My hope is that the Vineyard remains a Christ-centered group focused on the main teachings of Scripture as we follow Augustine’s ancient advice: “In essentials unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things charity.” We are thankful for the ideas God calls us to implement. If they are solid, it is because they are his and rooted in rock solid Scripture, in tune (at least in part) with some of what the Holy Spirit is doing today. And though the Vineyard is a mere thread in the global tapestry of the church, I believe it is a thread of his weaving. May God always empower us to continue Jesus’ ministry! John Wimber
Our Theme: ON CHRIST AND HIS WORD.
In 1976, just prior to the days when John and his wife, Carol, started their new church plant in Yorba Linda, he had a massive shift in the way he viewed ministry. Up until the time the Lord spoke to him (see the previous blog), he believed that ministry was something we did for God. But after his encounter with Jesus in that hotel room in Detroit in 1976, he knew that he would never have a ministry of his own ever again.
“There’s only one ministry out there,” John would tell pastors. “It’s Jesus’ ministry!”
I can still hear John telling pastors that if they’ve come to him to “find” their ministries or to improve their ministry, then they’ve come to the wrong place. In his mind, a leader’s job was never to work on finding your own ministry, but to discover what Jesus was doing in his ministry and then quickly run to involve ourselves with that. As I see it, ever since his encounter with the Lord in 1976, Wimber became obsessed with finding and doing the ministry that belonged to Jesus of Nazareth. And while that sounds really noble, it also can ruin you.
Why? Because being Christ-centered, focusing exclusively on the words and works of Jesus of Nazareth, giving yourself completely to the things of the Lord, means there’s little to no wiggle room left for our own personal agendas. And quite honestly, it’s been my personal experience over the years, that once I make that conscious choice to never have a ministry of my own, Jesus will often come to me, reminding me of that commitment whenever I tend to step over the line, trying to make things happen out of my own strength!
Christ-centeredness, you see, literally means Jesus is in the middle while I go off to the side. Now, keep in mind, that being off to the side in Jesus’ presence is still a beautiful thing. I’ve found that whenever I’m successful in becoming a sidebar to Jesus’ ministry, it’s actually much more fun (and productive!) than when I’m trying to build a ministry myself!
I wonder if that’s why Jesus was so successful in everything he did? I wonder if Jesus learned the fine art of deferring to God the Father and his ministry, rather than trying his best to make something happen on his own?
Wait! I remember. Jesus said it himself.
Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (John 5: 19)
Interesting, isn’t it?
Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, who now has the only ministry in town, had to arrive there by doing the same thing that he is asking us to do: Prefer and defer to God. Bow in adoration before the Holy One and follow Yahweh in humble obedience. Lay down my rights to defer to God’s right to rule and reign.
Not bad advice, John.
Christ-centeredness in all we do. I think that one will still preach well here in our self-centered, self-motivated, self-edifying, self-glorifying culture, don’t you?
Father God, I confess that learning to prefer and defer to you is not an easy task. Learning to wait on you, looking and listening for those things you are doing before I initiate my own agendas is obviously a fine art that Jesus practiced throughout his life. Holy Spirit, indwell me and empower me to live in a like manner, learning to do and say only those things I see Jesus doing. For your name’s sake. Amen!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO PONDER
- How would true Christ-centeredness change the way I’ve arranged my life?
- What needs to change in my approach to life and ministry, so that I lay down my personal agendas, preferring and deferring to the one ministry that changes everything, the ministry of Jesus?
So, what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Wisdom of Wimber?
Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. Might we also suggest that you order a copy or two of our book by the same title! It’s available in both paperback and e-book formats…and will soon be available in Spanish! Click here for more info. ENJOY!
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!