Everyone Gets To Play

Years ago, not long after the birth of our first child, I (Michelle) was asked to share my testimony at church on a Sunday morning. I was really nervous about speaking in front of people and also really excited to share about how Jesus had transformed my life.

I spent a long time planning exactly what I would say and shaping it around the Scriptures. I spoke at the first of our two services and felt good about how it went. Then, I was in for a surprise.

Our senior pastor, Don Williams, approached me during the worship time for our second service and invited me to expand on what I had said, taking the entire time designated for the sermon.

When I stood up to speak, Don said, ‘I’m not preaching this morning. Michelle Wilson is preaching!’ I was shocked to hear him use those words, but I realized he was right – that what I had prepared was a sermon, and what I was doing was preaching.

[bctt tweet=”One thing we have always loved about the Vineyard is that ‘everyone gets to play!’ -Michelle Wilson” quote=”One thing we have always loved about the Vineyard is the idea that ‘everyone gets to play!'”]

In the Vineyard we’re committed to the belief that every follower of Jesus is given gifts from the Holy Spirit that are intended to be used to build up the body of Christ. We are also committed to the practice of empowering every person to discover and use their own gifts.

Given A Place On The Team

For me (Jamie), my first steps in ministry were also surprising. When I was a year and a half sober, and only days after I finished my undergraduate education, Don asked me to take leadership of The Branch Ministry, the church’s outreach to the poor and homeless.

I had been volunteering once a week in this ministry and had a growing sense of my call to serve Jesus, but I never expected to start full-time ministry at the age of 22. I didn’t have any leadership experience, and I was still trying to figure out what following Jesus meant.

Nevertheless, God had been showing me his heart for people living outside, and Don recognized gifting and calling in me and gave me a place on the field to play.

One of the reasons we’re in the Vineyard today is because a pastor called out the gifts he saw the Holy Spirit growing in our lives and encouraged us to take a risk in using and developing those gifts. As we’ve grown up in our faith in the Vineyard community, we’ve met countless people, both those in vocational ministry and those who serve in the hours they have in between other commitments, with similar stories of being encouraged in their gifts and given a place on the team.

We’ve tried to carry on this tradition as pastors of our own church. We look forward to seeing a new generation of women and men from every ethnicity, young and old, using their gifts to serve Jesus and to bless the world!


Additional Articles in this Series:

1. Introduction: The Vineyard Movement

2. Our History

3. A Family Of Torchbearers

4. Our Core Values

5. Quotes from John Wimber

6. Our Uniqueness

7. Balance

8. Where Are We Going?

9. Everyone Gets To Play

10. God Is Near