On March 18, we affirmed a clarified definition of membership for WCV. The Pastoral and Lay elders have been diligently working on this issue for a number of years.
We recognized that the working definition of membership was confusing, so we set about to bring some clarity and simplification to the definition of formal membership in WCV. Over the years we’ve had a few working definitions. What is currently reflected in our bylaws is quite different from what we’re actually doing. So, our task was to revise the definition while maintaining a spirit of invitation and welcome to all (anyone can belong!), and at the same time have it actually mean something.
Bear in mind that anyone can be part of the Vineyard, whether or not they’re an official member.
>>What is a member of the Vineyard?
Members of the Vineyard are those who Belong, Serve and Give as defined below.
Members are part of a small group of other people in WCV that is focused on growth along the lines of WCV’s Core Practices. Triads in the Outer Circle process and House Groups are the best organized examples of this. However, there are other small groups that can accomplish similar goals. The main point is that members are:
- Intentionally and regularly gathering with a small group of people,
- Knowing and being known by those people, and,
- Actively engaging in spiritual growth as described in our Core Practices.
Members are actively engaged in God’s mission. Each contributes in some personal and practical way in WCV and/or in the Kingdom of God at large. We view service as a privilege and an opportunity to cultivate humility – especially those tasks nobody else wants to do.
There are times when we, like the Musk-ox, need to take some time in the centre and we’re just not able to serve for a season. We also recognize that some people will be serving diligently and faithfully in areas not directly connected with WCV and may not have time or energy to contribute in this way to WCV. We want to cultivate a generous and expansive scope in this regard and encourage all contributions to the Kingdom of God! However, many hands are needed to accomplish the activities WCV has been called to do.
Core Practices that deal with Serving: Circles of Sharing & Gospel.
Members support WCV financially with generosity and joy (2 Cor. 9). There are three reasons we give:
- Giving money away is an act of resistance and a demonstration of trust. We resist the pull of self-sufficiency and materialism that our culture swims in and we demonstrate that any money we have is the Lord’s and that we are his stewards of it. It is a practical act of worship that indicates where our hearts are at. In short, financial generosity is a discipline that forms us spiritually in a good way.
- WCV has practical operational needs. These are taken care of through gifts from members and others.
- When we pool resources through giving, we are able to share a portion of what comes to WCV with those in need.
Membership is renewed at the beginning of each year. One Sunday in January all new members are welcomed and all previous members re-affirm their membership to WCV – that they belong, are serving and giving.
Members will be contacted at the beginning of the year during the renewal process. The purpose of this is to determine who will be allowing their names to stand for another year.
The annual renewal is meant to encourage healthy self-reflection. We’ve learned this from our Himalayan region family. Each year they pause in January and ask the questions: “Am I still in this?” and “What’s God’s invitation to me this year?” It’s a moment in time they say, “yes!” again.
For us, membership is much more than just getting your name on a list. It means actively engaging in the vision and mission of WCV. In seasons of strength, this means being involved and offering that strength to others. In seasons of weakness, this means being taken care of and receiving support, healing, etc.
>>Current Member Note:
If you are unsure if your name is on the current membership list for 2017 and you want to be, please check with Vanessa. Currently, if you are in the Outer Circle or are doing something similar (intentionally and regularly meeting with a small group of people to pursue spiritual growth), then you can be a member. Just let her know – it’s really as easy as that!