Jim Barnett, Indonesia Partnership leader
Using the same principle that Jesus taught with His parable of scattering seed on all types of soil, early in the development of the Indonesian Partnership, we scattered Vineyard values teachings into multiple types of heart-soils in church planting schools. Those church-planting classes morphed into Vineyard Institute Indonesia (VII).
In recent years, as a partnership, we have spent a lot of time and resources helping to develop VII, sending books for the library, helping establish a building for classes and student housing, as well as helping to teach in this school. Looking back we see this school has been both helpful and challenging. There is nothing wrong with pursuing formal education, many of the degrees in Christian Education and Theology that VII provided have opened doors for our graduates that may have not been open to them if they did not have this degree. Many of these graduates are now serving in various vocations in Indonesia that are leading to establish God’s Kingdom in schools, businesses, and the government of Indonesia. However we are realizing that a “both-and” approach to training is healthy - both formal and informal training, especially when it comes to raising up church planters.
Over 10 years ago we hosted our first church planting training with 25 people who wanted to learn what it was like to plant a Vineyard church in Indonesia. As a partnership we have begun to assess the fruit that arose from those first trainings. About 30-40% of people who completed this church planting training are still with the Vineyard. In addition to that, people from these early trainings are beginning to take on the role of regional leadership (while still pastoring churches) and helping to grow and strengthen the Vineyard movement in Indonesia. This informal and practical training has produced some long lasting and enduring fruit.
A key in the early days was teaching the 5-step healing model. Over and over! Then leaders practiced praying for one another.
We have learned that one type of training for leaders is not enough to raise up the next generation of leaders. People have different learning styles, and the Indonesian leaders feel the Lord is directing them to use both formal and informal training. God has gifted some of the leadership team in Indonesia with a passion for formal education and some with a passion for informal ways of training. It is our prayer that this “both-and” approach will produce well-integrated leaders who will continue to plant churches and expand God’s Kingdom in Indonesia.
In the beginning we used to just send people out to church plant and let them sink or swim. We are doing our best to be more deliberate in taking time to prepare and train leaders for what they will face as they plant and care for a church full of people. It has taken time to develop a useful curriculum that covered Kingdom theology and Vineyard DNA and we are still adding to this curriculum. In the beginning we translated books such as Doing Church by Alexander Venter, Revolutionary Leadership by Tri Robinson, and Quest for the Radical Middle by Bill Jackson. Today, we are especially excited about introducing Bob Logan’s Discipleship Leadership Material to train leaders on how to foster Discipleship Making Movements. This area seems to be in constant flux as we listen to the Spirit and respond to the needs of those in the field to discover best practices for planting churches in Indonesia.
Over the years, the Indo Partnership has not solely focused on raising up new leaders, but we have also poured into established leaders of the national movement through leader care. Many of the leadership team in Indonesia have participated in leader care retreats which have been very beneficial as they have led through sometimes-difficult circumstances. As we look toward raising up the next tier of leaders who will oversee different regions within Indonesia it is important to give them access to leader care opportunities to promote a healthy movement in Indonesia.
In PART 2, Jim Barnett details the self-sacrificing character coming from those in initial church-planting trainings, and he talks about navigating obstacles and what is necessary to release a self-sustaining Association of Vineyard Churches (AVC).