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The Trellis and The Vine

I read a book on church ministry this weekend titled "The Trellis and The Vine".  The premise of the book, as reflected in the title, is that all church work can be divided into two categories: trellis work and vine work.  Trellis work refers to structures, events, programming, etc. in the church and vine work refers to the actual work of making disciples.  The idea is that in many churches, trellis work overtakes vine work and becomes the focus of much of the time and energy of the pastors and staff at our churches.

What really caught my attention and got me to thinking was the authors definition of vine work.  At the conclusion of chapter three, the following statements are presented:

However, despite the almost limitless number of contexts in which it might happen, what happens is the same: a Christian brings a truth from God's word to someone else, praying that God would make that word bear fruit though the inward working of his Spirit.

That's vine work.  Everything else is trellis.

 If this is true (and I believe it is) then we need to take a close look at the types of work we are involved in at our churches.  Are we spending too much time on trellis work?  Are we leaving enough time to actually tend the vine of the Gospel in our people and are we teaching and training them to be vine workers also?

I know I was challenged by this book and I am looking at how I spend my time.  I want to be doing vine work as much as I possible can.

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Sheldon Clowdus