I have had a couple of people in the past few weeks ask me to further explain what it would look like to be in a Branch on a day to day basis.
I can explain it like this.
We are all busy and lead lives that have many activities pressing on our time daily. It gets very difficult and overwhelming to balance work, family, relationships, sports, hobbies, etc.
Now, a typical “church” thing is to saddle people with more activities onto these already busy schedules. Be in a Bible Study, mid-week prayer meeting, Women’s ministries, Men’s breakfasts, etc. Lately, you are expected to “be in community together”, or “do life together”, so that just adds to the busyness. There is a pressure and expectation that you need to be involved and if you are not, your commitment to serving the Lord and the “church” is questioned.
At the Vine and the Branches, we have seen this as a hopeless situation, and a failure of the modern church. It burns people out, makes you feel guilty for not doing more, makes serving a burden rather than a joy, and cuts you off from having any real impact in your community.
As a solution to this, the Branches will be operating in the Community that you are in. Remember, we are defining community as the place you physically live, or the place you live your life. There are all kinds of people in these communities we are connected to, and all have the same need: to know Jesus and His revolutionary Gospel. It does not matter if they are following Him or not, we all need the Gospel to transform our lives.
In light of this, a Branch will be someone (or more) from the VnB engaging in their Communities, intentionally bringing the Gospel according to their passion and gifting. It will not be adding another activity to your schedule. Rather, it will be incorporating Jesus and the Gospel into what you are already doing. It will not be forcing you to be somebody you are not, or make you do something you are not interested in being a part of. You are who God has made you to be, and He has placed you in the Community you are to introduce Jesus into it.
Therefore, the ministry of the Branches will be very flexible, very fluid. It will look different from place to place, and Branch to Branch because we are all different in gifting, personalities and passions. There might be other Christians in your Branch, and their might not be. It doesn’t matter if they go to another church or not, nor does it matter if they choose to be a part of the VnB at our Sunday gathering or not.
We will all be working for the same goal, to introduce Jesus and His Gospel to people.
For those of you reading this who like the idea, but feel like you are not equipped to do this, I will post another time about the role of Sunday teaching and Leaders in the ministry of the VnB.