Funeral for a Church – an order of worship

Well, today is the day we closed the Vineyard Church of Waterville. (Earlier posts in this process are: Going out with a bang and Free Gas on Channel 6.)

I’ve never had a funeral for a church before, but I think we did an exceptional job today. Here was our order of worship:

  • Opening song: “More than Ever” from the Dwell DVD
  • Offering
  • Purging of the church

    We spent about 30 minutes tossing things into the dumpster. Everyone got to play. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We filled it high. Then we took a sawz-all to the the old church sign and “buried” it in the dumpster. It was quite cathartic for all of us.

  • Horizons DVD

    I am immensely proud of being part of the Vineyard movement. This video shows where we come from, what we stand for, and where we’re going. You can see this wonderful 18 minute video at

  • Communion with the worship song “Dwell”
  • Prayer

    We pushed the chairs back and held hands to pray. We thanked God for this portion of the journey. We prayed for our time of rest. And we gave thanks for the people that have been part of the journey that weren’t there by offering up their names.

  • Stacking of the chairs

Then we all came over to our house for a cookout.

Now, the floor is bare, the fridge is empty, and the signs are down.

Please pray for us as we rest, both that we will grow closer to Jesus and that we will rest. (Already I’ve had numerous opportunities to get really busy with pastor-type stuff this summer. So far, I’ve been able to respectfully say “no”!)

Remember, if you want to be notified of our new church plant, there’s a email sign up list at

It’s funny, I’ve always said that VCW had to plant a new church in our first five years. I just didn’t realize the next church plant would be another Vineyard in Waterville!

Free gas!

It’s happening!

WCSH News was on hand to find out why we were giving away free gas and to hear about our plans for VCW 2.0. They even interviewed people at the pump!

There’s still some gas available, so if you’re in the Waterville area head over to Lucien’s Mobil (right off I-95 exit 127.) Regular gas is $3.73 but because the Vineyard is paying the first 25 cents on each gallon, the regular is $3.48!

It’s another fun way to help out our community.

[If you get Channel 6, would you tape tonight’s newscast? Our TV doesn’t necessarily get NBC but I’d love to have a copy.]

Imax not iPod

I’m currently reading The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living with a Grande Passion by Leonard Sweet.

Sweet has a way of taking an analogy and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g it a bit thinner than I think it should go. But I do the same thing so maybe that’s why I like reading his stuff.

The center of his book on what the church can be is built around the acronym EPIC:

  • Experiential
  • Participatory
  • Image-rich
  • Connections

In the section on being image-rich, he talks about the need for church cultures to be Imax, not iPod and comments on how Starbucks minimizes words and maximizes images.

As I read that, it hit me, VCW 1.0 has been text heavy. Despite our desire and vision of being a place for artists, having murals or art on the walls, and using all our senses in our worship service, we’ve been basically preaching and singing. We even podcast the sermon.

The walls are still bare. The building’s exterior, embarrassing. Word heavy, image lite.

But I want to be part of a church that attracts people skilled in painting and sculpture as well as word and song. I have no desire to lighten up on the teaching and worship singing. But in VCW 2.0, I certainly want to expand our understanding of worship. I want the giftings of Bezalel and Oholiab to be a reality in our midst.

If you’re of the praying variety, please pray that I’ll be the kind of leader that can release these God-given gifts in our midst. And that I’ll also be able to identify the giftings and release them in people.

The Protestant Church prides itself on being a talking-head-church. But Jesus didn’t seem to hung up on preaching only. He engaged entire human beings, not just their brains.

That’s the kind of people I want VCW 2.0 to be.