What would you be expecting from a conference whose theme is: Making All Things New? Well, if you’re anything like me, you would have grossly underestimated what had been prepared for the attendees. Sure, the worship times are blow-the-roof-off fantastic. Sure, the speakers are eloquent and eminently qualified to speak. Sure, the organization of sessions for kids, youth, and adults is impeccable. Sure, the mealtimes, with six buffet lines, are efficient with good food. But, you wouldn’t have prepared yourself for the new and younger voices leading worship. You wouldn’t have imagined the times of amazing worship lead by Black Vineyardites or Hispanic Vineyardites with their songs and their special styles.  You wouldn’t have thought about the deep work the Holy Spirit has been doing in the hearts and souls of incredibly brilliant young people who are the freshest sources of inspiration ever. You probably wouldn’t have pictured hundreds and hundreds of youth, gathering and laughing and moving in tight-knit clusters, as tomorrow’s face of Vineyard leadership. You wouldn’t have been prepared for the honesty and clarity of this new generation of leadership to communicate the heart of the Father with such conviction and zeal and disarming vulnerability. 

So, you, like me, would at this point feel you’ve been drinking from a fire hose, attempting to absorb the riches of all the above, sorry to arrive near the end, but grateful, too, to have a respite from the beautiful, lifegiving onslaught. A regularly repeated image throughout the week has been that of ‘setting the table.’ What we are called to do as Vineyard churches and pastors and leaders, is set the table in a way that says, ‘Welcome!’ to all who come and welcoming enough that the whole family feels comfortable inviting friends and neighbors and colleagues. Each of the teaching sessions adds to this idea, building awareness of our role as hosts, not just to our churches, our gatherings, our celebrations, but to the Kingdom to whose growth we are deeply committed.

It is a bright light shining through the darkness of the future. Truly confidence- and assurance-building personalities are emerging. The recently completed, full-scale re-organization of Vineyard USA positions us to continue bringing glory to God and His Kingdom for the rest of the 21st Century and beyond. It is a thrilling time to be Vineyard. Yahoo!  PD

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