Beyond stylistic change

My parents go to a Uniting Church, and I grew up mostly going along with them until I left for Uni. I have watched them and their faith community walk through some pretty big challenges in their denomination over the years.

I find it interesting to read this article by Jonny Baker, Musings from Australia and is well worth a read. He was invited out to Australia by the Uniting Church.

It’s timely to read this, as earlier this year I met some fellow travellers, who are in leadership with the Uniting church and are on a genuine journey with new wineskins in their community. They were so hungry, teachable and great seekers of truth. They are keen to draw from many sources as they seek the Father’s heart. They echo a little of what I hear from Jonny’s reflections about what he was seeing here during his visit.

Jonny Baker says in a series of posts he’s been doing on the future in worship…”i rehearsed the passage jesus tells about new wine and old wine to suggest that we need both old and new but that if we want new in the future we need to create space for pioneers now. that new will also be uncomfortable because it won’t just be about stylistic change but will include a deeper questioning and re-theologising.”

I pray that in the Vineyard movement, no matter what comes, we will continue to be open to new wine in new wineskins, as well as enjoying the rich vintage wine. It is my hope that we can continue to bless and invest in the pioneers as well as hold value and integrity in what has been such a rich part of our movement.


I’ll catch you after the movie

I was reminded today of a flight I was on a number of years ago, returning from Perth.

It was the cheap, red-eye, and it happened that my birthday arrived mid-flight as we moved into a new day. The plane had many of my friends onboard as we’d just been to a national gathering for all the Aussie Vineyard churches. Spirits were high and there was lots of crazy banter (plus they all sang happy birthday to me when it was midnight!)

I was smiling at that memory today,  and thinking “oh those poor passengers who were on that flight.”  Crazy days!

Then it all came flooding back. I was window-seat, and on the aisle was a young, energetic, bright guy who was from our church. There was a stranger who was unfortunate to get seated in the middle seat of our row of three.

That can be uncomfortable at the best of times, but this flight must have been tough for him, because of our frivolity.

We got into conversation. “Where are you guys all from? etc” and all three of us were chatting for quite some time. He had a bad experience with ‘church’ and so was sharing some of his story with us.  It was one of those conversations that I was really aware of a seeking heart in this man but we were all starting to fade as the early-morning hours kicked in. (I can also remember thinking “oh the movie is about to start!”)

Here’s the crunch….after a long time chatting, and being given opportunity to share with this guy, I can remember feeling like we’d gone as far as we could at that hour, and so we said we were going to catch the movie, and started getting our headsets ready. At that point, my birthday silliness and lack of sleep kicked in and I said “Hey but if you have any more questions, write them down! We’ll catch you after the movie.” And we proceeded to hit that movie zone of quiet and stillness….

Some time into the movie, out the corner of my eye, I saw a notepad and pen being used, scribbled on, and this guy had been writing…I sat there stunned.  Slowly I took off my headset and we started talking quietly again…he showed me his page full of written (and very genuine) questions.

I’m not sure why that memory came back today, but I am so aware that there are many moments in my day when i could easily zone out and miss life encounters going on all around me.

David Ruis in Melbourne

The Fragrance of Worship with David Ruis
… an exploration of the fusion of community, justice and creativity in the church today.
I know this is a bit of a way off, but don’t want you to miss out so I’m giving you the ‘heads up’ for the Melbourne dates, at YVV.


Tuesday 28th October, 2008   


An evening for Victorian Vineyard worship community.

This is for Vineyard worship leaders and members of worship teams. 


Wednesday 29th October, 2008

7:30pm The Fragrance of Worship Concert

Open for all.

Register online or pay at the door.

You can find out more from the AVCA website.