It’s amazing the cultural connections and insights that can come through the study of ancient church fathers. Josh Hopping shares his experience in crossing cultural boundaries with Kenyans via one of his theological heroes, Athanasius (296-373 CE). You can read Josh’s experience here.
By the Vineyard Missions Team
Last year, those involved with Vineyard Missions have experienced some wonderful things - conferences, special events, and trips all over the world. We on the Vineyard Missions team want to honor those of you in missions partnerships, especially those of you who serve in leadership roles, and those who this year have passed the leadership torch over to someone new.
Thank you, former leaders and new leaders, for the countless hours of thoughtful prayer and work you invest in your partnership, the churches in your partnership, the nation you are serving together, the indigenous leaders and their concerns and needs. You’ve accepted the WhatsApp and Skype calls at non-office hours, the Zoom meetings or Google Hangouts and countless emails it takes to set up those partnership meetings! Yes, we know! For tackling those difficult conversations and hard decisions in love, we thank you! For choosing to function in this new paradigm of accomplishing mission in partnership with other Vineyard churches, we honor you!
Thank you to the partnership churches who visited their focus nation this year - whether you sent one person or organized a team to bring encouragement to the nation in which you are working this year! Thank you to those partnership churches who wanted to send someone this year, but because of various obstacles, you just couldn’t. Thank you for your commitment to the on-going work in those nations, for the financial investment you made there this year, for the relationship investment you continue to make with every contact and conversation, for the prayers you lift up to the Father for our Vineyard brothers and sisters around the globe.
There are many people around you also making these sacrifices of time, treasure, energy, and emotion. You are not alone. You are not overlooked. Your gift is precious to us in the Vineyard and to the Lord Jesus. Thank you for partnering with the Holy Spirit to finish His dream in every nation on the earth, to see the name of Jesus lifted high and glorified until his return when all things are made right!
Last week, we talked about why it’s so important to tell our missions stories to all who will hear. This week, we will look at the anatomy of a story. It might have been six months, a couple of decades, or even a half-century since your last English class, so this writing review is for everyone, not just the life-experienced ones.
In this information age, we live with nuanced facts being shot into our brains in a constant barrage. It is hard to sit still and compose a story, even a story of something significant and profound we experienced or observed. Usually, upon returning home from a missions trip, we end up with bullet points of what we did, places we visited, or a list of people we met. Those points, if you do in fact write them down, might help jog your memory later, but they don’t offer much insight to others, until you add more words and create an atmosphere where those bullet point come alive in a story.
Introduction from Vineyard Missions: At our most recent Missional Leaders Meeting, we had a lunch breakout session to discuss the value of diversity in missions leadership. The lunch was well-attended and the discussion was fruitful and positive. Led by Jeremy Pleasant, Haiti Partnership Leader and Lead Pastor of the Baton Rouge Vineyard, we heard perspectives from some of our diverse leaders in the missions arena - from Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
In the Vineyard, our process of discerning God’s will is grounded in the prayer, “Come Holy Spirit.” We regularly invite the Spirit of God to lead us and empower us to live in a way that witnesses to and reflects the values of God’s kingdom. Our lives orient (and reorient) around the desire for God’s kingdom to break into every square inch of the world and for Jesus’s dynamic reign to transform every person into the love of God. We long for the in-breaking of the Holy Spirit and welcome the Spirit’s direction. But what’s is the Spirit directing us toward and for? Or, to put it another way, what is the Holy Spirit up to?