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My family and I own a vineyard and a small winery. The vineyard and winery are not my full-time job, in fact--I'm a pastor. But I spend a lot of hours in the vines, which ends up being about meditation as much as it is about caring for the farm. When the sun is high and you're sweating like crazy, the vineyard has a way of showing a person things—things that one might miss were it not for the hours, and the slow pace, and the sheer beauty.

The other day I was out in the vines tucking the long vines up into the wire trellis where the canopy can gain maximum benefit from the sun and ultimately ripen the fruit fully and evenly. It got me thinking about the importance of the trellis—the wire, the posts, the structure. Without the trellis, the vines would never produce fruit. They would grow along the ground where the weeds and bugs would devour the plant in one slow, summer-long bite. The fruit would most likely rot, lying on the ground. I honestly can’t think of anything more depressing.

Point is, we need structure. We need to be tied to something, trained, and disciplined. Now there are a lot of good ways to apply this little "field lesson" to our everyday life, but since this is about creativity in the local church I will simply say this: Our churches are producing the fruit that our structures will support. If you want to grow new pastors and preachers, if want to see new songs and songwriters, you need to think about the trellis, a support structure that gets the creatives at your church off the ground, away from pests, and into the sun.

Growth requires a considerable amount of structure to come to fruition. People need goals and deadlines, and values, and input, and freedom, and limitations. In an environment where anything goes, usually nothing happens—it rots on the ground.

You have potential new preachers in your church right now. You have songwriters in your church right now. You have talent and real potential for fruit in your church right now. The question is, do you have a trellis?

Adam Russell is the lead pastor and one of the founders of Vineyard Church in Campbellsville, Kentucky. He and his wife Heather have three children (River, Seth and Magnolia) and also own a local health-food store and a couple acres of wine grapes. 

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Talk about it...

Keith B

commented on Aug 14, 2013

What?

Casey Scott

commented on Aug 14, 2013

Excellent! Thanks Adam!

Casey Scott

commented on Aug 14, 2013

Excellent! Thanks Adam!

Alexander Shaw

commented on Aug 14, 2013

When people tell me that they feel God is a million miles from them I remind them that when we prune our vines (or roses) - that is the nearest you are to your vine or rose bush during the whole year - looking for that bud that will produce fruit! When you are being pruned for future Service and that can feel sore, that may be when the risen living Jesus is closest to you!

Dean Johnson

commented on Aug 14, 2013

It was a good point that my church will only grow what we have structure to support. Why don't we have more men who can preach? Because we haven't put in place a structure to train them.

Danielle Schuster

commented on Aug 14, 2013

I am a minister of worship dance, a bible teacher and a woman who says yes!!! and Amen!! Please make room for us

Stephen Hayes

commented on Aug 14, 2013

Red or white production?

Gene Cobb

commented on Aug 14, 2013

Very good thoughts! We have so many gifted, called and talented people in our church! Recently a 13 year old young lady from our Youth Group gave the sermon! It was amazing! She feels the call to pastor and preach. Thank God our church is a place where ALL who feel God's call can grow! Also thankful when I was a young lady, I was blessed with a church who allowed me to grow and follow my call to Pastor! Thankful for churches with a "trellis"!

Simon P

commented on Aug 14, 2013

Why is a Pastor producing wine? Proverbs 20:1 "Wine is a mocker" http://todaysfreshmanna.wordpress.com/2008/09/23/a-christian-perspective-on-wine-drinking/

Dennis Cocks

commented on Aug 16, 2013

Proverbs 31:4-5 " It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted." Proverbs 23:29-33 "Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things." Why would anyone who calls himself a pastor condone something that has ruined countless lives and killed countless more? For those who would argue the Bible only says drunkeness is sinful, the Proverbs I just quoted says not to even look on fermented wine. It is not for kings to drink wine and as Christians we are kings. Revelation 1:6 "And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever." Jesus didn't make fermented wine in John 2 either. He made pure grape juice which is also called wine along with jelly. If we are talking about fermented wine then the guest at the wedding would have either been drunk or on their way already since they ran out. So if Jesus made fermented wine He would be guilty of sin as Habakkuk 2:15 says "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!" God cannot be tempted with sin and neither can He temp man to sin. James 1:13 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:" Since Jesus is God He would have also been guilty of tempting people to sin. Every alchoholic started out with one drink!

Derek Brown

commented on Aug 16, 2013

Dennis, that is the most insane logic, theology and exegesis I have ever heard. Also, shame on those who would point a perceived speck in Adam's eye while missing his message. I pray that no pastors' families own restaurants (enabling the sin of gluttony) or work at banks (charging interest) or at any placed that produces or sells firearms (enabling the sin of murder and contradicting Jesus' commands to make peace). Do you see what happens when we use your measure to all pastors? What if the measure you used was used against you?

John Sears

commented on Aug 16, 2013

Love the legalism of some of the comments about wine when the article clearly had nothing to do with wine. It was about having a support structure for growth. To those who get legalistic, it's no wonder that the world sees all Christians as anti everything and never for anything. And it is very disappointing.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Aug 16, 2013

@Derek, while man can certainly take something God made as good and make it evil, intoxicating drinks are not one of them because they are always evil. While man can use sex in an evil way, i. e. sex outside of marriage, we are commanded as married couples to have sex (1 Cor. 7:1-5) . We can also be glutinous but we cannot live without food. God gave us meat to eat (1 Tim. 4:3-4). And weapons are used for hunting and protecting ourselves, both of which are legit. In fact, in the Old Testement God commanded the children of Israel to go into cities and kill eveyone in them. Would you accuse God of being a murderer? What purpose is there in drinking alcohol? Where are we commanded to drink it? Since you are such an "expert" in " logic, theology and exegesis" please tell me what Habakkuk 2:15 means then. Also tell me what James 1:13 means and how Jesus got around both of these verses if He made fermented wine? Please enlighten me with your expertise.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Aug 16, 2013

@John, are you suggesting that preaching against sin is legalism? Are we legalist if we preach that adultery is sin? Yes, I'm anti-sin, but I'm in good company because so is God! Legalism is when we preach that following rules will get you to heaven. What did Jesus say we would do if we love Him? "If ye love Me, keep my...COMMANDMENTS" Oh my, Jesus is a legalist! My preaching is a balance between living a holy life and grace when we fail. I am not anti-everything, but I will preach against all sin and if you think that makes me a legalist, you do not understand the Bible!

Clarence Lawson

commented on Aug 16, 2013

I don't partake of the fruit of the vine... having said that, the article was not about wine but the structure required to grow healthy grapes. Great article. Uses a fruit vine for an illustration much like another preacher I remember when He said, "I am the vine and you are the branches". Where do you think grape juice comes from? A structured vineyard.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Aug 16, 2013

@Clarence, the author says, "My family and I own a vineyard and a small WINERY. The vineyard and WINERY are not my full-time job, in fact--I'm a pastor." If he would have only said vineyard there would be no problem since grapes, grape juice, and jelly are good. Like Simon P asks, why is a pastor producing wine? What if I wrote an article and said "My family and I own a vineyard and a small brothel," and then illustrated the things we learn from the vineyard? Would you overlook the fact that I owned a brothel and say what a "great article" it was? Pastors are supposed to be above reproach! How would a person whose life is being ruined by alcohol feel about going to a pastor who owns a winery? Can you imagine a pastor meeting an alcoholic who needs help overcoming his addiction and then the pastor popping open a beer in front of him? Like I said, pastors are supposed to be above reproach and having one write an article who owns a winery sends the wrong message, and if people can't see that, then, Lord help us!

David Bloom

commented on Aug 19, 2013

@Dennis cook- I agree we should call out sin within the church, however you are creating a sin where sin just isn't there and it can be damaging and decisive to add commands where no commands were given. The bible doesn't condemn alcohol. Here is a big reason why I say that. It is because Jesus drank wine. There are verses which would strongly imply that Jesus hung out with people who consumed alcohol and even consumed it himself. Look at Matt 11:19 -?The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ?Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners! They probably wouldn't have said "drunkard" if he was sipping grape juice or enjoying some jam on toast. Although it is not explicit I think it is implied But there are some verses that actually say wine in them so there is no mistaking it. Look at these verses "He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the labor of man, so that he may bring forth food from the earth, 15 And wine which makes man?s heart glad, so that he may make his face glisten with oil, and food which sustains man?s heart," (Psalm 104:14-15). And "No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments," (1 Tim. 5:23) Drunkenness is a sin, but it doesn't say drinking is a sin. We have to be careful not to put an unnecessary burden on others that doesn't truly come from scripture.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Aug 20, 2013

@David Bloom, you believe that Jesus drank fermented wine but I do not, and here is why. It is a known fact that in the days of Jesus, people had NEW wine and OLD wine. Some authorities tell us that even the grapes still on the vine were referred to as wine. Jesus said that men do not put NEW WINE in old skins (Matt. 11:17). If grape juice is put in a stiff skin and left to the natural atmosphere, it will ferment and burst the skin. New wine is pure grape juice, and grape juice is good for anyone. Notice that when Jesus shared the last Passover with His disciples He said in Matt. 26:29 "But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this FRUIT OF THE VINE, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father?s kingdom." He made sure to leave no doubt that He was drinking pure grape juice, not fermented wine. The Jews said that Jesus was gluttonous and a winebibber. We know that Jesus did not indulge in drinking grape juice to excess or eating to excess. He was certainly temperate in all things. These people were inconsistent beyond words. John the Baptist did not eat the natural food that they did in that day. He did not drink their wine or their grape juice, and they said he had a DEVIL (Matt. 11:18). Were the Jews right in their assessment of John? Certainly not! Jesus ate with them and drank their NEW wine, and they said He was a drunkard and a winebibber. Are you saying you agree with their assessment that Jesus was a drunkard? Were they right in their assessment of Jesus? Certainly not! On many occasions the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemey. Were they right in their assessment? Certainly not! Jesus was accused of many things by the Jews that simply were not true and Matt, 11:19 is just another example. So the other verses you use are speaking of NEW wine, not fermented wine. Again, look at ALL the other verses in the Bible that condemn the use of fermented wine! The use of intoxicating drinks is certainly considered a SIN in the Bible!

Dennis Cocks

commented on Aug 21, 2013

You think people would have the common courtesy to respond to someone who responded to them!

David Bloom

commented on Aug 21, 2013

Hi Dennis, I am sorry you didn't think my response was timely enough but to be honest I am not on this site all that often and I don't want to get lost in a debate because quite frankly I am not sure that it is the best use for either of our time to argue in the comment sections. But since you want a response, here it goes. First I was not at all saying that the pharisees were right in their assessment of Jesus, I don't think that at all, which you implied. All I am saying is that they most likely drew that insult (wrong as it was) out of their observation of Jesus drinking actual wine and it was comparing and contrasting Jesus actions to John who didn't drink also implying that Jesus did. Just like their claims of blasphemy came from the authoritative claims Jesus made about his divinity and messianic identity. Jesus lived a sinless life which leads me to believe that alcohol in moderation is not a sin. I have heard the old wine and new wine argument, however if you look at the original Greek there is no such distinction, at least with the references that I gave. In fact the same Greek word for wine (oinos) is used in 1st Timothy 5:23 when Paul tells timothy to drink wine for his stomach and in Ephesians 5:18 when Paul condemns drinking too much and drunkenness (if this was a reference to "new wine" there would be no way to get drunk) also oinos is used when referring to the wine Jesus made. there is no distinction made it can only be inferred. There is also no distinction in the Hebrew between negative references to alcohol (referring to intoxication) and positive references (which surprisingly there are quite a few, just do a word search of wine on blue letter bible in the original language, in Hebrew and Greek). I would never condone overindulgence and in many scenarios as a believer it is probably best to avoid it all together so others don't stumble, however I do not think the bible condemns alcohol all together as you would believe. I appreciate your point of view and the dialogue, however we might not see eye to eye but I hope you see that I am attempting to arrive at my conclusion based on what I see and study in scripture.

Dennis Cocks

commented on Aug 21, 2013

David, I really wasn't speaking of you when I wrote of my disappointment for others not responding. I made my original comment on the 16th and others commented then also. I then responded to their comments also on the 16th and it is now the 21st, no one bothered to follow up my answer to their comments. My response to you was only yesterday and sometimes it takes me a day or two to get back to the comments, so there was no problem with you. I know the Greek word for wine is "oinos" and it can mean grapes, grape juice, jelly, and fermented wine. So I understand the word oinos. We are just going to have to agree to disagree. I hold to what I believe and you are going to hold to what you believe. That's fair enough. Thanks for your response and may God bless you in your ministry.

David Bloom

commented on Aug 21, 2013

Hi Dennis, I am sorry you didn't think my response was timely enough but to be honest I am not on this site all that often and I don't want to get lost in a debate because quite frankly I am not sure that it is the best use for either of our time to argue in the comment sections. But since you want a response, here it goes. First I was not at all saying that the pharisees were right in their assessment of Jesus, I don't think that at all, which you implied. All I am saying is that they most likely drew that insult (wrong as it was) out of their observation of Jesus drinking actual wine and it was comparing and contrasting Jesus actions to John who didn't drink also implying that Jesus did. Just like their claims of blasphemy came from the authoritative claims Jesus made about his divinity and messianic identity. Jesus lived a sinless life which leads me to believe that alcohol in moderation is not a sin. I have heard the old wine and new wine argument, however if you look at the original Greek there is no such distinction, at least with the references that I gave. In fact the same Greek word for wine (oinos) is used in 1st Timothy 5:23 when Paul tells timothy to drink wine for his stomach and in Ephesians 5:18 when Paul condemns drinking too much and drunkenness (if this was a reference to "new wine" there would be no way to get drunk) also oinos is used when referring to the wine Jesus made. there is no distinction made it can only be inferred. There is also no distinction in the Hebrew between negative references to alcohol (referring to intoxication) and positive references (which surprisingly there are quite a few, just do a word search of wine on blue letter bible in the original language, in Hebrew and Greek). I would never condone overindulgence and in many scenarios as a believer it is probably best to avoid it all together so others don't stumble, however I do not think the bible condemns alcohol all together as you would believe. I appreciate your point of view and the dialogue, however we might not see eye to eye but I hope you see that I am attempting to arrive at my conclusion based on what I see and study in scripture.

David Bloom

commented on Aug 21, 2013

Hi Dennis, I am sorry you didn't think my response was timely enough but to be honest I am not on this site all that often and I don't want to get lost in a debate because quite frankly I am not sure that it is the best use for either of our time to argue in the comment sections. But since you want a response, here it goes. First I was not at all saying that the pharisees were right in their assessment of Jesus, I don't think that at all, which you implied. All I am saying is that they most likely drew that insult (wrong as it was) out of their observation of Jesus drinking actual wine and it was comparing and contrasting Jesus actions to John who didn't drink also implying that Jesus did. Just like their claims of blasphemy came from the authoritative claims Jesus made about his divinity and messianic identity. Jesus lived a sinless life which leads me to believe that alcohol in moderation is not a sin. I have heard the old wine and new wine argument, however if you look at the original Greek there is no such distinction, at least with the references that I gave. In fact the same Greek word for wine (oinos) is used in 1st Timothy 5:23 when Paul tells timothy to drink wine for his stomach and in Ephesians 5:18 when Paul condemns drinking too much and drunkenness (if this was a reference to "new wine" there would be no way to get drunk) also oinos is used when referring to the wine Jesus made. there is no distinction made it can only be inferred. There is also no distinction in the Hebrew between negative references to alcohol (referring to intoxication) and positive references (which surprisingly there are quite a few, just do a word search of wine on blue letter bible in the original language, in Hebrew and Greek). I would never condone overindulgence and in many scenarios as a believer it is probably best to avoid it all together so others don't stumble, however I do not think the bible condemns alcohol all together as you would believe. I appreciate your point of view and the dialogue, however we might not see eye to eye but I hope you see that I am attempting to arrive at my conclusion based on what I see and study in scripture.

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