We are a people who have been awakened to the reality that God is not nearly as far away as we once thought. He’s near – he is always near! And it is his nearness that shapes everything we do and everything we are. I didn’t grow up in the Vineyard, but I did come of age in the Vineyard. I was 17 when I went to my first Vineyard meeting. I remember being blown away by the worship, the pastor who didn’t wear a suit, and the ministry time. For years I couldn’t articulate why those early experiences were so meaningful, but then one day I was telling a friend about the Vineyard when he summed it up perfectly: ‘You really believe that God is in the room!’

In the Vineyard we believe that God is actually in the room. He’s with us every single Sunday. Not only that: we are waking up to the fact that he is with us every day as well. It’s why we mostly sing songs to God. It’s why we pray for the sick and believe for the impossible. It’s why we let everyone join in the work of the ministry. God didn’t come because a couple of morally superior, super-Christians happened to be in the room. No! We figured out that he loves people so much that he’s present even when the room is filled with the least and the lost.

And he often shares his best gifts with the people everyone else has forgotten. We work for justice because God has brought his just kingdom into our midst. We endure hardship and loss without losing heart because the crucified Christ is with us. We look for the lonely and the outcast because the Good Shepherd, who regularly leaves the 99 to go after the 1, shows up when we do the same.

The Vineyard is diverse. We are city, and we are country. We are rich, and we are poor. We are Black and White and Latino and Asian, and all the complex mixtures of each. We are old school, and we are new school. We are Boomers, and Generation X, Y, and Z.

[bctt tweet=”But most importantly, we are people who are awake to the nearness of God. -Adam Russell” quote=”But most importantly, we are people who are awake to the nearness of God.”]