I have known Rich Nathan, the Senior Pastor of Vineyard Columbus, for almost 20 years and have tracked their ministry as one of our clients.
Rich has one of the more unique stories as he moved from law school teacher to pastor. Some of that story of his personal journey and his church’s journey is found in this new book, Both/And, just out from IVP press.
In it he describes the tension that many of our client churches feel with the current state of the evangelical world. Almost all the pastors we serve aren’t interested in the culture war languages and squabbles but are keenly interested in advancing God’s kingdom purposes.
I will cite one brief section here which describes not only Vineyard Columbus but many of the churches we serve:
“Both-And is what makes a church great. Both-And is what makes a church alive, healthy and vibrant. At Vineyard Columbus, we want to do and believe everything the Bible tells the church to do and believe….We want to grow the biggest church possible in our city and reach tens of thousands of people who within driving distance with the gospel. And we want to plant hundreds of churches and send out dozens of missionaries all over the world. We want to be a church that is also involved in the great justice issues of our city. We want to be a church that is racially diverse and be involved in racial reconciliation..We want to embrace the message of the kingdom of God and see people experience salvation both in their spiritual and material lives….”
He goes on to describe both a clear vision they desire to be and describe the tensions that entails.
As one example:
“We have a community center that offers free medical and dental care and also offer healing prayer because we are a Both-And church.”
As you read the book you will get a clearer picture of what he is communicating as he describes their identity as Evangelical AND Charismatic. Their community as Unity AND Diversity. The concern as Mercy AND Justic, their method as Proclamation AND Demonstration…and more.
It’s one of the best books that helps an outsider both understand the Columbus Vineyard AND the current types of churches we seek to serve at Leadership Network. Not all of our clients would share some of Rich’s theological points of view, but at the practical level they will find many strong ideas on how this church has turned their beliefs into tangible action steps.
I note also with pleasure that the coauthor is Insoo Kim, who directs the ministry strategies for the church as well as the Church Planter Residency Program. I have not met Insoo but I know that the role he holds is growing among other churches as well.