This is from Sanctuary Vineyards website. I really thought this summed up some of my thoughts on how church should be.
Typically churches grow by addition. They add new members at a % rate of their volume. The problem with this is that the rate of growth of people outstrips the rate of grow of churches. Simply adding cannot overcome the growth of multiplication. The church must also grow exponentially and this means it must be radically different. It needs to be organic not institutional. It needs to be Jesus centred not doctrine centred. It needs to be adaptable not bound by location or resources. It needs to be fully reproducible by any other Christian not only by the “ordained”.
Each of the lights in that vision is the same but each one lights a different part of the world. So by they adapt to their environment without losing that which defines them as lights.
It’s also important to note that the lights are networked. They connect with each other and collectively the light they shine is more than any could produce alone.
So too it is with Ekklesia. They share a common DNA, a common vision. But they are adapted to their environment, to the people in them and around them. And they are connected, networked. Innovation in one flows out to the rest. Wisdom and learning in another spreads through the system being adapted and applied to suit the local circumstances. And when the need arises they can mobilise and come together to meet common challenges and opportunities.
Sanctuary Vineyard is not about planting a Sunday service. It is not about a building. It is not about organised programs to attract people to a building. Harvey Kietel says in the Steinlarger Pure ad: “What you say no to defines you.” Sanctuary Vineyard says no to institutionalism, no to external control (1), no to inorganic hierarchy, no to doctrinal correctness, no to imposed leadership.
But we are also defined by what we say yes to. Sanctuary Vineyard says yes to organic structure and adapting to the environment, yes to living lives centred under Jesus’ Lordship, yes to the authority of gifting and scripture, yes to sharing the gospel through deed and word, yes to mercy, yes to compassion and yes to grace.
The vision we have is the planting and nurturing of Ekklesia. Each Ekklesia will be formed with a common, covenanted set of core practices. Each leader commits to living and teaching these practices. To be a member (2) of the Ekklesia each person commits to working out these practices in their lives. All are welcome in the Ekklesia, but to truly belong each person must become a part of it by covenanting to live according to the common practices of the Ekklesia. The common practices for the DNA of Sanctuary Vineyard Church. They are the ties that bind, the vision that propels, the hope that sustains, the faith that grows.
The expression of the DNA of the Ekklesia will vary and adapt according to the needs of individual Ekklesia and the individuals in the Ekklesia. The Ekklesia will form the primary expression of Church (3) for all members. Each Ekklesia is the expression of Christ’s body in its culture and geography.
The DNA of the Ekklesia can be expressed the following way:
Expanding in Christ
Loving others as we have been loved
Engaging with scripture
Sent to the world
Intentional lives of worship and prayer.