Priorities describe how we spend our time, energy, and money. They are the things we do. Priorities grow out of the things we value and believe in. Our priorities are based on the Bible, the Word of God, that is the standard for all that we do at the Vineyard. In other words, nothing that we do should ever be opposed to the Bible’s teaching. We aim to do all that the Bible teaches. We have a particular approach to the Bible. We think that it was given not only to give us insight and understanding but also to equip us to do God’s work. Thus, we emphasize training that is doing the truth in addition to knowing the truth. Because we stress doing, our teaching and preaching are intended to be practical and relevant. We aim, through expository preaching and topical messages and modeling the Christian lifestyle, to call people to follow every part of the Christian life as revealed in the Scriptures.
1. Exalting God’s Presence (Worship): The highest priority of God’s people is to worship Him, that is, to give to God the worth that He ought to have in our lives. In the Bible, one meaning of worship is to draw near. Thus, in worship we give ourselves to God in love and He comes to us in the fullness of His Spirit. We believe that an intimate relationship with God is the basis of all that we do as Christians.
2. Expressing God’s Love (Ministry): Ministry at the Vineyard flows from two basic assumptions. First, it is based on the compassion and mercy of God. Jesus was the embodiment of God’s compassion and mercy toward those in need. Thus, through the imitation of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, we seek to minister out of hearts which are filled with Christ’s mercy and compassion.
Second, Jesus Christ as the Messiah came to establish the Kingdom of God, that is, God’s right to rule in the world (Matt. 9:35-10:10). This kingdom rule and reign of God is extended through the world in, among other things, the following ways:
Preaching the Gospel with the aim of making disciples
Praying for the healing of the sick
Teaching believers to follow Christ
Feeding the poor
Counseling those in need of God’s wisdom
Giving to the work of Christ
Building up families
3. Enfolding God’s Family (Fellowship): Vineyard exists to care for and to build up people, not programs. Fellowship begins with our relationship with Jesus. It also involves our commitment to Christ’s body.
We believe that this commitment to Christ’s body can best be expressed by being involved in small groups (i.e. small groups at church, kinships, home fellowship groups, special interest groups). We must know one another in order to love one another and to share one another’s burdens. Small groups are the basic structure in the Vineyard for comfort and counsel, service to one another, intimate relationships, healing and prayer. In these groups, we stress such things as honesty, integrity, reality, acceptance, and love.
4. Edifying God’s People (Discipleship): The New Testament calls Christians to a radical commitment. We believe that we are called to an unconditional surrender of our whole lives to Christ. We do not do this in a legalistic way or to impress or judge one another. Instead, our surrender to God springs from a response of love and thanksgiving to God who loved us and gave Himself for us.
As a church we stimulate one another to discipleship. One meaning of disciple is pupil or learner. It involves binding oneself to another so that the disciple does what the master does. In Christian discipleship our aim is to be bound to Christ and to imitate Him. We believe we are to imitate Jesus in all He did—preaching, healing, praying, delivering the demonized, caring for the poor, etc.
5. Evangelizing God’s World (Evangelism, Church Planting & World Missions): Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (I Tim. 1:15). He accomplishes that salvation through the witness of His people accompanied by signs and wonders (Mk. 16:20). There are almost 150 million unchurched Americans in the post World War II generation. That means that an enormous missions field exists for churches like the Vineyard here in the United States. The large urban centers of this country are ripe for the harvest. There are also tens of millions of unreached peoples around the world whom we are called to reach (Matt. 28:18-20).
Studies in missions, evangelism, and theology show that a chief way to evangelize nations and peoples is to plant churches. Therefore, local, regional, and global church planting is a Vineyard priority.
©1997, 2010 Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Gadsden – Revised 12-1-2010