In June of 2007, a group of us were called by Holy Spirit to enter into an Abrahamic covenant with God and each other. Like Abraham, we knew we were to leave behind all that we knew: for us it was church life. We called ourselves “The Renegade Party” because we were being called to leave the status quo in search of a new land God had for us. We began to meet together on Sunday mornings to pursue God in a new way. We did not leave behind the Biblical truths of Christianity, only the methodologies of church life.
At that time, Holy Spirit gave us 2 Kings 19:29:
“This will be the sign for you, “This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.”
We knew this scripture represented three seasons of development for us. The first season lasted two years and during that time we focused on our own personal lives and callings. We were to remain hidden. God did not allow us to invite others. He wanted us to seek His face in prayer, fasting and the renewing of our minds. This season was the time to eat what was growing on its own. In the second season, which lasted another two years, new ideas about church life and ministries began to spring up, as in the second year of 2 Kings 19:29. Still we were not intentional about developing a larger group. However, Holy Spirit began to add to our numbers, sending us people who were called to serve rather than be served.
During this time, our Life Coaching Center began as well as our outreach ministries at the YMCA. In this season Holy Spirit gave us our identity as REAL Living Ministries with the calling to equip the saints to Respond Entirely to the Affections of the Lord by getting Real with God, ourselves and others.
We have now entered our third season. We are planting vineyards, which, we have learned since our start, takes 7-10 years to produce fruit. Once it starts growing however, the vines keep growing with little effort. This is very different from a garden, which grows much faster but needs constant care and has yearly turn over.
We are thankful to be growing a vineyard rather than a garden! We know who we are and what God has called us to do. We are intentional about influencing our community and the world as Holy Spirit leads.