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The Vine Project – A Pastor’s Review

 It’s been ages since I read the prequel to “The Vine Project” called “The Trellis and the Vine” (hereafter “T&V”).

After reading T&V,I loved the book, but like most readers, my question was this… “This sounds GREAT, but how do you expect me to DO it?” Evidently that was the world’s most common response to the work because the authors Tony Payne and Colin Marshall went to work trying to tell others exactly how they conceptualized the transition.

At first glance, it seemed deflating. The suggestions seemed a bit “pedestrian” and simplistic. Looking back, it may be because unlike most “church transformation” books, these authors don’t seem to LOATHE you and your church.  They don’t write off your church’s history and confessions as the hide bound guarantors of death. They don’t consider your Sunday Service automatically worthless compared to small groups, “missional communities” or a dozen other innovations nobody had ever heard of in Christendom until this generation. They don’t think preaching is passe. They don’t suggest that all the woes of your congregation will be solved by a new church “app”.

So I decided to give The Vine Project my full attention, and I’ve decided it is definitely the starting point that many congregations should consider. I have my opinions about the best resources to use to implement it, but before anything else, I am suggesting that churches that are in any way traditional (i.e. use a building besides a home to meet in) consider The Vine Project  as a key approach to transforming what they do without jettisoning everything.

If you’ve ever wondered if your church  could survive “Church Transformation” without changing literally everything and splitting it in the process (though literally any change such as the renewed preaching of the Gospel could cause friction)… you need to read the link below:

Keep Reading about The Vine Project at my Amazon review…

A wonderful talk on the Parish Evangelism project of Thomas Chalmers by Rev. Michael Ives

Just the other day I heard about a ministry seeking to get local churches to take responsibility for all the people living near their buildings.

The more things change, the more things remain the same.

Give it a listen- you will be shocked at the conditions Chalmers faced and the ambition of his plans for the sake of the urban poor!

Thank you Rev. Ives of Westport Experiment.

Parish Missions: The Story of Thomas Chalmers’ West Port Experiment, 1844-47 |

P.S. check out these on “Home Mission” too!

Using Slideshare For Your Church or Ministry

Slideshare (now owned by LinkedIn) is a powerful document and presentation sharing service that has lots of traffic in it’s own right. Even better (or worse depending on your goals) documents posted there potential get quite a lot of visibility in search engines.

That means if you’re in a security conscious situation, DON’T POST SENSITIVE MATERIAL THERE.

However, if you’re a local church, posting an informative brochure about your congregation may be helpful. When people search for “Church in Your Town” your file at Slideshare may get noticed and help you reach out to people.

If you have a WordPress site, you can even do what I’ve just done and embed your document right on the page too.

If your church doesn’t have a website (hard to believe) or just uses a Facebook page, adding slideshare for key documents may help you reach out more effectively.

That’s just a thought.

‘Proper Confidence in the Gospel’: the theology of Lesslie Newbigin

For some other thoughts on Lesslie Newbigin I ran across this article and wanted to link to it here at Missio Links.

Here’s a great quote:

For Newbigin a ‘missionary encounter’ with culture is central to being an authentic Church.  Yet the influence of liberal theology had inflicted deep wounds on the Church’s confidence to engage faithfully.

“As time went on I began to receive invitations to take part in conferences…I began to feel very uncomfortable with much that I heard.  There seemed to be so much timidity in commending the gospel to the unconverted people of Britain”[5]

Consequently, a central theme in Newbigin’s writings is the ‘proper confidence’ that the Church needs to display in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This deep confidence is in contrast to the brittle form of confidence shown by fundamentalism or the lack of confidence shown by reductionist liberal theology. Newbigin argued that both of these were enslaved in different ways to enlightenment thinking.  Instead he urged Christians to be confident in a worldview shaped by God’s revelation in the Bible and with the ‘fact of Jesus Christ’ as the central ‘clue to history’.


Source: ‘Proper Confidence in the Gospel’: the theology of Lesslie Newbigin

Ken Smith on “With Him” Disciplemaking 

Here’s a great book by a seasoned Reformed Presbyterian pastor and disciplemaker. 

This winsome evangelist and  disciplemaker shares how the pastor can make disciples who make disciples. 

It’s hard to imagine a church leader who couldn’t benefit from this modern classic on growing leaders – especially at half price.

Rev. Smith reminds me of another faithful pastor, Rev. Edwin Elliott (deceased) who built his “session” (board of elders) from converts whom he personally helped grow in the faith and teach others. Sadly Rev. Elliott died before he could put his knowledge in a book. I don’t intend to let this opportunity pass me by this time. I’ve got multiple copies on the way to read with others!


Discount Copies (till May 19)