Saturday, July 5, 2014

Vineyard meets Emerging Missional Churches

The other day I got sent a link to a web a journal article by Darren Cronshaw who used to have a lot with Forge and Peter Downes, National director of the Australian Vineyard Church: titled 'Vineyard meets Emerging Missional Churches'.

It's good to see an academic paper which is Australian about the Vineyard. It gives a good overview of what the Vineyard is about its values/distinctives. Also a good background to the history of the Australian Vineyard.

The gist of the paper is about how the Emerging Missional Church has interacted with Vineyard Church, and how there has been an emphasis on 'incarnational' instead of 'attractional'.

One example was given that of the Vineyard church in Cabramatta Sydney. I know the Church and the pastor the Greg Trainor the article is a fair summation.

There was certainly a time when the Vineyard church flirted with the Emerging Missional Church, especially Forge. I can remember when Alan Hirsch was invited along to the national conference. There is no doubt that to certain degrees the Emerging Church was on the agenda. Yet I would say there were churches in the Vineyard who where almost hostile to the other extreme all embracing. We were the latter.

The interesting thing is the Vineyard was always known as a Church planting movement. The incarnational approach of EMC I think more than any other thing aligned with church planting DNA of movement. There was a lot of young church plants at that time highly influenced by EMC, I mean young in two ways as in the leaders were in their 30's and they were new or beginning churches. The interesting thing is that at least three of these Churches aren't around any more. Neither is 'Forge' in Victoria or for that matter in Australia (there maybe something happening in Queensland, I'm not sure.) Allan Hirsch who kicked Forge off is living in America and doing well, but the home front has withered. The little endeavours have ceased and the ones that survived just look like any other church. Certainly 'red', the Church specifically planted by Allan just looks like any other church with maybe the demographics a bit younger.

It would be interesting where God leads the Vineyard next in Australia certainly from what I hear the compassion side in a systematic way has dropped off. I wouldn't be surprised if this part of the Vineyard AUS DNA is re-ignited.




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