What a privilege to have Gary Best (recent Director of Vineyard Churches in Canada) and Cory Sondrol (Regional Overseer of Vineyard Churches in Colorado) with us for the last couple of days!
Gary spoke at the launch of the York New Wine Network on Monday night and communicated with grace, humour and wisdom and put us at our ease with his wonderful gift of laid-backness! Gary’s message was simple: God has new wine to pour out. New wine of the Spirit. In the same way that he poured this into new containers in days gone by, so he will do so again. And he was encouraging both the old and the young to work together, to be together and to learn and grow together as this happens into the future. And then he got any under 30s who wanted to commit to serving God whole-heartedly with their lives to come forward for prayer – and around 70 or so came forward. And then he got anyone over 30 who’d like to pray for them, and be prayed for by them, to come forward and we matched up and had a lovely time of praying and prophesying and commissioning. It was fantastic – not just because of the prayers being said but also because of the prophetic nature of what was going on. It seemed to me like this was a particular moment – what some call a kairos moment – a marker in time – when something important was taking place in York. It was not just a ‘handing on of the baton’ to another generation. It was more a sign that together we will do this. Together we will serve God. Together we will seek the new wine of the kingdom of God and give it away to others. It was a powerful evening and I look forward to seeing the fruit.
Gary and Cory also spent the next morning with The Belfrey’s Staff Team. They taught us very practically on models and styles of leadership and also on some of the frustrations of leadership and there was some good interaction with questions and prayer. Again this was wise, helpful and I’m sure timely for us as we go into this New Year and seek to be most effective in God’s service.
I passed them a note before they left and will write in more detail in the next day or so. In the note I thanked them especially for the way they poured themselves out into us whilst in York, because in the midst of all the good things they brought to us, the thing that stood out for me was their character. That’s what shone through. I saw two men who were kind, humble, strong, attentive and with a massive heart to serve and help. And that is a beautiful thing. And that’s the kind of leader I want to be like. Because it is so biblical. So godly. So Christ-like.
This idea of pouring yourself out for the sake of others is what Jesus did. In Philippians 2 we’re told that Jesus ’emptied himself’ for the sake of humanity – coming to earth to be one of us, pouring himself out into us and for us. And in 2 Timothy 4:6 St Paul writes of himself ‘being poured out like a drink offering’ for the sake of God. In fact the image is often associated with sacrifice – because it’s about thinking less of yourself and more of others. It’s about serving God’s agenda rather than yours. It’s about giving yourself up for others. This is New Testament leadership. Modelled perfectly by Christ. And seen by us over these last few days in Gary and Cory.
That’s why I’m praying today for God to help me to pour myself out into others. Will you do the same?