So often, I get asked, “Why don’t we do this program, or this event, or this outreach activity?” While all great questions with good intentions, I think the question needs to be shifted.

The Difference Between a Trellis and a Vine:

Tony Payne suggests in his book, Trellis and the Vine, 

The basic work of any Christian ministry is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of God’s Spirit, and to see people converted, changed and grow to maturity in that gospel.”

Yes, there are different ways to go about seeing the gospel contextualized to the hearts of people for both conversion and maturity. However, the church often fails to do real vine work. Instead, massive trellises are falsely built under the disguise of hyper-manipulated environments that builds crowds through the medium of entertainment and over-exaggerated “come and see ministry” — often times called programs and events. Yes, I realize that sentence sounds harsh, but intentionally so.

Payne continues,

“Trellis work also often looks more impressive than vine work. It’s more visible and structural. We can point to something tangible–a committee, an event, a program, a budget, an infrastructure–and say that we have achieved something. We can build our trellis till it reaches to the heavens, in the hope of making a name for ourselves, but there may still be very little growth in the vine.

6 Ministries of a Covenant Member:

The ministry of a Covenant Member at a local church is a weighty ministry, and can easily fill a week, especially if we realize the real work of Christian discipleship is vine work.

With that said, here 6 ministries that a Covenant Member at Veritas City Church embraces as they become members:

ONE: You have a ministry of attendance.

  • One of the biggest ministries that you can perform as a covenant member is to consistently attend Sunday gatherings.
  • If I were to miss dinner time for 3-weeks in a row, it probably wouldn’t sit well with my family.
  • In the same way, the church is your family.
  • As a covenant member, you have covenanted together with the other brothers and sisters at Veritas to gather together weekly for corporate worship.
  • I believe in a regular ministry of attendance so much so that I think it changes your travel routines and weekend routines.
  • Your first ministry is to attend and to attend regularly.
  • Furthermore, a regular ministry of attendance shows who can be counted upon in areas of serving on Sunday morning!
  • And finally, a regular ministry of attendance allows us to grow faster as a church.
  • When you are here only a fraction of the time, it doesn’t give us the critical mass we need to continue to grow… that also means when you don’t come, then you aren’t bringing people with you.

TWO: You have a ministry of participation.

  • If you aren’t consistent in your attendance on Sundays, you will miss out on important announcements and other things happening around the church.
  • Two immediate ways to participate in the life of our church right now:
    • City Groups
    • Sunday Seminars
  • Participate in both as you can.
  • City Groups are the life blood of our church.
  • Sunday Seminars are important equipping seminars for theological, apologetical, and/or cultural topics.

THREE: You have a ministry of giving.

  • One thing I am continually blown away by in the life of our church, is our people’s generosity.
  • Let me say this first — THANK YOU FOR GIVING!
  • Let me say this next — Continue to be generous.
  • Starting January 2019, our budget increases by about 20%.
  • Here’s my challenge to you:
    • ONE: Give generously to the 2019 Vision Offering
    • TWO: Continue giving 10% to Veritas City Church… and if you are not giving 10% right now, I am going to ask that you stretch yourself to do that.
  • If all of our Covenant Members gave 10%… which is the biblical minimum requirement… then I believe we will have zero trouble in making up our 20% budget increase.
  • Moving into 2019, we need everyone to commit to a ministry of giving — continuing to give generously.
  • Furthermore, my encouragement to you in your ministry of giving is to make it a REGULAR REOCCURRING GIVING.
  • HERE’S HOW WE DO IT: Every Sunday morning, 10% of my paycheck is automatically debited from my account at the beginning of the week.
  • If I don’t do that, I know my tendency to wait… or to forget… or to be tempted to give less than 10%.
  • Also — attendance and participation allows you to know the needs in the life of our church.

FOUR: You have a ministry to one another.

  • It’s no secret that we have a wide open ministry calendar.
  • And we do this so real ministry can take place to one another.
  • But real ministry can only happen if you are consistently showing up and participating in the first place.
  • There are many different gifts in here, and many people on many different journeys. Therefore, there is a lot of opportunities to serve and to love one another.
  • Another one of my favorite things about our church is how we care for one another.
  • Over the last year, we’ve had some pretty intense needs.
  • And there hasn’t been one need that I’m aware of that hasn’t been tackled and met by our people.

FIVE: You have a ministry to your pastors.

  • Here’s a few ways to minister to your pastors:
    • ONE: Pray for your pastors.
    • TWO: Encourage your pastors.
    • THREE: Serve your pastors.

SIX: You have a ministry to your neighbors.

  • One of the main reasons we want to have an open church calendar is so that you can actually have time to live on mission and be evangelistic.
  • And this begins with our neighbors.
  • Therefore, if you’re counting, I’m giving you 5 ministries inside the church, and 1 ministry outside of the church.
  • But the first 5 are building blocks to number 6.
    • If you’re too busy for regular church attendance, then you’re probably too busy to build a relationship with your neighbor.
    • If you’re too busy for active participation in City Groups and Sunday Seminars, then you’re probably too busy to build a relationship with your neighbor.
    • If you haven’t prioritized give 10% to your local church, then you probably haven’t cultivated a generous spirit to your neighbor.
    • If you aren’t actively serving those you call family INSIDE THE CHURCH, then I can probably bet my next paycheck that you aren’t doing it OUTSIDE THE CHURCH EITHER.
    • And if you aren’t actively praying for your pastors and leaders, then I’m guessing you might not be also be actively praying for your neighbors.

In Conclusion:

These 6 ministries, if done well, will take up most of your time in Christian discipleship, evangelism, and care towards one another in the church.

As we move into 2019, these 6 ministries will call our church to a great maturity and a greater urgency for the mission at hand.

About the Author Greg Gibson

Greg is a husband, dad, church planter, and social entrepreneur. He is the founder and Lead Pastor of Veritas City Church in Washington, DC. He resides in Georgetown with his wife, Grace, and two children.

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