The fourth day of the Vineyard National Conference was great. It’s two days after it and I’m still recovering from its awesomeness, ha ha! No, seriously, I’m exhausted.
I’ll just, once again, mention that the music was awesome. All of the fourth day’s music was great. Nothing more can be added. If you haven’t figured out by now that I love the Vineyard music, there’s really no point in trying to convince you. It’s great.
The first talk of the day was from Christena Cleveland and Le Que Heidkamp on “Loving Across Differences.” The talk essentially came down to a discussion on crossing cultural barriers and forming multi-ethnic congregations. For those of you who have been around TCF long enough or heard me at a conference speak on the subject or read what this blog has covered on the subject, you’ll know this was music to my ears.
Cleveland and Heidkamp both offered thoughts on how churches can be less judgmental and more intentional in becoming, at the very least, open to being multi-cultural. For me, Cleveland summed up the reason why this is so important when she said,
“The cross is the epicenter of cross cultural ministry.”
Amen. I agree. Our foundation for seeking ethnic reconciliation and multi-cultural diverse congregations is at the heart of the gospel! It’s the generous outworking of Genesis 12’s Abrahamic blessing.
The speakers provided helpful thoughts regarding why it’s hard to love across differences as well as to make clear how being unconcerned about this is both foolish and unrealistic in a changing world. Plus, they offered some helpful ways forward. So, I would suggest that Cleveland and Heidkamp killed it, in a good way. I hope everyone can take the time to listen to what they had to say when the mp3’s or CD’s come out.
The second main talk was by our very own Phil Strout, the Vineyard National Director. It was essentially the “closing ceremonies” of a great conference. He covered a variety of issues with the most important being that the Vineyard Movement is not age specific. It’s for everyone. Our focus isn’t on young people anymore than old people. That being said, we need to be more intentional about reaching some of those age groups, I think. But I appreciated the fact that our focus and intention is right. So Strout’s focus gets twelve thumbs up (I’m borrowing ten from my wife and four kids).
Strout also had a lot of great stuff to say about being committed to the kingdom and not fighting over table scraps and being jealous of other people’s ministries and callings and giftings and blessings. It was really good.
The evening closed with all of the youth praying for the adults. Since there were like 4,000 people in the auditorium, it was pretty cool to see hundreds of young people walking around praying for people.
Anyway, I’m going to try and post my thoughts on everything this coming week (Monday?) in a “going forward” type of way. Hopefully these brief summaries have been helpful to some of you.
Luke is a pastor-theologian living in northern California, serving as a co-lead pastor with his life, Dawn, at the Red Bluff Vineyard. Father of five amazing kids, when Luke isn’t hanging with his family, reading or writing theology, he moonlights as a fly fishing guide for Confluence Outfitters. He blogs regularly at LukeGeraty.com and regularly contributes to his YouTube channel.