: Sweet or salty if you’re going to do a food splurge?
VM: Anything special?
Mark: Salty! Fried salty!
VM: Ooh yum! A little more serious…What is your favorite attribute of God?
Mark: God’s love.
VM: He’s so good. What book do you recommend to challenge leaders to their next level?
VM: Do you have a favorite book of the Bible and why?
Mark: Right now I’m reading the Sermon on the Mount a lot in Matthew. I like the Psalms a great deal. I’ve done a lot of study in Luke-Acts, and so that tends to be my favorite Gospel. Scholars don’t separate those two, so that’s always hyphenated.
VM: So we’ll just sneak in a little teaching moment and inform everyone of that!
Mark: *Laughing* Yes. Let everybody know.
VM: Last question. Do you have a favorite technology or app?
Mark: Oh jeez! *Eye roll*
VM: I’m not sensing a love of tech here.
Mark: *He holds up left arm* I do like my Apple watch a lot that was a gift from Phil Strout (said very deliberately and with humor).
VM: *laughing* I don’t think he’s gonna see this interview. But a nice plug with the boss there! (Both laughing)
Mark: I’m not much of an app guy.
VM: Well, that’s it. We’re done. You now have the distinction of being my most efficient interview to date. That was eight minutes! You’re fast!
Then Mark gave a head nod, and in typical Mark fashion, turned the tables and began asking me a few well-formed questions about my next mission.