We flew over from Basel, Switzerland to Dublin on Thursday. Turns out Ryannair only allows about thirty pounds per checked baggage…as opposed to United’s (and everyone else in the universe) fifty pound limit. You can pay extra…like, twenty Euros per extra kilogram. We were all at the fifty pound limit, so we jettisoned clothes (I dumped all my t-shirts) and crammed as much as we could into out carryons, and just made it to the gate. Turns out everyone here makes fun of Ryannair—they charge for seatbelts. Okay, I made that part up.
There are now six Vineyards in Ireland. They had their regional meeting in Dungannon—five were able to make it. We did two sessions together; I spoke on developing outward-focused churches, had lunch, and then an extended Q&A time. Great guys…all with similar hearts.
Sunday morning I spoke at the two services at Vineyard Dungannon. My buddy Jason Scott (lead pastor) wanted to launch a new series: The Apprentice, about discipleship. Apparently there’s a British version of Trump's show with a hyper-successful, self-made businessman named Alan Sugar who doesn’t have a comb-over, but he does have an attitude. Jason asked me to speak about surrender…so I spoke on three levels of surrender in a person’s life: surrender for survival (“Lord, help me!”), surrender for service (“Lord, what can I do?”) and the surrender of self-denial (“I am crucified with Christ.”). Afterwards, we had lunch with all the ministry leaders.
A very, very cool thing has happened here. Last year they launched a campaign called Leaving a Legacy and raised over a 180 thousand pounds to create a great space for kids in after-school programs and teens on Friday nights, a center for ministry to the poor called The Storehouse, and their ongoing ministry to the Dalits (the lowest caste in India—“untouchables”). Remember, this is a church of only 130-150 people or so. I’m so proud of these guys.
Plus, a few weeks ago they launched their second service on Sunday mornings. Last October they were averaging 75-80 people on a weekend, so doubling their services nearly doubled their attendance. I love it when leaders move beyond what some consider “facility restrictions” or worse, “lack of volunteer leaders”. We decided recently that we would not launch a new ministry or program without asking the question, “What’s the maximum number of volunteer roles we could create for this?” I think people want to play in the game…and often they’re not asked.
Anyway, it’s been good to connect with our friends here and hopefully bring a little encouragement. What they’re doing ministry-wise is certainly encouraging to me.