Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vineyard Sabbatical

I'm always amazed at how quickly time flies.

In fact, the only time in my life where I felt like time had slowed unnaturally and was merely dragging its heels was Grade 5. And that season was so long ago that I can't remember why it stands out.

Speaking of time flying and sabbaticals…

It's been almost exactly a year since I was invited to attend the 2014 BC Vineyard's leadership gathering in the Lower Mainland. It was a significant couple of days for me, which would eventually (although I didn't realize it at the time) result in our return to the Vineyard at the beginning of 2015.

This elicited a variety of reactions from others, ranging from, "I've always thought you should be here," to "Vineyard?!? Why on earth would you go back there?"

The book-ends of those reactions are actually a pretty accurate picture of our own thoughts and experiences with the Vineyard. We really resonate with the words of David & Anita Ruis: "At heart, you're Vineyard, and this is where you belong."

And that's very true: despite not attending a Vineyard church for years, our "spiritual DNA" (if you will) has remained Vineyard-influenced to a large degree. Relationally, our friendships with about half of the congregation at our local Vineyard church go back some 20 years.

So, returning to the Vineyard has been a good fit, both relationally and theologically.

And the incredulous "why would you go back" question makes sense as well, because like any other church or denomination, the Vineyard is full of real humans who have not achieved complete sanctification just yet. (That's a wee little joke for my Wesleyan friends.)

But in many ways, it feels very much the same as diving back into writing again: there is a renewed sense of energy & anticipation, and a fresh perspective. And while I am fully cognizant that the Vineyard is not exactly nudging into ecclesial utopia, there is still the same sense that I felt when I attended the conference last fall: this is where I'm supposed to be.

I don't know why, to be honest.

But one faith step at a time, I intend to find out.