An Invitation for a 3 for 3 Committment
Brothers and Sisters,
After months of continual prayer, fasting, and scriptural study, God has knit the hearts of several people together to further the process of planting a church, called the Vine Church. As we have studied the gospel of John, it has become clear that Christ’s main priorities are to make himself known to the world and also to the deep recesses of the hearts of anyone who would follow Him. A more detailed account of this story and our prayers can be found on the website: thevinechurch.org
As you will read on site, the goals for the bible study this Fall were 1) that Christ would be more central in our lives 2) Our love and commitment to one another would grow 3) We would evangelize the lost and serve one another and the local community. We can praise God for how He has begun to accomplish these things in our lives. There is also other fruit that this letter does not have time to recount, and for that we say thank you Lord and amen. And yet, it is also clear that there is a limited capacity to accomplish those goals with our current structure. Personally, I desire to know each of you on a deeper level, to learn from you, to walk with Christ together, and to live out his calling for our lives, collectively. The meeting day and time, and current investment level we share, limits us.
It is time to ask God, what would You have us do next?
Recently, I was challenged to what the earliest church was committed to. Using two points in time, several men prayed and studied the word of God. We began at Christ’s command in Matthew 28:19-20 – “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the end of the age.” From this commission, we looked at Paul’s directive, some time later, to Titus in Titus 1:5 – “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.” The question that was asked was simple: what was the early church doing between Jesus’ commission in Matthew 28 and the ‘ordering’ and ‘elder appointing’ in Titus?
My original impression was that the early church were missionaries together. They were committed to prayer, gospel proclamation, and discipleship, to one another and the geography around them. And that this commitment led to a growing church and persecution. Elders, infrastructure, ministries, and the like occurred in time.
After prayerful scripture study with Dean Landers, Bryan Polivka, Kevin Turner, and Andrew Dunlap, a refined answer was created: the first church was committed to prayer, gospel proclamation, and disipleship in a way that connects the heart of Christ to all of our behavior. Discipleship involves baptism (conversion) and teaching (maturing). The church loved each of its members deeply and undeniably shared Christ with those around them. We seek to be a church that does not miss one for the other.
A plan has been proposed, simply called, The 3 for 3 Plan. Tentatively to begin in February 2012, we invite you to commit to intentional 1) prayer 2) gospel proclamation and 3) discipleship for 3 months, together. We will live as missionaries to each another and the local community. The Monday bible study will conclude in late January to give way to Sunday morning meetings of singing worship, preaching through the book of Acts, prayer, and fellowship. Our sincere hope is that God fully unites us together in a way that will give birth, formally, to the Vine Church. I have realized that just like the early church, we ought to live together like the church, before officially calling ourselves a church. After 3 months, we all will pray and seek the Lord as to our formal commitment to one another, the possible elders amongst us, and many other questions.
We would like you to pray about your involvement. To guide that prayer, be encouraged that this is not an invitation to Christian professionals, who have their lives all together, and can accomplish evangelism and discipleship without any help or training. You may have questions. You may be hurting. In deep struggle. Or doubtful. The bible calls us to be a body which loves, equips, serves and reflects Christ, together. If you have believed like John says, “that Christ is Lord” and you desire to be aligned with his heart and purposes on this earth, then this invitation is to you.
It goes without saying, that many questions currently remain unanswered, and I and others, are available to serve in that capacity. Yet, I will remind us all – this is a plan that involves the unknown and uncertainty. We will only be able to rely on the Lord and each other. There is no security of established buildings, ministries, children’s programs, paid staff or even legal entities.
For anyone interested, I would love to meet in person for any further follow up and to discuss what God has been revealing to you. We will take time during the Monday meetings to discuss this as well. For those who feel that this plan is not right for them at this time, we covet your prayers. We face an enemy that will seek to discourage and demoralize us. We thank you in advance for your prayers and support.
To His glory,
Bryan Polivka, Dean Landers, Jeff Weaver