Monday, March 22, 2004

This is an article I wrote for 'Jackson Christian Family' magazine

When I first walked into a Vineyard church back in the early 90's I found myself immediately drawn to their music and their worship style. That is a consistent story when you talk with people who have identified themselves with the Vineyard... almost always the worship is the distinctive to which they were first attracted. Often, however, it takes a while to understand that Vineyard worship is less about a style and more of a philosophy. There are several values that Vineyard has maintained since its inception dating back to the 70's Jesus Movement that influence their worship styles. The first is what we call 'Culturally Current'. For a church to be culturally current simply means that it has to present an eternal truth, an unchanging message to a culture that is constantly changing. In simpler terms we must speak the language of the people to whom we are ministering. This finds its expression in our music when we strive to keep our sound contemporary to our culture. This is the reason that the musical style we use in a West Coast church may be somewhat different than that in a church in the South or the Northeast even though we will all share the same values. Second is our philosophy of 'vertical' versus 'horizontal' worship. Think of vertical worship as singing 'to' God instead of 'about' God. Although there is value to proclaiming God's goodness and his deeds to each other in song and other proclamations we believe that there is a special intimacy with God to be found in expressing our love and adoration 'vertically'... singing directly to him. This leads us to our greatest value... personal intimacy with God. Vineyard worship seeks to provide an atmosphere where people can connect with God in a personal and meaningful way. It is in this intimate place with God that we can truly worship "in spirit and in truth."

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