Monday, July 21, 2003

Vineyard Distinctives

One of the things that has become apparent to me over the last couple of years is that the Vineyard Church has lost its distinctive.

When I came into the Vineyard in 1992 the church was very unique... the worship was fresh and alive and there was amazing things happening there. Most of the people coming into the church would say that the reason they came was for the worship... the music.

Over the past 10 years the church at large has experienced an amazing explosion of genuine worship. The new music coming out even on radio and 'performance' venues is predominantly worship based. You would be hard pressed to find a growing church of any denomination that does not offer a contemporary service with praise and worship as its foundation. The truth is that in many areas there are dozens of churches that have a better quality worship service than Vineyard does. Most are even doing the same music, songs and styles... but they may have passed the Vineyard in quality and expression.

Most Vineyards are still acting as if worship is their distinctive... the thing that sets them apart and makes them who they are. Those churches are going to struggle. The average person walking into your church for the first time will have a difficult time trying to distinguish your Vineyard from the Baptist church down the road if its based solely on worship.

Vineyard's distinctions are in our Kingdom theology, our models of ministry, our values of reality and non-hyped demonstrations of the power of God. Yet in most Vineyards I've been in the rank-and-file attenders don't see those things. We must be promoting our distinctions... embracing worship like never before but not as our distinction. Worship excellence is simply the baseline... anymore people won't tolerate mediocrity in their worship experience. I will write more on that in the next few days.

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