What is the Vineyard? What distinguishes us from other movements, other churches, other denominations? Why do we even exist? When asking these questions, we are really addressing the issue of core values. What are those core values that define us?
We are a people of the Kingdom of God who
– Partner with the Holy Spirit
– Experience God and worship God
– Reconcile people with God and all creation
– Engage in compassionate ministry
– Pursue culturally relevant mission in the world
The Kingdom of God
The Kingdom of God is the overarching and integrating theme of the Bible. Bishop’s Stortford Vineyard is committed to the theology and practice of the Kingdom of God… rooted in the vision of the Hebrew prophets and fulfilled in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, and the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit. This means that God is at the centre of all things and we want to see His reign and His rule in all the earth, as Jesus prayed, “let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. We are committed to proclaiming the good news of this kingdom and bearing witness to it in our words and actions (all forms of healing, pursuing justice, delivering those held captive by evil, etc).
God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) really wants to be known and experienced by all of us. We believe that God is searching for the broken and lost, to draw us into a loving, intimate relationship with Him. At the Vineyard we welcome God’s personal presence, we try to be attentive to Him and encourage the passionate pursuit of His presence in order to respond in obedience. We understand God’s presence as an immediate reality. As we become increasingly sensitive and responsive to the Spirit’s presence, we too can learn to ‘see what the Father is doing’ just as Jesus did and therefore engage in His work in our lives.
Jesus is busy reconciling people to God, to each other and to all of creation. He breaks down all divisions; between male and female, black and white, rich and poor, young and old. We are committed to being a people of healing, bringing reconciliation wherever we can. We want to be a diverse community of hope that sees the power of the cross reconciling what has been separated by sin. This requires that we move beyond our personal likes and dislikes and engage with those whom we perceive to be different to us. We must actively work to break down barriers of race, culture, gender, social class, ethnicity, education and language. We are convinced that this church is meant to be such a community and everyone must find a way of being an agent of reconciliation.
Culturally relevant mission
God wants to see His kingdom come and so do we. His mission in the world is for everyone to know and experience His love. Our church exists for the sake of those who are exiled from God. We are called to bring the gospel of the kingdom to every part of creation, faithfully translating the message of Jesus into the language and culture of all people. We are on a mission with, and for, God. The Vineyard seeks to be relevant in a variety of cultural settings as each expression of church is called to reach those in our community not already reached. To this end we encourage a creative, real, innovative approach to ministry that is faithful to Jesus.
We have a real concern for the broken, the wounded, the lost, the poor, the sick and the outsider, and want to connect them with the love and compassion of Jesus. We are meant to be ‘bearers’ and ‘bringers’ of mercy and grace. We believe that serving in Jesus’ name should be expressed in a concrete way. When we serve others we are serving Jesus himself. We want to be a generous, caring congregation, giving and serving with love, acceptance and forgiveness, as well as in practical ways. This is the responsibility of every believer.
These five values are at the heart of who we are, what shapes us and makes us different, and at the same time they’re the things towards which we are still moving.
Our vision is to be a community that lives out the message of Jesus and the Bible in such a way that all may grow to experience the love of God. We want to make Jesus known to those we encounter and equip them to follow Him. In short, we long for real life, real community and real mission!