A fresh start for Vinegrowers

A fresh start for Vinegrowers

A fresh start for Vinegrowers

Thanks for your patience over the last few months as we’ve been working out the new shape of the Vinegrowers ministry (now that responsibility for it has shifted to the Matthias Media team). With this email, we’re very excited to be marking a fresh start for the work.

As we do that, it’s worth revisiting the question of why the work of Vinegrowers is worth continuing. This is something Tony Payne and Marty Sweeney recently sat down to talk about (see the full video). Tony puts it extremely well when he says this:

The process of bringing change to a church is not a simple process, because we're not presenting a model. If we were presenting a model—here's the structure, here's what to do, just go do it—you could just go do it. But what we're saying instead is: here are the principles, the basic principles of Christian ministry. You're looking at your structures and everything you're doing, and you're realizing it's not quite fitting and not quite working. Bringing change to that whole thing, starting with the principles, is something you have to do yourself in your church. You can't just get a model and come and plonk it into your context. You have to think through: what does it mean to change the whole culture, the whole way we do everything here in our congregation, in line with these principles?

We've written one book (The Trellis and the Vine—outlining the need for change), we've written a second book that explains the change process (The Vine Project), but we've found as we've talked with people—and this is the way change always works—having an outside voice, having someone who's talked and thought through this a lot over time, really helps you in having your own conversation. Just having someone to bounce ideas off, someone to give advice in the process.

And one of our key roles through Vinegrowers is to be that outside voice or sounding board for church leaders. Indeed, it’s part of Matthias Media’s fundamental mission as “your partner in making disciples”. We want to offer useful advice, ideas and resources to help your church develop a vibrant and strong disciple-making culture that, under God, builds supportive trellises and grows a healthy vine.

So what will that look like? It will include seven main Vinegrowers activities…

  1. ​Sending this Vinegrowers email, once or twice a month. The aim is to keep stirring your thinking—even being a burr in the saddle—to keep your focus on progressing your church’s disciple-making culture. We’ll also keep pointing you to new and existing resources that can play a vital role in doing that. So please send us your feedback and ideas, and ask your questions, so that we can make this email a really useful interchange of ideas.
  2. Offering churches a free consultation call with one of our team. Find out more and register your interest at our brand new Vinegrowers page.
  3. Providing some longer term, fee-based Partnership calls to help in implementing church culture change. (Occasionally—as our resources permit—this might follow, by mutual agreement, after a free consultation call.)
  4. Providing a whole suite of free downloadable resources and videos to guide church leadership teams through the different Phases of the Vine Project journey. These resources are available in the Vine Project Library.
  5. Running occasional workshops (mainly in the USA)—opportunities for you to bring your leadership team and engage with us in an interactive day of thinking and planning.
  6. Being available to talk to you at some key evangelical conferences.
  7. Providing help at any time in finding the right resources to meet your ministry needs. (On that front, have you seen and tried Matthias Media’s new resource finder yet?)

We hope those sound like things that might prove useful to you and to others to whom you might recommend them. And we'd also be very glad of your prayers for us as we start to pick up this ministry, at the same time as continuing in the other roles we have at Matthias Media.

If you have any thoughts or questions, please do contact us.

Your partners in disciple-making,

Marty, Ian and Lindsey

Ian Carmichael

Ian has been with Matthias Media from its beginning (1988). In late 2020 he stepped down from the CEO role, and now works as an honorary consultant and editor for Matthias Media. Ian and his wife, Stephanie, have two adult children, two (gorgeous) grandchildren, and are part of Chatswood Presbyterian church in Sydney.