Notes and quotes from The Vine Project by Colin Marshall & Tony Payne.
1. Disciple-making is really about calling people to faith and hope in Jesus Christ in the midst of this present evil age, with all its pressures.
2. You want leaders who are F. A. T. – Faithful (to the gospel in their convictions and in their lives); Available (to work with you and each other, and to keep working together over a significant period of time); Teachable (who know that still have a long way to go, and who are keen to keep making progress as disciples of Christ).
3. “What we routinely do communicates, reinforces and shapes who we are, often far more than what we teach.”
4. Vine work = the conviction-based activity of every Christians speaking the word of God to others at every level by the power of the Spirit / Trellis work = all the structures, programs, and committees of your congregational life.
5. It is possible to have a large, well-maintained and impressive trellis without very much actual vine work going on at all.
6. “Bringing effective, long-lasting change to the culture of your church will involve both the convictions (or theology) that you hold and prayerfully reach, and the structures, habits, practices, programs and relationships that express and support those convictions.”
7. Why make disciples? Because God’s goal for the whole world and the whole of human history is to glorify his beloved Son in the midst of the people he has rescued and transformed.
8. What is a disciple? A forgiven sinner who is learning Christ in repentance and faith. A disciple aims to learn the ways and practices and wisdom of his teacher. To ‘learn’ Jesus, that is to submit to his teaching and to walk in his ways will mean leaving behind all your current loyalties and commitments.
9. How are disciples made? The making of disciples is God’s work, achieved as his word and Spirit work through the activity of the disciples and in the hearts of those they speak to. Disciples are made by the persevering proclamation of the word of God by the people of God in prayerful dependence on the Spirit of God.
10. “God has fulfilled his age-long plans for his creation through sending his Son, born in the line of David, to die for sins and rise again as the Saviour, Lord and Christ of all the world, so that people dwelling in darkness from every nation might now hear his call to repentance and faith, be forgiven, reconciled and justified, and live a life that increasingly seeks to obey all his commandments, as they await the sure hope of entering his eternal kingdom.”
11. What we want to see flourish in our church culture is as many instances as possible of the Bible being spoken, read, studied, preached, explained, taught, discussed, memorised, prayer over and meditated upon.
12. The preaching and teaching of the word in the gathered congregation has a particularly central and foundational place.
13. Prayerlessness, like Wordlessness, is a classic symptom of a sick disciple-making culture.
14. Disciple-making deals in the messy realities of weariness and faint-heartedness, and our constant struggle against sin. The reality is that Christians will be at different stages – some new to the faith, some weak, some stronger, some immature, some in relational conflict, some struggle with a particular temptation or desire, some threatened by a particular false teaching, and so on.
15. Unbelievers will be at different stages of life, in different circumstances, with different objections and struggles and sins. Some will be very stubborn and hard of heart, others much closer to the kingdom, some will be moral and religious, some will be without God and without hope in the world.
16. The goal of every form of Christian ministry could be summarised simply as seeking to help each person, wherever they happen to be, to come closer towards hearing the gospel and being transferred out of the domain of darkness into the kingdom, and then to press forward towards maturity in Christ in every aspect of their lives.
17. All of us can be ‘private tutors’ to the multitude of individual people we know and interact with day by day. The speaking of the word of God to others for their salvation and encouragement is an expected and necessary component of the normal Christian life.
18. Pastors are ‘learners-in-chief’, who serve as examples, guides, shepherds, teachers and equippers of the other learners over whom they have oversight. By their preaching, training and example, pastors equip every Christian to be a Christ-learner who helps others to learn Christ.
19. “When one person is struck by the Word, he speaks it to others.”
20. Our Sunday gathering should be the prime, central, flagship occasion in which ‘learning Christ’ takes place, and from which all the other learning in the community draws its direction and impetus. If ‘the whole way we do things’ on Sunday does not communicate, exemplify, express, promote and otherwise champion ‘learning Christ’, then there is very little chance that our church culture will change in any significant way.
21. Most churches struggle to look out beyond their doors, and the boundaries of their fellowship, to the neighbours and peoples and subcultures and communities that are all around them in need of Christ.
22. Challenge: Are we willing to move out to peoples and cultures who are different from us? Are we willing to transform our homes and churches into places that are welcoming to people and cultures who are different from us?
23. Engage -> Evangelise -> Establish -> Equip.
24. Engaging (getting to know non-Christian people; beginning to open conversation about spiritual matters); Evangelising (actually explaining the gospel clearly to non-Christian people); Establishing – new (helping new or young Christians to become firmly grounded in the faith); Establishing – growing (helping well-established Christians to keep growing in understanding and godliness); Equipping (teaching and training Christians to engage, evangelise, establish).
25. For most of us, the deficiency is not in bearing or reading, but in marking, learning and inwardly digesting. God has given us each other – to help us hear, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest.
26. Thomas White Quote: “It is better to hear one sermon only and meditate on that, than to hear two sermons and meditate on neither.”
27. Four major contexts where we can speak the Word to others: In our households, in the world, small groups of some kind, church on Sunday.
28. Question: What do each person in the fellowship need to ‘learn’ next in becoming like Jesus?
29. Triaging the Sunday gathering – 3 questions to ask: Were there any examples of jargon or information or practices that would be confusing or alienating for non-Christian people who had been invited to church, but which could have been phrased or introduced in a way that made them more intelligible? Was there any welcoming or introductory speech that made non-Christian people feel at home, or that explained what was going on? Was anything said or done during the meeting that would help a non-Christian visitor know what they could do next in order to learn more about Christ?
30. Types of church culture: Confused church (no clear sense of who we are and what we’re trying to do); Conflicted church (competing ministry philosophies); Comfortable church (we like it the way it is); Cluttered church (lots of people are doing things but not actually seeing many people converted or growing); Cynical church (jaded, sick of new programs and fads); Consumer church (built around providing an enjoyable spiritual experience for those whom come); Caring church (care for on another, but not much disciple-making).
31. Don’t sing a children’s song and require all the adults to stand up and do silly actions.
32. We want to communicate to our members that church is a good place to invite their non-Christian neighbours and friends to.
33. Before Sunday create the expectation that we’re all coming together to learn from this part of God’s word by publicising the passage to be preached on in advance.
34. Singing is a simple and powerful way for the whole congregation to teach and encourage each other.
35. A ministry spot (children’s talk?) on Sundays on why we do what we do when we gather – singing, praying, etc.
36. Engaging with your local community: a) Personal relationship (as go about their daily work and relate to their neighbours and friends; need to encourage and help our members mix and form friendship with non-Christians); b) Teams and groups (inviting non-Christian friends to a social event with a group of Christian friends); c) Specialised ministries or groups or events (regular or occasional to engage and build relationships with their community).
37. Two key questions: What does our local community need? / What can our local church provide?
38. Danger is that engagement replaces evangelism in the church’s program.
39. We want every member to know the gospel and be able to articulate it (even very simply) to someone else, and to seek to do this whenever God gives them the opportunity.
40. Gospel courses or programs, church, can be a convenient and effective next step for someone to consider the claims of Christ.
41. Establishing (or edifying or encouraging) refers to the growth of a learner after they have repented and turned to Christ, where they increase in knowledge and understanding, send down deep roots of faith, and learn to grow in godliness as the keep all Christ’s commandments.
42. If there’s any stage in ‘learning Christ’ where one-to-one ministry is beneficial, it is this one.
43. Establishing newcomers in church is to needed to help potential members of church to settle in, get to know people and become part of the fabric of our fellowship.
44. Multiple contexts for establishing growing believers such as one-to-one Bible reading relationships, small groups, larger groups (one-off seminars, conferences, teaching nights, short-term courses).
45. There are four terms in the year – let’s devote each term to one of those four stages of evangelism and growth = engage, evangelise, establish, equip.
46. Bible, bath, bed.
47. If we live in a community of 20,000 then we should desire to bring the gospel to everyone, and work and pray to that end.
48. Small groups deal with one of the four Cs: Care, Content (Bible and prayer), Community, and Commission (disciple-making).