|WHO AND WHAT WE ARE|
Being Disciples, Making Disciples
To build churches that grow disciples who reach the world for Jesus
Jesus called us to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" and to "Love your neighbour as yourself" (Mark 12:30-31). He also said to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34). Vineyard churches outwork these commands through three guiding principles, for which we use the analogy of the head (our theological centre), the heart (our relational centre) and the hands (our ministry centre).
|Theological centre: kingdom theology and practice
Vineyard churches are committed to the theology and practice of the kingdom of God - which we view as the over-arching and integrating theme of the Bible. We are committed to proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and to bearing witness to the "already and not yet" of the kingdom in word and deed through healing (physical, emotional and social), doing justice and seeing people released to enjoy a full relationship with God.
Relational centre: loving God and loving people
Vineyard churches welcome God's presence, seeking in worship and prayer to hear His voice and to be obedient to His leading. As we become increasingly sensitive and responsive to the Spirit's presence, we "see what the Father is doing" and pursue that
We also love people – inside and outside the church – with relationships characterised by respect and honour. "Being Disciples, Making Disciples" spreads into every aspect of what we do, both with people who are part of our churches and those who are coming towards faith in Jesus.
Ministry centre: effective mission
Vineyard churches want to bring the gospel of the kingdom wherever we sense God's leading, most often by planting culturally-relevant churches in a wide variety of settings. We are called to compassion and healing, leaning towards the lost, the poor, the outcast and the stranger as though we serve Jesus Himself.
|The pastor of the church functions as a bishop. He is called of God (or should be) and functions with multiple elders, ministers, pastors (Acts 15).
The elders believe the pastor is called of God and gladly submit to his leadership. The elders are appointed by the pastor (as Paul told Timothy to do).
The pastor, in turn, believes in and submits to the counsel and ministry of the appointed elders.
The pastor is a shepherd not a hireling.
This form of government functions in all Vineyard churches because it is biblical, and because it works.There is room for abuse in any system – the success of government depends on the trustworthiness and the heart of the pastor or elders.
The legal entity of each Vineyard is a charitable trust registered with the Justice Department to handle all the legal and financial and business matters. All other matter relating to the spiritual life of the church is entrusted to the leadership team.
|Each Vineyard is autonomous, but joined by shared purposes, values, priorities, goals, style and love to all other Vineyard. We are joined by the Spirit of God and love to all other churches that believe in Jesus Christ and are seeking God.
Vineyard has an international structure called the Association of Vineyard Churches. Each country has its own AVC with a national director and national Board.
VCANZ exists to oversee and pastor the pastors and to help with resources, church planting and development and renewal.
We see the Vineyard as a movement of the Holy Spirit and want all structures to exist to support people, pastors and the work of the Spirit. We never want people to exist to support structures.
|The Pursuit of God
We are hungry to know God's presence, hear His voice and pursue Him (Psalm 63:1-3).
We desire that through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus' love, mercy, grace, truth, purity, power and integrity will shine through all that we are and do (Ephesians 5:2).
The Mercy of God
Mercy is fundamental to all God does in salvation. We, therefore, aim to extend mercy to one another and to all to whom we minister (Colossians 3:12,13)
Prayer is a primary means of our communication and relationship with God (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Philippians 4:6).
It is important for us to speak the truth, deal honestly and live uprightly (Ephesians 4:15).
We aim to exercise leadership with humility, selflessness, grace, care for the people and a sincere desire to build up the Body of Christ (Mark 10:37,44-45).
Single or married, we want to enable and support mature relationships and family growth (Romans 12:9-10).
We are honoured by every person God adds to the Vineyard. We aim to maintain mutual respect, open communication, determined co-operation and believe and speak the best about each other
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
All who belong to Christ are one in His Body, the Church. We aim to maintain unity by honouring all who call on Jesus' name and by seeking relationship with all parts of the Church (John 17:21-23).
We aim to walk in the Spirit and see supernatural works of God, while also valuing intellect and our physical humanity (James 1:5).
We wish to do nothing for "religious effect" but to act in natural, non-hyped ways. We desire to do the ministry of Christ with joy (Philippians 4:4).
We aim to speak and act in ways in which our culture can respond positively. For example, we value worship music in a style that is relevant to our time and society, and the people our churches are reaching
(1 Corinthians 9:19-23).
Fruit and Gifts
We value living and expressing the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit. We value character above giftedness.
We want to create freedom to follow Jesus rather than conforming to arbitrary standards. We embrace grace,
Sovereignty of Holy Spirit
We want to maintain flexible structures, traditions and practices to allow the Holy Spirit to move sovereignly.
Please also see Appendix A for the Vineyard statement of faith.
|The pastor and the congregation member should meet to try and find resolution and reconciliation.
If that is unsuccessful, senior and wise members of the congregation acceptable to both parties should
|If that is unsuccessful, the complainant should write to the leadership of the church in question, and they will prayerfully consider both sides of the issue and seek to initiate resolution.
If further input is needed, the Vineyard national director should be advised and the matter can be considered by a member of the VCANZ board.
| In 1982, John Wimber and several other pastors led their existing churches into Vineyard as their visions were complementary and before long John became leader of the movement. Initially, Vineyard restricted its church- planting thrust to North America, limiting its operation in other countries to renewal conferences and training. However, Vineyard has now recognised a clear call to plant churches throughout the world, including New Zealand.
Vineyard's first impact in New Zealand came when John Wimber held a "Signs, Wonders and Church Growth" conference in 1986, which had a significant effect on many denominations in this country and also had a profound impact on Lloyd Rankin, who felt he had met his "tribe".
The Vineyard provided an alternative theology and practice for healing and other Holy Spirit-empowered works through the emphasis on Kingdom theology and "doing what you see the Father doing".
| In October 1989, Lloyd and his wife Victoria, along with a handful of friends, began to meet and pray in their home in Snells Beach (a small beach community an hour north of Auckland). What began as an attempt to develop a group of people who loved God, loved each other, and loved and were committed to Jesus' mission, quickly outgrew the Rankins' lounge and became Mahurangi Harvest Christian Centre – a Vineyard in all but name. Within a year, Harvest had grown to five churches and when Vineyard churches in New Zealand were launched in March 1995 all 10 New Zealand Harvest Christian Centres became Vineyard Christian Fellowships.
The Vineyard in New Zealand continues to plant churches and play its part in the international development of the Vineyard movement. New Zealand now has Vineyard churches and church plants from Mahurangi in the north to Invercargill in the south.
We are committed to taking our place in the Church in New Zealand and the world, to fulfil the calling God has given us as a "tribe" within the family of God, to bring our flavour to the whole and in so doing enrich the Church and be enriched by the Church.