Who are we?
“Who are we and who is the Vineyard?” – These are great questions. The following presents some noteworthy distinctives of our identity that call us forward as the local Vineyard and as members of the Association of Vineyard Churches across Canada:
With a word—“in faith and life we are followers of Jesus”. We attempt, in theology and practice, to find a healthy balance between the best of both evangelical and charismatic expression: what we call the “radical middle.” We embrace the word of God (the Bible) as our gold standard and plumb line—as such we rely on the holy scriptures to inform us both of God and the world around us. In practice we look to the Spirit and Word of God to influence our discernment and to direct us both personally and corporately. We are predisposed to the activity of God’s presence in our day-to-day living, and we acknowledge our desire for the work and fruit of His Spirit to be powerfully evident in the worship, community and mission of the church.
Our primary theological framework is the kingdom of God: what we call “the now and the not yet.” Again, we hope this is a helpful balance between secessionist and triumphalist extremes in our understanding of how God works in our world today. We believe God saves, heals and redeems in wonderful ways now, that God’s kingdom has come on earth as it is in heaven, and yet we also understand that the fullness of God’s restorative work has not yet come to pass—indeed a time is coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess in the lordship of God’s Son and our only Saviour—surely He will usher in a new era where there will be no more tears and no more pain. This tension between God’s kingdom that has already come and God’s kingdom that is still coming promotes a life and ministry of humility and a deepening appreciation for life’s mysteries.
All of us are human-sized, as such we are invited into a lived out and relational dependancy in God who longs to work in and through us in extraordinary ways. We respect the authority and gifting of leaders in our movement (and beyond) without falling prey to elitism or celebrity stardom: we often say “everyone gets to play.” Our desire is to practise the kind of vulnerability in community where none of us is afraid to “walk with a limp”. This applies to leadership as much as to anyone else.* “Servants first”, leaders gain equity through modelling the Jesus way – “more caught than taught”—we’re dependent in God’s grace to undergird our leaders rather than for positional titles to determine anyone’s power or influence.
The Vineyard has two core values: worship and compassion. We believe that we live to “worship God and rescue people” and we see these two values as inextricably linked together. As we worship, we are compelled to stand with, advocate for, and welcome into our midst those who are marginalized, especially the poor. Our heart postures are paramount in our ministries of worship and compassion, and we try to resist all forms of hype and tokenism. Instead, we try to live out a “naturally supernatural” faith, one that expects God’s power and presence to impact our day to day messy lives, as walked out in family and community.
Particularly important in today’s culture, we embrace healthy rhythms of lived out faith and life. We understand that our spiritual health, emotional health and physical health are intertwined and uniquely bound to our journey with Jesus. Often, less is more in the kingdom of God and therefore we value rest, silence, and stillness as much as any other kinds of spiritual disciplines. We are growing in our understanding of ancient contemplative practices that offer relief to the hurry and noise of our modern lives.
Structurally, we have minimal bureaucracy and more local church autonomy than most denominations. Although we share basic values, theology and practices as other churches, we recognize the worth of relationship to help inform matters of importance—diversity is not the enemy of unity but tethered to God’s love, it lends strength to us as a family of believers.
We are a part of Vineyard Canada, a growing movement of churches across Canada, sharing resources and relationship—together we are committed to serve Jesus and make him known. Our National Director, David Ruis, created a “Why Vineyard” digital booklet to enable everyone to know much more of the Vineyard’s values, practices, history, and theology as well as understand our leadership structure. Grab a cup of coffee and read the whole Why Vineyard booklet, or pick and choose the bits you want to learn more about here.