News from David

Talks, thoughts and stories from David Flowers
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Pastors praying, saints "Step"-ping, children singing 

Pastors Praying

I’ve just returned from a great lunchtime meeting with the vicars/ministers of several churches from across Leeds. We were talking about what God is calling each church to do over the next few years and you’d have loved: the hope of; expectation of; and commitment to seeing Leeds radically reached for Jesus in the coming times. Leeds in particular and Yorkshire in general has a very low proportion of people who are committed to their local church (which is a way of measuring commitment and faith levels) and so we all agreed that there is much to do and we prayed for each other and our churches.

I shared about how God had revealed the pearl of great price in “Vineyard House” and how we are in the process of “selling all we have” so as to be able to buy it (Matthew 13:45-46). They were very excited about this and what it will mean for Headingley and for Leeds. We have a whole bunch of church leaders rooting for us and praying for us. Isn’t that just great?!

Saints "Step"-ping

We’re nearing the point at which we take stock of what has been pledged and given to Vineyard House and at which we decide how we are going to proceed. Whilst we have a few days left, we don’t yet have the full amount for which we are praying and hoping. If you have not yet sent in your gift or pledge please could I urge you to do it as a matter of urgency so that we can make a really good decision.

We’ve had good conversation with Stewardship who are an amazing lender into projects like ours and we have significant interest from Social Impact investors who would love to see some of our projects come to fruition. However, the foundation for STEPS 2017 is the family of Leeds Vineyard and I would love our giving and our sacrifice to be the core finance for this million-pound miracle!

Here’s the link to find out more – or just go to www.give.net/wharfedalevineyard and click on “STEPS2017”.

Vineyard House Rocks
We’ve recently heard something about the Sunday Rock, the Prayer Rock and the Young Rock. There is also good stuff emerging within the Hungry Rock and the Community Rock – which we’ll share more about when can. In the meantime, the next Rock that is taking shape is the Equipping Rock – so look out for some stories about that on Sunday. Follow the latest news on the website at: Phil's Blog

Children Singing

Something that I can see becoming part of the Community Rock is the Headingley Children’s Choir being started by Zoe Lewis. The first “sing” is this Sunday after church. It’s for school years 4-6, and is for the children of the Vineyard and their friends and our local community. If you have children in the right age group anywhere near you, please sign them up (with their permission!) asap. Parents may need a bit of help: with other children; providing snacks; transport etc. More information from Zoe and Liz (you can contact them through Church Suite ("search for others").

I’d love to see them sing at our Christmas Service on 17 December. Can you imagine a big group of children, some our own, some their friends and some from the homes around the church, singing together in front of a packed church? Wouldn’t that be a treat and a testimony?

Peace

David


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Our Priorities 

There’s so much to share with you after the summer break but I’ll try to keep it short and divide it into three of our priorities: Ministry; Equipping and Fellowship.

Ministry

Whilst the Child Contact Centre continues to do amazing and crucial work (Elaine is looking to recruit a deputy manager) our current focus is on preparing for Vineyard House. We have seven “rocks” and last Sunday we were inspired as we were given a glimpse into what three of them might mean: Prayer Rock, Sunday Rock and Young Rock. We’ll be looking at the other rocks in the coming weeks. You can read and hear more about them or follow Phil's Blog on the STEPS 2017 page of the website.

As we explained on Sunday, we’ve made great progress toward our immediate goal of buying Vineyard House – but we’re not there yet. We’ve got a real test ahead of us, not least raising the rest of the money we need to buy the building. I think we should plan to raise at least another £100,000 (on top of the £280,000 already pledged).

Please play your part, however, small or large that may be. We would be grateful to receive your pledges by the 20 October. We don’t necessarily need the actual gift straightaway – probably nearer the end of the year. It maybe that you would like to make a gift next year or over several months. That too would help us to buy the building.

Most of all we need to pray. I shared one of my favourite scriptures on Sunday: Nehemiah 4:9, when faced with a great challenge their response was,  “We prayed to our God and we posted a guard”. We do what needs to be done, give what needs to be given, but we also pray.

Equipping

One of my deep desires is that Leeds Vineyard does really good theology! I’d love you to learn more about the bible and what we believe. To that end I’ve invited Daniel McGinnis to come and speak next Sunday. I think you’ll very much enjoy hearing him speak on “What Makes Good Theology”. If you’re a preacher or would like to teach or if you are just interested in theology, you’re invited to stay behind after service to chew it over (and some pizza) with Daniel. He will tell us about the Leeds School of Theology (which Daniel leads - their open day is 14 October) which runs January to November on Saturdays. If you would like to sign up for that we will be glad to subsidise some of the fees.

If you prefer to learn on-line I would recommend having a look at Vineyard Institute. This is being updated and improved continually and is great for being able to pick certain modules and study at home in your own time.

We also invest in equipping people in ministry skills, particularly if you would like to explore leadership in the church or in mission. One of our small groups is the Servant Leadership School run by Matt and Anne from September to June. At a national level we commend the Hub (in fact this is a prerequisite for church planting or employment on pastoral staff of a Vineyard church). Our Hub is hosted by Ian and Hannah at their home in Eccleshill, Bradford and the next entry is in January.

In November there will be two opportunities to learn about Coaching. Tom Camacho is the lead trainer for Coaching in Vineyard USA and he will be spending Monday evening 6 November with us (you can book here). He will also be running a full day “Intensive” (part of the Hub programme) in Birmingham on 11 November (you can book here).

Finally, Cause to Live For, a gathering for young adults from around the Vineyard, is on Friday/Saturday 17-18 November in Nottingham (book here).

Fellowship

It’s an unfashionable word, fellowship, but it’s shorthand for placing value on building relaxed, safe, relationships – becoming family as we spend time together and do life together and where Jesus is at the centre. We minister to one another, grow and change together. We know and are known.

Sundays are really important, in fact they are essential in our celebration of faith together, but we get to the heart of the church in the small groups. This is the strength of the church.

Sometimes people who live busy lives say to me that they simply have too much on to commit to a weekly/fortnightly small group. That rings warning bells to me – the busier you are, the harder you work, the more responsibilities you have – the more you need to be in a small group. It’s a bit like saying that you’ve got to drive down to London on the M1 and you haven’t got time to stop to fill the tank. The consequences are obvious! So, join a group (and if you’ve done the Exploring ones, please join a Growth Group (as well as an Activity group!).

The Summer

I hope you have had a good summer and managed to catch some decent weather! Many of us had an outstanding time at Ashburnham and I have heard good things from others of you about holidays and conferences all over the place. It has been great to welcome many new people to the church (if you’re a regular please be on the lookout for people you don’t recognise and say hullo – it’s hard turning up at a new place when you don’t know people).

A couple of weekends ago Alison and I enjoyed praying for El and Ed as they got married in Sheffield (Rosie was one of her bridesmaids) and then we ministered at Sheffield Vineyard on the Sunday. We’re glad to report that it is a proper Vineyard! There was a real buzz there and the Holy Spirit is at work amongst them. We are reminded that we sent out Harrogate and Sheffield just over five years ago – how time flies!

So there’s lots happening. Leeds Vineyard is healthy and we have much to do (ministry & equipping) but it is important to be (fellowship & worship & prayer). Most of all though I would ask you to pray for the church and particularly for Vineyard House as we obey the Lord’s summons to “buy this precious pearl”.

Peace

David
 


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Welcome back 

Well you may or not have gone away but it feels like lots of us are coming back this weekend as a new term and a new year kicks into gear. If you’ve been away then I’m delighted to let you know that the Leeds Vineyard is thriving with God at work in many ways amongst us – whether we have been near or far.

STORIES

Anthony & Jane (Mexico) and the Procter family (Zimbabwe) have been on mission and have stories to tell – just ask them! Closer to home many of you have great testimonies of what the Holy Spirit has been doing in your lives whether at Ashburnham or Soul Survivor or New Wine or at weekly worship on Sundays. Tell us your stories!

WARDIE

Last weekend we were shocked at the events in the Arndale Centre when a 22 year old man stabbed Dean Ward (known as “Deano” or “Wardie”) outside Sainsbury’s in an unprovoked attack during the middle of the night. Many of you will know Wardie – he is recovering in St James’ Hospital – please pray that he may discover the love of the father during this traumatic time. It was great that Liz and Ian were able to visit him in hospital soon after the attack and pray for him. Please pray for Headingley, may His Kingdom come, may it be a place of peace.

COMINGS AND GOINGS

Whilst many new people are joining us (as you meet them please point them towards the Welcome Dinner and Discovering Vineyard) we are also saying a forlorn farewell to others: Andy & Anna have gone to Liverpool, Max & Molly have gone to Minnesota (that’s a place in the USA), Ruth will be returning to South East Asia, Raj & Isha have returned to India, Andrew & Joy are taking a “year out” to travel (and those are just the ones I know about). We wish them all God’s blessing on their moves and travels and pray that He continues to meet them in new ways and through new people wherever they may go.

SMALL GROUPS

The spectacular new Small Group brochure will be available this Sunday. Lots of groups to choose from and ways to get involved in the life of this community.

BAPTISM

We’re excited to have another baptism service next Sunday 10 September when we'll be baptising Mark Wallace – please check the website for more details – we’d love you to join us in Ilkley. 

STEPS//2017

Whilst things have gone quiet during the summer we have had a full survey done on Vineyard House. One is always a little nervous when the surveyors get to work, what will they find that we have missed or glossed over? But I’m glad to be able to say that the report has come back remarkably positively with no major problems (other than what we knew already).

So we keep going! Yes! May I ask you to prayerfully consider whether you are able to make a pledge to STEPS so that we can buy Vineyard House and have funds to do the necessary renovations. If you’ve already pledged, are you able to give more? If you have not yet given, please consider joining in this million-pound-miracle! Your generosity will result in much thanksgiving as we partner with Him in seeing the Kingdom of God come in Headingley.

OPPORTUNITY

Finally, It is a glorious thing to be used in the restoration of families. It is a Godly practice rooted in scripture and it finds expression in our community through the Child Contact Centre. Elaine, the centre manager is looking for a deputy to help her handle the growing demand. If you have a compassionate heart and can give a Saturday morning every fortnight then you too could play a part in “turning the hearts of the fathers to their children and the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6) and repairing relationships between mothers and fathers.

Peace

David


David Flowers, 01/09/2017


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The taking of life 

It was a hard week last week as some of us sat with Rai & Zaneta at the funeral of their son and others went to Hazel’s funeral too. I’ve also been watching the Charlie Gard story unfold and it forced me to do some hard thinking about the “taking of life”. You can read some of my reflections in my blog at www.pastorflowers.me.

One of my conclusions is that the world is a broken place and that God chooses to fix it through us. And that is what fuels the passion of the people of the Vineyard for the STEPS2017 campaign as we seek to buy Vineyard House. Wonderfully, you have pledged £280,000 so far. Wow! Thank you! The team will contact you in due course to advise you about how to make your gift. It won’t be before September. Of course we are still welcoming pledges – don’t miss out on the opportunity to be part of this million pound miracle project. You’re going to be part of God’s plan to bring healing of brokenness in Headingley and beyond! You can keep up with progress on the Vineyard House blog.

This coming Sunday we will be praying into all this – but not at weekly worship. Remember, there is no morning service on Sunday but there is the Engine Room in the evening (7.30pm-9.00pm at Headingley Methodist Church). During the day we will be going to each others’ homes to “bring-and-share” lunch. Send us your photos!

I know that many of you are heading off on holidays over the next 6 weeks. A big group of us will be at Ashburnham, others are going to New Wine, Soul Survivor and off on their own holidays. I pray that you travel safe, keep well and that your hearts and souls are restored through rest and recreation and by experiencing the presence of God in new and vital ways!

Interestingly, if the last few years are any guide, we will see an increase in visitors and guests on Sundays over the summer – just at a time when many are away! So please could I ask those of you who are around (and if you have been three times or more that means you!) to keep your eyes open for any help needed at weekly worship and also make an extra effort to welcome new people. Say hullo, offer to pray for them, even invite them back for lunch.

And then we’ll all gather back together at the beginning of September for an exciting new term. The new small group programme will be released in early September – I’ve seen it, it’s fantastic. We will have a baptism service on 10 September (let us know if you would like to be baptised), we will be commissioning Bradford Vineyard at the end of the year.  I’m delighted that Daniel McGinniss (founding director of the Leeds School of Theology and Vice Principal at St Hild Theological College based in Sheffield) and Krish Kandiah (founding director, Home for Good, and many other things!) will be coming to preach too.

The dormouse has been complaining that it’s nearly Christmas. That’s not true, we’re about as far from Christmas as you can get on the calendar, but you may still like to mark your diary for Sunday December 17 which will be our main Christmas service.

Have a great summer,

Peace

David
P.S. Alison is known as the dormouse on account of her fondness for sleep.


David Flowers, 25/07/2017


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Fully clothed Vineyard life (STEPS #4) 

Alison and I are back from a holiday in Lanzarote. To be honest we didn’t go with any great expectations but in desperate need of a rest. As it happens we were astonished at the austere beauty of the lava fields (it’s a volcano) and the kaleidoscopic colours of the shoreline.

Our time was largely uneventful, which was the point of course, except for the day we decided to go to some remote beaches only to look up from our books to apprehend that we were overdressed and had pitched camp amongst a bunch of nudists. It got me thinking, if it is not OK to lounge about on Briggate with nowt' on, why is it OK next to me on an open beach? We wouldn’t tolerate nudity outside Harvey Nicholls (would we?) so why do we at the seaside? We were very tolerant  … but we didn’t go back there!

Anyway, back to fully clothed Vineyard life. Much has happened in the last few weeks: an inspiring series of talks and testimonies on the experience of knowing Jesus and experiencing what He does in our lives; Father’s Day; communion Sunday; Ben, Kate, Sam and Joseph making the big and final move to Edinburgh. Wow! Sadly, we also learnt of Rai & Zaneta & Nida’s tragic loss last week. Rytis’ funeral is next Wednesday at Cottingley Crematorium at 11:40am. Please pray for them at this time.

And whilst all this has been going on God has been doing a miracle work in the hearts and lives of the people of the Vineyard as we have sought to obey Him and respond to His invitation to “Step” out, take a risk and buy the building that will be known as Vineyard House. Amazingly, wonderfully, through your generosity and sacrifice £270,000 has been pledged to STEPS 2017 already! Isn’t that great and worthy of thankful prayer? I believe that there is more to come but this amount has encouraged us and given us the green light to proceed with confidence.

I think what moved me most was learning how the children in Vineyard Kids had raided their pocket money and given £183.34 to STEPS! It’s not the amount but the cost. And each individual gift, whether pence or pounds, becomes part of our whole offering to Him. So thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. Thankyou for being obedient, for making a sacrifice of your hard-earned money, for generously sowing into the Kingdom, for making it possible to bring this precious pearl, this impressive building, into Kingdom use. We look forward to seeing the Holy Spirit continue to move in hearts and wallets so that even more may be pledged and given!

If you’re heading off on your hols in the coming weeks – we pray for safe travel and good rest. We’ll be seeing many of you at Ashburnham which will be great.

Don’t forget Picnic In The Park this Sunday!

Peace

David


David Flowers, 14/07/2017


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STEPS #3 

So last Sunday we gathered to hear about the daunting but inspiring invitation we have been given. We realised that this is God’s plan for us, not simply our own wishful thinking. We were inspired to be part of the miracle and if you don’t give to Leeds Vineyard, here is your chance to be part of something special - we will be growing from a Sunday church to an every-day church.

We have also launched 40 days of prayer and fasting and you are warmly invited to participate in that too.

The talks, the stories, the vision, the background, everything you could wish for, is available on the website: www.leedsvineyard.org/steps2017. And you can follow the developments with Vineyard House on the “Vineyard House Blog” (just type that into the website).

On this coming Sunday there are two amazing things going on: the world triathlon championships are coming to Leeds again and we are baptising three of our people. Although the information tsunami about road closures could lead you to think access to Headingley was impossible it isn’t that bad at all. A little planning ahead and there should be little difficulty in getting to church and then to the baptism in Ilkley afterwards. Here are some notes to help you. Let’s make the effort and support the guys being baptised.

Finally, we get the chance to participate in a momentous event on Thursday when the country goes to the polls. I urge you to cast your vote if you possibly can. It is important. And then, afterwards, let us honour the result and let us honour one another, however we voted and however everyone else voted.

Alison and I will be taking some holiday from next week so we won’t be around for a little while. However, while we are away we are sorry to be foregoing an absolutely fascinating series of talks at weekly worship – you’ll be meeting some very interesting people talking about their experience of knowing Jesus. Don’t miss it!

Peace,

David
 


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STEPS #2 

At Leeds Vineyard we often talk about the Vineyard Person – about how he/she has two legs, one for compassion & mercy and one for worship & prayer.

So why have we started talking about buildings? Buildings are simply facilities. They provide a practical environment with which to identify the church and from which to do the stuff.

The Big Idea of STEPS2017 is to buy a building so that we will have two, St Michael’s Hall and Headingley Methodist Church, from which to release compassion and worship in Headingley and across Leeds. In one building (Headingley Methodist Church) we will focus on our core priorities of Worship and Bible. In the other (Vineyard House) we will focus on our core priorities of Equipping, Sending, Reach Out (Compassion) and Fellowship. Both will be places of Prayer.

This Sunday will see us launch STEPS2017 and an important day it is too. Not just because we are launching a big Ask and 40 days of prayer and fasting, but because it marks a shift in gear for the church. Three years ago we made the shift from a car-park church to a front-door church. This year we shift from a Sunday church to an every-day church. Don’t get me wrong, I know that we do lots during the week and that we each seek to live out our faith 24-7. What I mean is that our main physical expression and substantial resource is currently only available to us for a few hours on a Sunday.

In the future Leeds Vineyard will be open for business every day of the week!

So please join us on Sunday to hear the story, catch the Vision, to worship and pray and to commit yourself to taking a STEP too.  From Sunday onwards you’ll be able to make your pledges and join in the 40 days of prayer and fasting. We’ll meet in the morning for weekly worship as normal with input from leaders and trustees and then again in the evening for Engine Room with time specifically given over to prayer.

If you would like to read more please go to the website, click on “Join In” and then “STEPS2017”.

You can also read up on how Phil is getting on, on the Vineyard House Blog.

The Sunday after (11 June) promises to be complicated! There is the Triathlon and we are holding a baptism service. As we understand it (as far as the organisers have been able to explain it to us) there should not be too much disruption around HMC so we meet as normal. Please make the effort to come and support and honour the guys who are getting baptised and then, if you can, join us afterwards on the bank of the River Wharfe for the actual baptism!

Next Thursday the country goes to the polls. If you haven’t already voted you may find my sermon from last Sunday helpful to guide you through the experience:

  1. Decide to vote;
  2. Decide how to vote;
  3. Honour the result;
  4. Honour one another
 

Peace

David
 


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STEPS #1 

Over the years the Vineyard in Leeds has walked many steps along a journey following Jesus. But we sense Him calling us on to take further steps, steps of faith into the exciting unknown but into places we would love to go. Our imaginations are fired by projects: from his heart to our hearts; from our hearts to the hearts of those around us.

And when the time comes to make a big financial step of faith we call it STEPS. And we are now looking at a big step forward.

On journeys people and communities reach pivotal points: the 1st day at school; the 1st day driving a car; the day we leave home. People often start out in life by renting a flat and then maybe they buy their first house and as life gets busy and perhaps if they get married and have children they may buy a larger home. In life, once we begin to put down roots and begin to think of a particular area as home we tend to think in terms of investing in our own house. We talk about “stepping onto the property ladder”. We don’t want to pay “dead money” to a landlord; we see the potential for an investment return; we want to knock a place about a bit, redecorate, make it our own. We are saying, “this is my neighbourhood, this is where I live, this is my home now.”

A year ago we reached a pivotal point as the Holy Spirit spoke to us and said, “buy a building”. So our next major step is to obey and invest in a building which will help us establish a Kingdom presence in Headingley (which is we have been called to do). A building for resource, to provide a base from which to build, a transforming presence in the area. I’ll write with more background and more stories later this month. In the meantime we have, as instructed, taken the STEP of setting out to buy a building in Headingley – even if it is well outside our zone of comfort! Look out for the Vineyard House Blog which will be written by Phil and Hannah as things progress. It’s exciting reading!

Please put June 4 in your diaries. We will be launching STEPS formally in the morning at weekly worship and then again, to a lesser degree in the evening as we pray and worship together in the Engine Room. Clear your schedule, book your baby-sitter, do everything you can to join in with everyone as we launch into what is going to be an exhilarating STEP forward for the Leeds Vineyard.

Baptisms on 11 June
A week later we will have another thrilling day as we baptise several of our brothers and sisters. If you would like to be baptised or know someone who would like to be baptised please can you ensure that they speak to Liz Harden before Sunday – if at all possible - as we plan the day.

Sparkly New Webby Things - ChurchApp
As you should know we have added the really helpful ChurchApp to our suite of website functions. We hope that you are getting to grips with it now - you can login to 'mychurchapp' (www.login.churchapp.co.uk) either by using it on a website or by downloading the app itself. This is where you can now find the church address book, the calendar, details about small groups (including more information about who is in the group you've signed up to), rotas for the teams which you are on and see and update the information we hold about you and your children. When we have events which you need to sign up for (like small groups, training events, or shared lunches) this is where you'll be able to do this in the future. You will still be able to ring or email the office of course but we are trying to enable you to do this directly where possible.

Exciting times

Peace

David
 


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