This past week, Luke, Niki (our Kid’s pastor), and myself headed down to Phoenix, Arizona for a church growth conference! It was my second conference since coming on staff as the associate pastor of the Red Bluff Vineyard and it was Niki’s first Vineyard conference, so we were pretty excited!
The conference was for churches between 500 and a 1000 in attendance and was designed to help equip us to continue growing our church’s! The main speakers were Rich Nathan (Columbus Vineyard), Phil Strout (National Director), and Brian Anderson (North Phoenix Vineyard).
It was an intense schedule! It was a two-day conference, but it felt like we got a lifetime’s worth of knowledge, wisdom and information. Both Brian and Rich pastor growing, healthy and thriving Vineyard church’s and probably have about over half a century’s worth of experience between the two of them. So we were incredibly lucky to be there and learn from experienced leaders in the Vineyard!
We learned about everything from how to welcome new guest’s who are coming to the church for the first time, to how to provide pastoral and soul care for our leaders and staff! The breadth of topics that Brian and Rich provided such in-depth knowledge on was incredible. Being a young leader in the church, I couldn’t help feeling so incredibly privileged to be learning from them!
My biggest take away, however, was a talk Phil Strout gave. He talked about how important it is to keep to well oiled and healthy engines in the church. On one hand, we need to focus on the organizational and system structures that are so important to the health of the church and for reaching people with the transforming love of Jesus. On the other hand, we need to pay attention to our identity and care for the souls of those within the church. He kept on talking about how important it was to constantly check in to see how we are doing as leaders and how important it is to ask people how their souls are doing.
Luke, Niki and myself left feeling incredibly energized and excited to come back to Red Bluff so we could continue our mission to know Jesus and make Him known! I personally am more ambitious than every to not waste time in engaging in God’s mission for Red Bluff! I want to see God’s kingdom breaking in, to see people’s lives’ changed and people growing in the richness of Christ! I’m so excited for what God is doing in our community and and even more excited for the plans he has for us!
As I’m writing while sipping on coffee back here in Red Bluff, my imagination is running wild with all the possibilities and creative ways in which we can partner with God in loving Red Bluff! And I cannot wait to see everyone this Sunday!