i have been involved with the vineyard church for around ten years now and although i am never going to be a ‘lift high this denomination over another’ i have really enjoyed most of my time here – it is not the one true church for sure and we can definitely still learn and incorporate a lot of stuff from other denominations, but there are a couple of specifically vineyard things that i really do enjoy…

the one thing that concerned me from time to time as i hung out with bunches of grapes (okay, that’s probly not the collective noun for people in the vineyard) was hearing about this guy called john wimber who pretty much started the vineyard church movement and hearing about him a lot in the context of ‘what would john wimber do/say?’ – i’m not saying this was everyone, at all (in fact in my six years at stellenbosch i can’t remember hearing chris the boss say it) or that it was excessively rampant, but from time to time there was the nervous concern that this is a guy who some people are putting on a pedestal (as the mega-christian, the one to follow) and i always get nervous when anyone replaces Jesus as the person we are meant to be following [altho it is okay to have role models – Paul spoke of following him as he followed Christ – we just need to be careful]

then my good buddy rob showed me a dvd of john giving his testimony and doing a preach once and i resonated so completely well with him and so understood a little bit more why people have the tendency to spurt “john wimber said…” because he did say some pretty cool things – and then as a farewell gift, chris the boss gave me a copy of ‘Everyone gets to play – john wimber’s writings and teachings on life together in Christ’ which i’d been wanting for a while and i am busy reading that, and it is fast becoming my top three book number three (after ‘No Compromise’ and ‘The Irresistible Revolution’)

‘Everybody gets to play’ was the phrase john wimber used to use to describe the priesthood of all believers – that it is not just about the big guy in front – the “man of God” or “the man of power for the hour” – but that the Holy Spirit comes and lives in us when we follow Jesus and so all of us get to do the stuff – i really like that and it’s some of the wimberisms that really make understanding how to live this Jesus-following thing a lot easier

i will probably write out some excerpts of the book so you can get an idea of why you should get hold of a copy, but for now i want to really highly recommend it – john wimber looked like a local mall santa claus without the red clothes – fat, smiley, bearded man who was all about trying to love God and people better, and help the church do it along the way. Simple, straightforward, challenging writing – an easy read in terms of simple explanation of biblical concepts and some great chapters so far on love, commitment, growing as a Christ follower, money, prayer and spiritual gifts.

do yourself a favour and seek out a copy.

[Everyone Gets To Play – John Wimber ISBN 978-0-9817705-7-4]