Tuesday, August 9, 2016

What I love about The Vineyard - The Theology of the Kingdom of God

John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard Movement, used to liken the Kingdom of God to the D-Day invasion of Normandy.  When the allies took the beach in Normandy, Europe had effectively been taken for the allies, defeat of the axis powers was assured, and it was just a matter of time before the war was truly over.  However there was a time between the inauguration of this reality on D-Day and the consummation of this reality on V.E. Day (Victory in Europe).  Though the war had been effectivley won on D-Day the time between the inauguration of that victory and its consumation was the bloodiest period of WWII.  This is analgous to the church's present reality.

Jesus, through his life, death, and resurrection has planted the flag of the rule and reign of God firmly on the earth.  Victory is assured.  One day what is true on heaven will be true on earth because of the work of Jesus.  However, we live in a time between the cross, God's decisive victory through Jesus, and the Kingdom's final consummation where all things will have been set right through Jesus at his second coming.  In the Vineyard we call this the "already" and the "not yet".

There are times when we literally see heaven touching earth and we get a picture of what life will be like when the rule and reign of God is fully realized.  This video from the Vineyard Church in Cincinnati I think illustrates what I'm trying to say:



When we experience the "already" of the Kingdom we get a taste of what its like to live under the rule and reign of Jesus.  When Jesus reigns in all his fullness those who are forgotten are remembered, the sick are healed, those who are oppressed by darkness discover the light.  The poor are cared for, generosity flows freely, goodness, beauty, and life fill the earth or at least the place where we are experiencing the taste of Christ's Kingdom.  It's those times when we know God's victory is coming, where faith becomes reality.  I love the already!

Yet the "already" is not what we always experience.  There are times when it seems like our prayers fall flat.  When we pray for the sick and they remain sick.  When racism, materialism, consumerism are revealed to be present even in the church.  It's the "not yet"  The church lives within the tension of the "already" and the "not-yet" of the Kingdom of God.  This is the tension we live in.  The Kingdom of Darkness is fighting like a cornered animal for another day of existence and it plays for keeps.

The work of the church is to serve the Kingdom of Darkness notice that its days are numbered by undoing its works through the power of the Holy Spirit like Jesus.  Where we see sickness we minister healing, where we see racism we model reconciliation and inclusion, where we see injustice we bring justice.

This is what Vineyard Bryan/College Station will be about.  Giving our community tastes of the "already" in the midst of the "not-yet" so that people will look forward to the day when Jesus rule is all and all!

Listen to how our National Director, Phil Strout, puts it







What I love about The Vineyard - The Theology of the Kingdom of God

John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard Movement, used to liken the Kingdom of God to the D-Day invasion of Normandy.  When the allies took the beach in Normandy, Europe had effectively been taken for the allies, defeat of the axis powers was assured, and it was just a matter of time before the war was truly over.  However there was a time between the inauguration of this reality on D-Day and the consummation of this reality on V.E. Day (Victory in Europe).  Though the war had been effectivley won on D-Day the time between the inauguration of that victory and its consumation was the bloodiest period of WWII.  This is analgous to the church's present reality.

Jesus, through his life, death, and resurrection has planted the flag of the rule and reign of God firmly on the earth.  Victory is assured.  One day what is true on heaven will be true on earth because of the work of Jesus.  However, we live in a time between the cross, God's decisive victory through Jesus, and the Kingdom's final consummation where all things will have been set right through Jesus at his second coming.  In the Vineyard we call this the "already" and the "not yet".

There are times when we literally see heaven touching earth and we get a picture of what life will be like when the rule and reign of God is fully realized.  This video from the Vineyard Church in Cincinnati I think illustrates what I'm trying to say:



When we experience the "already" of the Kingdom we get a taste of what its like to live under the rule and reign of Jesus.  When Jesus reigns in all his fullness those who are forgotten are remembered, the sick are healed, those who are oppressed by darkness discover the light.  The poor are cared for, generosity flows freely, goodness, beauty, and life fill the earth or at least the place where we are experiencing the taste of Christ's Kingdom.  It's those times when we know God's victory is coming, where faith becomes reality.  I love the already!

Yet the "already" is not what we always experience.  There are times when it seems like our prayers fall flat.  When we pray for the sick and they remain sick.  When racism, materialism, consumerism are revealed to be present even in the church.  It's the "not yet"  The church lives within the tension of the "already" and the "not-yet" of the Kingdom of God.  This is the tension we live in.  The Kingdom of Darkness is fighting like a cornered animal for another day of existence and it plays for keeps.

The work of the church is to serve the Kingdom of Darkness notice that its days are numbered by undoing its works through the power of the Holy Spirit like Jesus.  Where we see sickness we minister healing, where we see racism we model reconciliation and inclusion, where we see injustice we bring justice.

This is what Vineyard Bryan/College Station will be about.  Giving our community tastes of the "already" in the midst of the "not-yet" so that people will look forward to the day when Jesus rule is all and all!

Listen to how our National Director, Phil Strout, puts it







Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Things I love about the Vineyard - Jesus is King!



When I was eighteen years old my best friend convinced me to be a part of a small bible study.  In that study we learned about Jesus.  We learned about his life, his teachings, the miracles he did, how he was Israel's true king and the world's true Lord.  I learned about how he was the fulfilment of the hope of the prophets from the Old Testament.  I learned that in some mysterious and powerful way his death upon the cross reconciled me to God and provided forgiveness for my sins. That through his resurrection he destroyed deaths grip and that now he setting all things to right through his reconciling love.

I learned that because Jesus is King, I needed to make a decision to bow my knee and pledge myself to him and his Kingdom.  I learned that pledge came through faith and that faith looks like trust and obedience.

On April 19, 1987 drunk and lost in the back of a subdivision I bent my knee and declared Jesus to be my king.  Since then I have made more mistakes than I care to think about.  Sometimes I've been a good representative of Jesus, sometimes a poor one, but something at the deepest level shifted in my life on that date and Jesus is my King.  I have never regretted following him and every time I've followed his lead it has brought richness, love, and depth into my life.  My faith is in Jesus.

Since that time I've learned the gospel, the kingship of Jesus, is more all encompassing than I could have ever imagined.  I will never plumb it's depths or fully understand it's mysteries.  But at the Vineyard Church of Bryan/College Station all we do will center on Jesus.  It will center on his kingship realized in our lives.  This will be a place where we proclaim that Jesus is King and lovingly challenge all those who come within our influence to know the rule and reign of Jesus and his Kingdom.

I bent my knee on April 19th, 1987 and have remained his servant for the last 29 years.  My prayer is that the Vineyard Church of Bryan/College Station will help many others discover that Jesus is king as well.

I love that in the Vineyard Movement Jesus is worshipped as king.

Speaking of worship here is one of my favorites!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Beauty for Ashes



I have a friend, Jamie Stilson, who pastors the Cape Coral Vineyard in southern Florida, who wrote a book called the Power of Ugly.  Jamie shares that Jesus can take ugly things, and through his grace, make them beautiful.  I believe that is true with all my heart.  I think God does that with the difficult times in our lives.  I think he can do that with people, with marriages and families, with cities and nations.  I think God loves to take the ugly, apply his grace, and make it beautiful.

When I think of God transforming the ugly to beauty in my own life, I think about learning to see, and make space for, the beautiful and transcendent in my everyday life and routine. We all know that our daily schedules can get pretty ugly.  It is so easy to let the busyness of ordinary daily life crowd out the joy, beauty, and peace of being in relationship with Jesus.  The beauty of God can be bursting out all around us yet we are to absorbed by the pressures of the day to notice it.

Life will always have its pressures and stresses.  Life will always be full of things we have to do. Life will always throw us loops that can interfere with our sense of peace.  The real key to experiencing God's peace is to allow ourselves to be filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit during the ordinary routines of life so that which seems profane (ordinary), can become sacred.  That which feels ugly can reveal its beauty.  That which feels God-absent can show itself to be God-filled.

The Jewish people and the early Christians were great Sabbath keepers.  Think about Sabbath for a second.  We have a God, who when describing what the created order is like builds in a vacation every week.  A time for rest, peace, and thoughtfulness.  What does that teach us about God and his character?

The church for many years had a liturgy for daily living.  When the faithful awoke they spent a little time in prayer, when they broke for lunch they spent a little time in prayer, before they went to bed they spent a little time in prayer.  In many places these hours of prayer were experienced in community.  Now this can become religious activity (a duty we perform to try to be more excepted by God) which is the spiritual kiss of death, but if instead of seeing it as a duty we see it as an opportunity, an opportunity to experience Sabbath during our day, little vacations from the ordinary pressures of life where we can discover God's peace and beauty, then Sabbath becomes a well of life flowing from God to us.

Doesn't Sabbath sound beautiful and appealing?

What if the church made it's central mission to help people experience the beauty of a relationship with Jesus by teaching people how to reconnect with the rest and peace of God?  What if they made their central mission helping people get to know the Lord of the Sabbath; the king of rest, of peace, and of wholeness.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  (Mt 11:28–30).

What if those words are actually true?  What if that truly is God's nature?


Thursday, July 14, 2016

What a Wild Several Months!!


Almost 17 years ago I planted the Chattanooga Vineyard and it is easy to forget what it's like to pioneer a new church.  Let me fill you in on some of the exciting things that have happened.


  1. We left Chattanooga the week before Christmas and arrived in Houston in time to have Christmas in Texas for the first time in 16 years.
  2. I enrolled at Texas A&M to begin finishing my degree that I had left undone for nearly 30 years.  I took 12 hours and made a 4.0.  I now have about 19 hours until I'm finished!  Being able to sit and learn, to get to know A&M again and meet lots of new friends was WONDERFUL.  I got up everyday feeling like I needed to pinch myself.  Who gets to do this? My college-aged friends do not take this time for granted!  Learning for learning's sake is a precious gift!
  3. Kellie got a job teaching at the Brazos School and is finishing her certification to teach in Texas.
  4. Though we have made less money than we have since the time I was in my early twenties (try a 40K hit to your income, it smarts) God has provided.  Our dear friends Jon and Denise Bowden allowed us to live on their farm/vineyard in Anderson Texas.  It was a truly wonderful time and getting to hang out with Jon and Denise on the weekends was soul-restoring after nearly 17 years of ministry.  The property was amazing and I can tell you the stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas.
  5. Anderson was about 40 miles from Bryan/College Station so for the last 5 months we've commuted.  This last week both the Peils and Anderles moved into the Bryan/College Station area. We are renting a little 1920's bungalow style house three blocks from downtown Bryan, and the Peils got a great place near College Station High School in College Station.  Everyone (the Peils and Anderles) is in and out during July but we should get into a rhythm starting in August.
  6. In August we will begin bringing people together and setting the culture of the church that will be the The Vineyard Church of Bryan/College Station. 
  7. There are so many things that I am so excited about when it comes to my relationship with Jesus and what it means to live in Christ-centered community.  I will be posting about those things a little bit each week.
Here's how you can help.  Pray that our core team develops a unified vision and culture for the church.  As always, we can use your financial support.  You can give to the pioneering work of The Vineyard in Bryan/College Station by clicking donate.  Thanks we appreciate your support and prayers!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Texas Here We Come; Plans are Finalized

 
Getting to Texas:


Well, it's official we will be moving to Texas during the week of December 18th.  I will be starting classes at A&M on January 19th.  I'm going to try to load my classes on Tuesday and Thursday and substitute teach on Mon. Wed. and Fri.  Both of these avenues should give me the opportunity to build lots of relationships with people in College Station.  Our hope is that Kellie can get on at the University as an academic advisor.  This is the job I want to get when I complete my degree next year.  We feel like there is no better bi-vocational gig in town for a church-planter than working at the University.


The Initial Strategy


My plan for launching the church is to begin with starting several "Discovery" bible studies within strategic relational circles in the Bryan/College Station area.  The Discovery Bible Study is a type of small group that is bearing incredible fruit in the third world specifically in the 10/40 window.  I've experimented with them in Chattanooga myself and have been impressed with the results (impressed enough that I'm willing to use it as part of our gathering strategy).  The idea is that you take the bible (we will be using the gospel of Mark) and you gather three or four people.  In the study you read a passage of scripture and ask a couple of questions.


1.  What does this teach us about the God
2.  What does this teach us about the human condition.
3.  What is one concrete action that I can do this week to demonstrate obedience to what I've learned
4.  Who does God want me to share this truth with this week


Its a very simple inductive bible study strategy.  It requires one resource, the bible and the goal is to get each person in the group leading their own group within 6 months.  The groups can meet anywhere.  I do mine in coffee shops at 6:30 in the morning.  It's a disciples making disciples strategy.


In conjunction with this we will begin with a low key worship service run out of a home initially.  We are going to really try to capitalize on the relational strength of a small church plant.  We will do a potluck breakfast, low key acoustic worship, and a time of equipping and training, followed by Vineyard style ministry of course.  As we out grow the home we will move to a larger venue, and with each move up we will create the systems that accommodate the larger gathering (greeting, children, assimilation, ext.). 


We will also host parties on Friday nights, at least once a month (possibly even more frequently than that) the idea behind these parties is that will be low key relational events where people can invite their friends and the different folks who are part of the church will have an opportunity to connect with each other's friends thereby building relational connections.


This is the strategy to gather the first 100.  Once we get to that size our structures will begin looking more like a small church. 


My heart is to build a really solid foundation based on disciples making disciples and strong Christ-centered friendships.  I'm intentionally using an inside out model of church planting.  Which means that we use relationships to gather people not a highly produced worship service.  It might be a little slower on the front end but the foundation is more stable, and the depth helps reproduce depth.


Prayer Needs and Need Needs


Our first need is financial of course.   We need people who are committed to seeing a church planted in College Station who will financially partner with us to see this happen.  I am not a spring chicken just beginning life, I'm 47 years old with two daughters in college, and my youngest son will be joining their ranks in the not to distant future.  The Vineyard Chattanooga is not able to do much for me at this point.  We just finished a major building campaign and the church is trying to get its financial feet back as it walks through the transition of losing the only pastor its known in its 16 year history.  So I need people who love A&M and the Vineyard to financially partner with us to make this dream a reality. 


The Vineyard College Station has a financial board made up of:


Raymond McDonald - Senior Pastor of the Cleveland Vineyard
Michael Lehman - Senior Pastor of the Trinity Vineyard
Geoff Bynum - Senior Pastor of the Katy Vineyard
Jeff Anderle - Senior Pastor of the Chattanooga and soon to be College Station Vineyard
Brian Fox - Executive Pastor of the Cleveland Vineyard
Steve Anderle - My father who is an accountant with over 50 years experience


This board is in place to oversee the financial and ethical integrity of the church.  You will receive quarterly giving statements and all gifts are tax deductible.


Make checks payable to:


The Vineyard College Station
20226 Needle Walk Lane
Spring, TX 77379


One of our greatest needs at the moment is a reliable car.  I have not had a car payment in over a decade but our minivan has 291,000 miles on it.  I have kept it well maintained and my plan was to save up and get a new one after our building at the Chattanooga Vineyard was built.  Well the building is built but my income has changed dramatically.  A good reliable vehicle would be a great help.


So Pray for a car, for cash, and for favor as we get ready to launch this new work.


Thanks and God bless,


Jeff Anderle

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A Phone Call From God

I know that many of you were not able to stay for the potluck we did nearly two weeks ago, so you might not have heard from my mouth what the Lord has been up to in the life of the Anderles.  God has called Kellie, Joshua, and I to go and plant a new Vineyard church in College Station Texas, the home of Texas A&M.

Let me start by saying that we did not seek this out, this is something God has orchestrated.  We are not mad, we are not frustrated, and we are not leaving to take a larger church or a larger salary.  As a matter of fact The Vineyard Chattanooga is in the healthiest place it has been in years.  We are growing again.  You guys who stuck with us through the “school days” are like 101 Airborne; we have truly become a band of brothers and sisters.  You guys are the saltiest, battle tested, most wonderful people a pastor could ever hope for. Kellie and I are secure in your love for us and we love you very much!

People’s most common remarks when they come and visit our church these days is that we are a very friendly and authentic group of people, and that they feel that there is a spiritual depth to our church that they have seldom seen.  As far as Chattanooga is concerned we love the city more than we ever have.  Living in our little apartment on the Northshore has made us feel like we are living in a resort.  We agree that Chattanooga is one of the most beautiful and amazing cities in the U.S.  If we were going to bail on Chattanooga because it was hard or because we believed the grass is greener in Texas we would have done it sometime ago.  The Lord knows we were content to live in Chattanooga and pastor The Vineyard here for the rest of our lives. 

To go to College Station means we will be walking into a situation with no guarantees.  We are being called to risk it all to go into a situation where we will be starting from scratch, again.  Why would we be willing to do such a thing?  Simply stated, because God has asked us too.   Let me tell you how he asked us.

In April we hosted a night of worship at The Vineyard.  As Kellie and I were worshiping that evening, the Lord reminded me of a prophetic word that had been given to the Vineyard by a member of The Sugarland Vineyard the week we moved out of HCC, the week before we went into Tyner.  The letter said that the Vineyard Chattanooga was a ship that was going to hit a reef.  That the ship was going to be completely ripped apart and that out of the broken wreckage would be built a second church that was much stronger than the first[1].  Well if you were there during the “school years” you know that is exactly what happened[2], but since being in our new building things have turned around.  But as I was worshipping that night the Lord reminded me of that word and said, “You know, Jeff that word was true for the Chattanooga Vineyard[3], but for you it’s going to be true of the church I want you to plant in College Station.”

The word was pretty overwhelming to the point that I teared up.  I leaned over and whispered into Kellie’s ear what I believed the Lord was saying. She looked at me and laughed.  So I thought maybe not… must have been the bean burrito.  But it stirred something in me and it began to be part of my prayer times. 

During the second week of May.  I sat down in Coolidge Park and told the Lord I felt double minded.  I told him I didn’t have the emotional energy to do this anymore and I needed him to make it clear to me what he wanted me to do.  I told him I was willing and happy to stay in Chattanooga for the rest of my life if that was what he wanted, but if he wanted me to go to College Station he was going to have to make it really clear, so clear that even I could comprehend it.  I then said a phone call would be nice.

The next day I’m driving to pick up Kellie from work when I get a phone call from Raymund McDonald.  Raymund pastors the Conroe Vineyard and is the new regional rep in the southwest for Multiply Vineyard[4].  Raymund said that the Bryan/College Station Vineyard was being laid down and that they were going to begin the close out process with the region, but that morning when Raymund was praying about the church God had told him to not file the paper work until he had first talked with me.  I had only had one fifteen minute conversation with Raymund before that point, but God told Raymund to get in touch with me about the church in College Station.  Well, I got my phone call from God.

I sat Kellie and the kids down and asked them what they thought.  They said we needed to do it.  I then invited the elders into the decision, I told them the story and asked what they thought.  They all thought it was the Lord.  I asked our Regional Leader our Area Pastor, my mentoring pastors and some of my close peers, they all said they felt like it was the Lord.  They confirmed what I already knew.  God was calling us to plant a Vineyard in College Station.

What Does this Mean for Me?

I know what many of you are thinking.  Great Jeff, but what about us?  What about the Chattanooga Vineyard?

God has not been caught by surprise.  I was, but not God. God is moving in this, and if he is calling the Chattanooga Vineyard to send out its ninth Vineyard church plant then he has already formed the plan for who is going to succeed me.  I like that word succeed, because I think it completely frames my heart in this.  I believe God is going to bring our church someone He wants to lead it for this particular time.  My prayer is that he/she succeeds me in every way.  That they take the church farther and deeper than I have ever been able to take it.  I believe they will.

We are in one of the most beautiful cites in America.  We have a great team of people who love Jesus.  We live in one of the most beautiful and coolest cities in America.  We are going to have no problem finding candidates who want to pastor this church.  We are going to have to hear God’s voice so we are able to choose the best fit for our culture out of many great candidates. 

So first I would say do not worry.  This is going to work out great. Second, I would say for the next 6 months very little is going to change.  We are going to be gathering your feedback on what you love about the Chattanooga Vineyard.  We will be asking why do you enjoy making this your church home?  What about The Vineyard do you want to preserve in the future.  I will also be out for a couple of Sundays because I’m in Texas getting things ready.

In the fall we will bring in candidates whom we will interview.  We will be getting Vineyard USA’s help.  They offer succession assessments that help churches identify the right person to fit their culture.  You will probably see several faces preach that we haven’t seen before.  We will tell you if these folks are interviewing.  

We are hoping that by the turn of the New Year we will have identified our new pastor and then we will begin the process of transitioning the church over to them.   Kellie, Josh, and I will be here until Memorial Day Weekend of 2016 helping the church transition into this new season.  Then we will be taking a two month sabbatical to get rested up and then we will hit the ground in College Station.

How Can You Help?
    
  1.  Don’t Freak Out.  Many of us are not big fans of change.  I promise you that no one has more skin in the game for seeing this new leader succeed than I do.  One of the consistent practices of ministry in this church through the years has been my consistency in giving ministry away.  I am fully committed to finding the leader who is the right cultural fit for our church and who can take the church beyond where I ever could.  I will be visiting Chattanooga either during Thanksgiving or Christmas every year and I want to see a healthy Vineyard Chattanooga.
  2. Tithe.  The only thing that is preventing our church from achieving all that it is capable of right now is weak finances.  There are many of you giving at a sacrificial level, thank-you.  There are many of you who are not.  Being a church is about each family or individual coming together to see the kingdom work of the gospel go forward.  We each partner with each other through using our money and our talents to create a beautiful community.  If you don’t do your part, someone is picking up your slack.  Don’t be a consumer.  Be generous.
  3. Serve.  We need everyone to step up to the plate.  Find a job and do it unto the Lord.  We need greeters, parking attendants, coffee hospitality folks, children’s leaders, youth leaders, and administrative people.  We need craftsman and carpenters and artists and visionaries.  We need small group leaders and teachers…you name it we need it.  So this is a time to increase your serve.
  4. Invite.  Let’s grow during this season.  We are a church planting church.  That’s what we do.  So let’s invite as many people to come along for the ride as we can.  This is going to be a fun season.  I’m excited for every part of this next year.  Let’s bring as



[1] I know…real encouraging word.
[2] We moved into one of the lowest performing schools in our city, because we felt like that was what God was calling us to do.  During that time we turned over almost the entire church and got a peek at the subtle racism that permeates America’s middle class.  We also got to see the ugliness of American consumerism up close and personal.
[3] That those who walked through the “school days” were forming a much stronger church than the one before.
[4] Multiply Vineyard is Vineyard USA’s church planting arm.