Vine Work in a Pandemic

 Taking our cue from the imagery Paul uses in Colossians 1:5-6, we’ve likened the dynamic gospel growth in the lives of Christians to a spreading, fruitful vine. The vine is supported by a trellis—any structure in which people can get together to grow. Trellises are necessary for the vine to grow, but it is the growth of the vine that is cherished. 

When the word of God is proclaimed, the vine is fed. The Sunday morning sermon is vine work. But vine work isn’t limited to there! Anytime any Christian speaks God’s powerful word to someone else, the vine is being fed. Vine work is simply the direct work of making disciples. 


As The Vine Project itself explains:
“Disciples are made by the persevering proclamation of the word of God by the people of God in the prayerful dependence on the spirit of God.”


God has chosen us—all Christians—as his means of accomplishing his purpose in the world. He grows his people, in number and Christlikeness, by his Spirit and through the speaking of his word. When we participate in this disciple-making, we are engaging in vine work. And as those we disciple go on to speak to others, we see the multiplication of ministry that leads to the gospel ‘bearing fruit and increasing’.

“This is where the life and power of all ministry is to be found: in the prayerful, Spirit-backed speaking of the message of the Bible by one person to another.” The Vine Project



What does disciple-making look like now?


Our traditional structures - small groups, coffee shop book clubs, even Sunday morning church - have disappeared or changed quite significantly.


Now what? This is what I have been discussing with pastors and ministry leaders from around the world. These ideas can help us think through how ministry - pastorally and personally - will change as we transition back to normal. To get you started, I recommend my chat with Craig Glassock who runs Vinegrowers in Australia.   –Marty



  • Craig Glassock: Ways churches can keep progressing in training word workers.
  • Rory Shiner: Lead Pastor of multiple congregations discusses how they are innovating in ministry structures during this time.
  • Peter Sanlon: Pastor of a small London upstart church tells of how he is keeping up with all his people while training others to help in this labor.
  • Ian Carmichael: A small group leader’s perspective on leadership ‘from below’ and the role of giving and generosity.
  • Matt Schneider: How a large historic church is making their church smaller and training more shepherds.
  • Tony Payne: The co-author of 'The Trellis and Vine' talks through what vine work looks like in his part of the world.
  • Jonathan Carswell: What could evangelism look like during a lockdown?
  • Colleen McFadden: A good reminder that the word does the work, which is the foundation of vine work.



Resources for vine work...

Disciple-making comes into its own when ministry is decentralized—whether by conscious choice (as encouraged in The Trellis and the Vine) or by circumstances—but good resources help to facilitate this one-another ministry and to maintain a degree of quality. That’s why we’ve put together a list of resources that will likely be useful to you during this shift of culture and ministry.

If you have questions, please email our team at or call us on 1-866-407-4530. We hope—now more than ever—Matthias Media can be a valuable partner with you as you seek to keep growing people as disciples of the Lord Jesus.