The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything
“This is the best book I’ve read on the nature of church ministry”, says Mark Dever. All Christian ministry is a mixture of trellis and vine. There is vine work: the prayerful preaching and teaching of the word of God to see people converted and grow to maturity as disciples of Christ. Vine work is the Great Commission. And there is trellis work: creating and maintaining the physical and organizational structures and programs that support vine work and its growth. What’s the state of the trellis and the vine in your part of the world? Has trellis work taken over, as it has a habit of doing? Is the vine work being done by very few (perhaps only the pastor and only on Sundays)? And is the vine starting to wilt as a result? The image of the trellis and the vine raises all the fundamental questions of Christian ministry: * What is the vine for? * How does the vine grow? * How does the vine relate to my church? * What is vine work and what is trellis work, and how can we tell the difference? * What part do different people play in growing the vine? * How can we get more people involved in vine work? In The Trellis and the Vine, Colin Marshall and Tony Payne answer these urgent questions afresh. They dig back into the Bible’s view of Christian ministry, and argue that a major mind-shift is required if we are to fulfill the Great Commission of Christ, and see the vine flourish again.
Readying myself for a move to Los Angeles, I naturally turned to literature, but I decided to avoid the region’s richest, oldest, most beloved literary currents: its unflinching examinations of Old Hollywood, its hardscrabble outsider odysseys toward the kingdom of celebrity, its hard-boiled tales of murderous intrigue and complex deceit beneath the palm trees. Those novels became iconic for a reason, but I had to ask: given Los Angeles’ practically unfathomable size and diversity, what other kinds of literature does it offer?
Talking about Portland, Colin slides in a few interviewing tips he’s picked up:
One mentioned starting off with explicit follow-up questions to those asked by previous interviewers. Another described how, given his interest in architecture, he thinks about conversation as a means of discovering the structures — intellectual, aesthetic, social, commercial — his interlocutors see themselves operating within. (Yeah, I totally get off on ideas like that.) Another praised Jon Stewart’s technique of setting down his hand on the table before him to subtly signal that he has a question about what his guest’s saying at that moment. I’ve been trying these out here in Portland. They work!
For $1000 or more, you’ll be the guest in one of season two’s episodes. I’ll come to you (within North America only, at least for this season) and we’ll record a conversation about the culture you create and the city you create it in. I’ll also thank you by name in all of season two’s episodes. This sounds like a joke, and I partially made it an option so the other options would look cheaper by comparison, but in the unlikely event of a $1000 pledge, I will totally do it.
Colin’s a great, great interviewer. Whoever snapped up that offer was wise.