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Vision Night shares Vine’s achievements, challenges and expectations


Vine Church Lead Pastor Sándor Paull outlined the church’s accomplishments during 2012 as well as challenges and expectations for 2013 during Vision Night, Feb. 26.

With more than 500 members in attendance, Paull shared highlights of recent months including the network summer conference, the hiring of Mike Luczkiw as a staff pastor and Cody Dicks as a pastoral assistant as well as many instances of spiritual growth.

“Many were saved this year and many were baptized,” he said. “There were healings, displays of God’s power and lots of serving, faithful people. We have a lot to be thankful for.”

Paull added that Vine has continued to make strides toward becoming a more racially diverse church. According to data collected as part of the church’s annual survey last fall, Vine is 10 percent African-American, 8 percent Asian, 3 percent Hispanic and 75 percent Caucasian.“This is the most diverse we’ve ever been,” Paull said. “It is wonderful.”

Perhaps the biggest news of 2012 was the announcement of two church plants for 2013: Rock Hills Church in Bowling Green, Ky. under the direction of Steve Dame and Cedar Heights Church in State College, Penn. with Dan Digman as pastor. Paull said it is an exciting time for Vine.

“I can’t recall anything to cause as much joy and faith in me as the church plants,” he said.

He added that approximately 54 Vine members will be part of the planting teams, including 14 current small group leaders and a large number of people who serve in the youth and children’s programs.

“They understand of what it means to be part of a church plant and the cost, yet they are willing,” he said of those being called to be art of the new churches. “Now the rest of us need to step up. We need to put our hand to the plow and our energies into what He has asked us to do this year.”

Paull said those efforts will include members volunteering for new areas of service and financially supporting the Vine and the new plants during a special offering in May.

“It will take $200,000 to $250,000 for each plant,” Paull said, adding that the life of everyone involved—those going on church plants and those remaining in Carbondale—needs to be a life of discipleship and sacrifice. “We have to be about the work of Christ.”

He added that the church must continue to develop attendees into disciples, while appreciating what God is doing in the church.

“These are the days that history is being made. These are the good ol’ days,” he said. “We will look back and say these times were historic. It is amazing what God  is doing.”

Annual Joining Hands for the Dream event teaches children about racial reconcilliation and harmony


More than 100 children learned about Martin Luther King Jr., his ministry and his dream for interracial harmony during Vine Church’s second annual Joining Hands for the Dream event held on the civil right leader’s observed birthday. The children enjoyed a morning of workshops, lessons and crafts designed to focus attention on God’s equal love for everyone.

“We do this because we really want to teach Biblical racial reconciliation—how God made everyone equal, no matter what color they are or what language they speak,” Sarah Cook, one of the organizers of the event, said. “We feel like the kids need to hear this at a young age so they grow up following what Jesus taught about it.”

During the event, participants were led through several stations, each with a lesson to share including “I am special, God made us all,” “Everyone is special, God made us different,” “Treat others how you want to be treated” and “I will stand up for what’s right.”

“In some, they hear a lesson about what Martin Luther King Jr. did, in some they hear a teaching, in some they do a craft to learn about how we are all unique,” Cook added. “Through all of that we teach them the message is that we are all created equal in God’s eyes.”

For the children, it was a chance to learn about Dr. King and getting along with one another.

“We talked about treating others as you would have them treat you and we talked about Martin Luther King Jr.,” Kaitlyn Meyer, one of the children who attended the event said. “It was fun.”

Church planting is a focus and a privilege for Vine Church


Church planting is fundamental, Biblical and exactly what healthy churches are supposed to do over and over again, Steve Morgan, founding pastor of Vine Church and current senior pastor at Blue Sky Church in Bellevue, Wash. told hundreds of people at a Church Planting Workshop held Jan. 14.

“Church planting is not a separate program that some churches do,” Morgan explained. “It is foundational to Christianity. You cannot separate it from the Great Commission. A church does not exist just for itself. It must give itself away constantly. It is what we are called to do as a church and as a group of churches.”

Morgan was one of six people who started Vine in 1995. In 2004, he and team of 50 planted the Seattle-area church. Blue Sky sent its first church plant last year. Vine has planted a number of churches and will send out two teams—one to Bowling Green, Ky. and one to State College, Penn.—this summer.

“I believe that State College will be the gate to the east coast and Bowling Green will be the gate to planting churches in the South,” he added.

Morgan said that with each new church plant, members of the sending church are required to give up friends and leaders as part of the new congregation.

“There is a sacrifice involved,” he said. “This isn’t some torture; it is an amazing privilege. It is so good and exciting.”

In each case, he said, new church plants will be led by young men who have been on staff at the planting church three to five years. Each new plant will require upwards of $200,000 to be successful, he said.

During the workshop, Morgan, who oversees the network of churches, outlined the practical steps in identifying church planters, the process for planting and his vision for church planting in the coming years. He said that once a church is solidly over 500 members, he believes the church can send out a church plant every two or three years. He added that larger churches in the network may start new congregations annually.

“There are university cities that we will be drawn to by the Holy Spirit,” he said. “There are people there that Jesus has called to salvation.”

Cram Nights help students study and relax


Morgan Welty could have studied for finals almost anywhere—in her own room, at the library or even at a local restaurant or coffee shop. She—and hundreds of other SIU and John A. Logan College students like her—instead chose to study at Vine Church as part of the church’s annual Cram Nights.

Students are invited to prepare for final exams by studying, reading, writing and blowing off steam at the church during the Cram Nights, held during SIU’s finals week each semester. Each night there is plenty of everything students need for studying including, pizza, coffee, Wi-Fi Internet and free printing. There’s even opportunities for study breaks with basketball, “hanging out,” and other activities.

“Studying at the church is so much fun,” Welty, an SIU senior in fashion design from Macomb, says. “You have places where you can go and study with friends and if you want a break, you can get one.”

She says she has found that the availability of fun ways to respite from the books is beneficial.

“When you study, you don’t normally want to just sit for hours and hours; you want to be able to take breaks, you can go play basketball for a little bit and then come right back. You waste a little bit of time, but it’s really a good waste of time,” she says.

Cram Nights are open to all SIU and John A. Logan College students.