Had a friend in the United States who asked me a couple of questions about relationships within the Vineyard Australia. I thought that It maybe worthwhile to put up the questions and answers of my experiences of nearly five years ago.
1. What is the overall structure like in Vineyard AUS? Is it based more in legal structural arrangements or more relational?
The relationship is primarily relational. Each church has there own seperate legal incorperation status. Which may or may not specify its relationship to the Vineyard church in Australia. There is an overall seperate organisation in Australia which function to facilitate interatction between churches through, consultants, conferences etc. It is also assists in conflict as well as interacts internationally with Vineyard internationaly This is usualy organised by the national director.
Each church who wants to benifit from the australian organisation has an unspoken expectation to attend conferences. Churches also have to contribute financially to the overarching body, through a levy or tithe.
2. What is the primary metaphor that is lived out in Vineyard AUS? (For instance, some churches and church networks use the "Family of God" metaphor as a basis, some use "church-planting movement", some "prayer movement"...so is there a primary (or perhaps even some secondary ones) metaphor for Vineyard AUS?
It would be 'Family' as the dominant DNA, although elements of 'church-planting' are there but would seem to me to be secondary. I can remember when I started within the Vineyard as a pastor there was discussion about the metaphor 'family' and conflict. It was stated that just like a family we stick together, through dna: but we maybe differnt.
3. How do churches and Vineyard AUSleaders interact?
Specifically this is through confernces. Its though these conference that may facilitate ongoing relationships with other Vineyard Churches. I found these difficult as I felt like I had to go, even though I didn't want to. My interaction was primarily with a few like minded people there. They conferences were pretty much dominated from a Vineyard 'old school' who had been influenced by the renewal movement which happened in the 80's early 90's. I primarily interacted with other Vineyard churches which had a 'emerging, missional' bent, a minority. If I got any support from the Vineyard, it was these like minded Vineyard whom I sought out, or vice versa.