The Trellis and the Vine Quotes

I just reread The Trellis and the Vine after first reading it in college right after it came out. I was once again reminded why I enjoyed it so much the first time! There’s a lot of great things to take away from it, so here are the quotes that stuck out to me this time. My biggest takeaway: Start small, meet with 2 people and pray for the Lord to multiply the efforts.
“The basic work of any Christian ministry is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of God’s Spirit, and to see people converted, changed and grow to maturity in the gospel.” (8)
“Trellis work…tends to take over from vine work. Perhaps it’s because trellis work is easier and less personally threatening. Vine work is personal and requires much prayer…trellis work also looks more impressive than vine work. It’s more visible and structural.” (9)
“To be a disciple is to be called to make new disciples….our goal is not to make church members or members of our institution, but genuine disciples of Jesus.” (14)
“We will be arguing that structures don’t grow ministry any more than trellises grow vines, and that most churches need to make a conscious shift-away from erecting and maintaining structures, and towards growing people who are disciple-making disciples of Christ.” (17)
“If we want our strategy to be people-focused, we should concentrate on training, which increases the number and effectiveness of gospel communicators.” (19)
“Instead of using our volunteers, we should consider how we can encourage them and help them grow in the knowledge and love of Christ, because service flows from Christian growth and not growth from service.” (20)
“If we just focus on gap filling, we’ll never move out of maintenance mode.” (20)
“If ministry in our churches is based on reacting to the problems people raise, many will receive no attention because they are more reserved in sharing their problems…If you take a problem approach to ministry, people with the most critical needs will dominate your programs, and these needs will wear you out and exhaust you, and reduce the effectiveness of your other ministries.” (22)
“Elders and congregational leaders should be active vine-growers themselves before we consider giving them responsibility for oversight.” (24)
“We must be exporters of trained people instead of hoarders of trained people.” (25)
“Heb. 3:12-13. This can only mean that God wants all Christians to be speaking to each other regularly, urging and encouraging each other to stick with Christ.” (46)
“Everyone should be pursuing the same goal, which is to edify the congregation in love.” (48)
“What we are really talking about is a Bible-reading movement.” (57)
“This is why unity is so important in the congregation, and why complaining, grumbling and discord is so totally out of place.” (65)
“Gospel partnership is the normal Christian life.” (66)
“Leaders, pastors and elders are responsible to teach, to warn, to rebuke, and to encourage. They are foreman and organizers, guardians and mobilizers, teachers and models. They provide the conditions under which the rest of the gospel partners can also get on with vine work-with prayerfully speaking God’s truth to others.” (67)
“In the New Testament, training is much more about Christian thinking and living than about particular skills or competencies. We see this in the pastor epistles, in the words that are translated as ‘training’ in our Bibles.” (70)
“The heart of training is not to impart a skill, but to impart sound doctrine.” (71)
“Training is inescapably relational.” (75)
“If a trainer is committed to a relational approach, training programs enhance rather than detract from the personal training.” (77)
“We want to see people grow in: Conviction – their knowledge of God and understanding of the Bible Character – the godly character and life that accords with sound doctrine Competancy – the ability to prayerfully speak God’s word to others in a variety of ways.” (78)
“The gospel by its very nature produces growth.” (82)
“We must be willing to lose people from our own congregation if that is better for the growth of the gospel” (83)
4 steps to growth: “At the outreachstage, people come into contact with the word of truth for the first time…Once people respond to the gospel message and put their faith in Christ, some sort of initial follow-up is needed to establish them in the faith and teach them the basics…Then follows the lifelong process of growth as a Christian disciple-growing in the knowledge of God and the godly character that flows from that knowledge…The fourth stage training is not a sequential one…to grow like Christ is to grow in love and a desire to serve and minister to others.” (84-5)
“There are three approaches or emphases that we wish to examine which we will call: the pastor as service-providing clergyman, the pastor as CEO, the pastor as trainer.” (94)
Clergyman: “Perhaps the most striking disadvantage of this way of hiking about ministry is that it feeds upon and encourages the culture of ‘consumerism’ that is already rife in our culture…in this sort of church culture, it becomes very easy for the congregation to think of church almost entirely in terms of ‘what I get out of it,’ and thus to slip easily into criticism and complaint when things aren’t to their liking.” (95)
CEO “One of the key strengths and advantages of the church growth approach has been its promotion of congregational involvement.” (97)
“Unless Christians are taught and trained to meet with each other, and to urge and spur one another on to love and good works, the small-group structure will not be effective for spiritual growth.” (100)
“One of the first steps in applying these challenges is to conduct an honest assessment of all your congregational programs, activities and structures, and assess them against the criteria of gospel growth. How many of them are still useful vehicles for outreach, follow-up, growth or training? Is there duplication? Are some structures or regular activities long past their use-by date?” (108)
“If we pour all our time into caring for those who need help, the stable Christians will stagnate and never be trained to minister to others…ministry becomes all about problems and counseling, and not about the gospel and growing in godliness.” (111)
“Churches don’t make disciples; disciples make disciples.” (117)
“A co-worker must be completely dependable in rightly handling the word of truth.” (119)
“We wait to long to recruit someone, and they make family or career decisions that close off ministry options.” (149)
“What are you more interested in: the growth of your particular congregation, or the growth of the kingdom of God?” (149)
“Christian ministry is really not very complicated.” (151)
“The word ‘disciple’ means, above all else, ‘learner’ or ‘pupil’…the essence of ‘vine work’ is the prayerful, Spirit-backed speaking of the message of the Bible by one person to another (or to more than one).” (153)
“This training is not simply the imparting of certain skills or techniques. It involves nurturing and teaching people in their understanding and knowledge (their convictions), in their godliness and way of life (their character), and in their abilities and practical experience of ministering to others (their competence).” (155)
“What stands in the way of Christ’s disciple-making vision in Christian congregations? In most cases, it’s not a lack of people to train, or non-Christians to reach out to , but stifling patterns and traditions of church life.” (156)
“Building some form of regular training and ‘ministry talk’ into the agenda of church council meetings is very useful.” (161)
The principle is: do a deep work in the lives of a few.” (161)
“The most important factor is how much we love the message of God, and how much we love the people all around us who need to hear it.” (170)
“Take someone with you.” (170)
“Is there a core group of people who understand the priorities of the church and can effectively train others in those priorities?” (173)
“If people in your congregation do not want to serve, then how effectively are they being taught and discipled? Do your people know that laying down their lives for others is an integral part of being Christian?” (175)
“The people in these communities no longer see themselves as consumers of spectators, but as servants wanting to see others grow.” (178)
“If small groups are not led and run well, they can easily become ineffective or even dangerous structures where people gather to share their ignorance, and where there is no genuine pastoral oversight. Without training, delegation of pastoral ministry and responsibility to a small-group structure is an abdication of pastoral stewardship.” (179)
“Some administrative of organizational chaos can be managed, but the chaos of sin or false teaching does real damage.” (183)