Book samples The Vine Project (Contents and Introduction) - Page 10
evangelical Anglican from Cape Town. In conversations, emails,
workshops and conferences, we’ve been asked a version of this
question more times than we can remember since The Trellis and
the Vine became an unlikely international bestseller.2
I say unlikely because, as far as we were concerned, Trellis and
Vine was an unexciting little book that consisted mostly of the
blindingly obvious. We thought it would be read by a small
number of loyal folk here in Australia, and perhaps prove to be a
useful statement of ministry principles that could be passed on to
the next generation.
However, sometimes the obvious is what people most need to
hear (like when the child said of the emperor, “But he’s got
nothing on!”). Somehow, our restatement of the biblical principles
of ‘vine work’ and ministry struck a chord with evangelical pastors
and leaders all around the world.
One of the consequences was an immensely rich experience
for which we are deeply thankful to God. Over the past six years,
we have found ourselves speaking at conferences and running
‘Trellis and Vine Workshops’ all over the world. We have had the
joy of spending thousands of hours talking about ministry with
thousands of pastors and lay leaders, from churches of all different
sizes, locations, denominations and cultures—from Cape Town to
Chicago, from Singapore to Sydney, from Dublin to Dallas.
People came to these workshops and conferences with all
kinds of questions and thoughts about the philosophy of ministry
put forward in The Trellis and the Vine. Three kinds of questions
were particularly common:
• What do you actually mean by ‘discipleship’ and ‘disciplemaking’? Are you basically arguing for more one-to-one
work, or small group work? Or are you talking about more
evangelism? Or all or none of the above?
If you’ve never heard of, let alone read, The Trellis and the Vine, don’t worry. You might find
reading it a useful exercise, but you don’t need to stop now and do so. Most of the essential
theological and ministry principles are restated somewhere in what follows. If you’re
curious, we’ve provided a basic summary of the argument of The Trellis and the Vine in
Review copy—not for distribution.
SETTING THE SCENE
16/03/2016 6:46 PM