It was only about 5 seconds long, but it struck me powerfully – a humorous, repeating video clip
of a lady being baptized, and baptized, and baptized, and baptized, each time (of course) rising
out of the water with a radiant smile on her face. I think that provides a visual summary of this
family reunion here in Phoenix this week. We’ve been repeatedly slam dunked in power and
grace and mercy and forgiveness and hope and encouragement in the manifest Presence of the
Holy Spirit until we are like little kids being swung around and around in wide circles by their
dad, squealing with delight, falling-down dizzy, deliriously happy within the safe zone of
acceptance and love, desperately needing to stop but reluctant to admit it so we keep saying,
“Again! Do it again!”
The theme of the day on Thursday was Gospel Proclamation. It was pure delight to be
reminded, from a grainy video clip from 1993, that our message is the Gospel, and Jesus is the
Message and the Gospel, our True North, unchanging and unchangeable. Our speakers that
evening reiterated the truths found in Jesus, and that, in the current chaotic, confused, wayward
culture, the message of the Good News of the Gospel of the Kingdom announced in Jesus,
shines brightly and unashamedly in the spreading darkness. Our calling is not just to announce
the news that Jesus loves us, but to live it out loud while on our pilgrim journey to the Father’s
heart. Not just talk. But do. Not just preach. But show. Did I mention that the worship all day was
Olympic? Exuberant? Over-the-top? Otherworldly?
Friday morning’s agenda was historic – the transfer of leadership from one National Director to
the next and from the current National Board of Directors to the next generation. This final
session kicked off with still more of the same soul cardio (let me just say that our lungs have
been worked over but good, and our vocal chords will be fine – eventually). Immediately
following the last guitar strum and the last flourish from the drummer, out walked Phil and Jan
Strout, the Vineyard USA National Directors who’ve faithfully held that post for the past ten
years. They were greeted with roaring applause and standing ovation! (can you almost feel the
love?) The entirety of their remarks consisted solely of an enormous list of heartfelt thanks for
the love and support during their tenure. They were followed by John and Eleanor Mumford,
Vineyard Global Executive Directors, who were present for the formal passing of the baton to
Jay and Danielle Pathak. Several video congrats from National Directors in the UK, Kenya and
Canada and the stage quickly filled with leadership teams and couples to pray over our
incoming leaders. Intense, emotional, joyous, love-drenched, that was the atmosphere. Then
Communion together and, yes, one last, galactic musical send-off and a final prayer. I feel I’ve
forgotten to include some superlatives in my accounts this week. If you feel that way too, read
back over these notes and add a bunch of ‘est’ endings here and there, and you might be
getting warmer. Chris (Mabey), I’m so grateful you’re speaking tomorrow because I don’t think
I’ll be coherent by then. Really looking forward to seeing you all from Dallas tomorrow morning,
9 AM in Texas, 10 AM on the East Coast, 3 PM in the UK, 4 PM in France. PD

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