Four months ago, The Vine’s leadership families met to evaluate 2012 and to plan for 2013. After much thought and prayer in 2011 we had decided that we needed a more sizable and stable seed team to continue in our planting efforts. 2012 was intended to be a building year for The Vine,with the goal of growing and assembling such a team. As we evaluated 2012, we were very pleased to see that in regards to leadership and strategy, it was perhaps the best year we’ve seen in our work planting The Vine. We carried out every objective that we had prayerfully developed at the beginning of the year. At the start of September we had a seed team of 15 people that were excited about being a part of the vision, and we were excited to see what the Fall would hold. It seemed as though we were getting ready to turn a corner.
Our goal for September to December was to see this group of 15 begin to gel and grow in number as well as in understanding and ownership of our vision. However, this is not what we experienced as Fall moved towards Winter. At the time of our evaluation in December our team was back down to 8 committed people (including four from our leadership families). The decrease in number occurred slowly over October and November, and the reasons people dropped off were varied and made sense in each case. As we discussed our options the possibility of closing The Vine was put on the table for the first time. After our meeting we began consulting our various church planting coaches and spent much of the month praying.
When we came back together in January, we made the difficult decision to move forward with closing The Vine this year in April. Since January we have been spending much time and care in communicating this news to those on our seed team as well as to those in The Vine’s broader community. We have continued meeting bi-weekly on Sundays as The Vine and weekly in our discipleship groups. It has been a difficult and emotional season for The Vine.
This past weekend, on April 24th, The Vine held its final Sunday gathering. We ate, we laughed, we worshipped, we prayed, and we cried. We focused our discussion on the paradoxical nature of Christ’s gospel – that in the midst of a broken world we still experience joy and hope; that even in the face of death we experience life (John 12:24); that at the close of something we have all loved we can still trust in the very thing that brought us together – the love and hope found in Jesus Christ. It was encouraging to hear each person share how God has changed their life through being a part of The Vine, and it gave all of us opportunity to see that The Vine has been involved in major victories in God’s Kingdom:
Light has shone into darkness.
Hope has been found in despair.
New Life has been found in chaos.
Marriages have been transformed.
Jesus has been made much of and declared as King.
And now we all move with some trepidation, but also with much hope and courage, into whatever season God has for us next. We will celebrate resurrection and new life this weekend with Reality Vancouver knowing that our walk with the King continues on.