Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Lead On 2015 (BC Vineyard Gathering)

photo credit: Coral Lee Photography

A couple of weeks ago, I attended the annual BC Vineyard Regional Gathering in Chilliwack. A year previous, it was my attendance at the same Gathering that began a process of reconnecting with the Vineyard movement here in Canada.

This year, I was also privileged to play bass with an assortment of worship leaders from around British Columbia, which is always spiritually meaningful and also just plain fun (musically speaking).

Reviewing my notes from the weekend, one of the recurring (if unofficial) themes of the conference was the phrase, "stay in your own lane". Roughly translated: You're Vineyard, so act like it; don't try to be anybody else.
One of the major (and most lamented) limitations of online writing is that you can't get the "tone of voice" or "feel" of how something is said. In light of this, it's entirely possible that -- if you weren't at the Regional Gathering -- the phrase "stay in your own lane" could come across in several different ways.
For example:

1. It could be a Rebuke.
Yes, it's possible that saying: "stay in your lane" could be taken as a rebuke. A strong word of course correction to people who were straying off-course. Sometimes a rebuke is the most loving thing to give. But that's not how it came across at the Gathering.
2. It could be a Warning.
If you read the Old & New Testaments, and even a short summary of church history over the centuries, you would probably notice that we humans have a strong tendency to wander off into the weeds. And if this were the case at the Gathering, a word of warning would be appropriate. But it wasn't like that, either.
3. It could be an Encouragement (note: this is the correct answer).
"Stay in your own lane" came across very strongly as pastoral encouragement: we need to embrace a "bold humility" that unapologetically (and un-obnoxiously) states who we are as a movement, what our values & practices are, and our paradigm of the Kingdom as "already-and-not-yet".

To paraphrase the theologian called Pop-eye, "We yam what we yam."

And as our guest speaker, Christy Wimber, reminded us more than once, we shouldn't be surprised when the things we affirm are often the things most under spiritual attack: Ie. worship, community, and the charismata (grace gifts) of the Holy Spirit.

David Ruis also reminded us (this is not verbatim but the general gist): "Vineyard Canada has enough loaves and fishes to offer Jesus for His use". In context, this was also an encouraging word, reminding us that despite the vastness of our region -- and the many small Vineyard churches scattered here and there -- we serve a God who is in the business of taking a little and using it to bless many.

This was only the second Gathering I've been to, but each time, I have come away with a greater appreciation for my Vineyardian tribe, and also a sense that a new chapter is being written.

And Wendy & I are more than ready to roll up our sleeves and join in.

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