Vineyard Central is an ongoing experiment of blending church and intentional community. There have been many different expressions of that experiment over the years, but the motivating desire has remained the same: to participate in God’s mission to redeem, reconcile and renew all of creation–every person, family, city and place–by embracing, proclaiming and demonstrating the reality of God’s love.
We want to be a part of the transforming work of God in our neighborhood and believe the Church still has a central role to play in that work. We also believe that this work best happens when God’s people enmesh themselves in a particular place with a particular people, which is why many of us are committed to living in the neighborhood. We want to learn from those who have lived here a lot longer than us, people who often practice the hospitality we preach much better than we do!
At the end of the day, we hope to become the kind of people God intended us to be, and so we long for the following four realities to be true of us:
1. We hope to grow in our love for God and for each other.
We want to know how wide, how long, how high and how deep the love of Christ is, and be able to show that love to each other. We want to delve deep into the reality that we are sons and daughters of God. Jesus made it clear that loving God is inextricably linked to loving others, and so we hope to grow in that love as well. We hope that as we grow, we will be able to spur each other on to love and good deeds, to speak the truth in love, and to encourage each other. We are committing to this journey together. We are not meant to do it alone, and we hope to live into God’s love as a community.
Guiding Scriptures: Mt. 22:37-40, Rom. 12, Eph. 5:1-2, Heb. 10:24-25, 1 Jn. 3:1
2. We hope to be a people sensitive to and responsive to both the Spirit and the Word.
In keeping with our Vineyard heritage, we hope to be people who do not neglect the third person of the Trinity. We hope to see the Spirit at work in the midst of our gatherings and in our everyday lives. We hope to see prayer, healing, and encouragement pour forth from those touched and filled with the Spirit’s presence. We hope to seek wisdom that can only come from the Spirit’s revelation. We also hope to lift up Scripture as the Spirit-inspired work it is, knowing that the Spirit doesn’t contradict what has already been breathed in history. We hope to submit ourselves to the story Scripture describes and anchor ourselves to the principles it prescribes.
Guiding Scriptures: 1 Cor. 12-14, Gal. 5:13-26, 2 Tim. 3:16-17
3. We hope to proclaim and embody the good news of the gospel.
As a covenanted community, we hope to share the good news of God’s redemption in both word and deed. We want to speak with our lips and display with our lives the story of God’s love and faithfulness and invite those in our community to see how they are part of that story. We want to share and lift up the whole counsel of the Scriptures and the mission of God they describe. And as the fullness of Jesus’ life demonstrates, God’s love is a love most clearly shown in concrete actions taken on the behalf of others, not just in words. Sometimes those actions can be difficult, uncomfortable, and unpopular, but they will motivated by the love Jesus showed for us. We hope that our presence in the neighborhood reflects the boundless love of Jesus’ ministry, the self-emptying act of Jesus crucified, and the hopeful reality of Jesus resurrected.
Guiding Scriptures: Mt. 28:18-20, Rom. 10:14-15, 1 Jn 3:18
4. We hope to see the kingdom of God manifested more and more in our city.
We want to see specific acts of reconciliation between races and socioeconomic classes. We want to see the dividing walls of hostility torn down and bridges of love built in their place. We hope to see justice in places where greed, pride, and fear have brought oppression and despair. We want to see peace on our streets and fewer drugs in our parks. We long for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven and to see the beauty of God’s grace poured out in the midst of our brokenness. While acknowledging that Christ’s kingdom will not be fully manifested until his return, we believe that it has and is breaking through. We hope to be a part of ushering in that new reality.
Guiding Scriptures: Is. 61, Mt. 6:10, Eph. 2:14, Rev. 21:1-5