All Christian ministry is a mixture of trellis and vine.
There is vine work: the prayerful preaching and teaching of the word of God to see people converted and grow to maturity as disciples of Christ. Vine work is the Great Commission.
And there is trellis work: creating and maintaining the physical and organizational structures and programs that support vine work and its growth.
What’s the state of the trellis and the vine in your part of the world? Has trellis work taken over, as it has a habit of doing? Is the vine work being done by very few (perhaps only the pastor and only on Sundays)? And is the vine starting to wilt as a result?
The image of the trellis and the vine raises all the fundamental questions of Christian ministry:
What is the vine for?
How does the vine grow?
How does the vine relate to my church?
What is vine work and what is trellis work, and how can we tell the difference?
What part do different people play in growing the vine?
How can we get more people involved in vine work?
In The Trellis and the Vine, Colin Marshall and Tony Payne answer these urgent questions afresh. They dig back into the Bible’s view of Christian ministry, and argue that a major mind-shift is required if we are to fulfill the Great Commission of Christ, and see the vine flourish again.
Colin Marshall founded Vinegrowers, an organisation that equips pastors to inspire a disciple-making culture. Tony Payne is Executive Director of Matthias Media, Sydney Australia.
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