Should you become a "member" of the Vine?


Posted by The Vine Church Blog on

Next month, the pastors of the Vine will be hosting a series of three membership classes where you can learn what we believe as a church and consider whether you want to join as an official member.

If you are wondering what church membership is and whether it is important for you to join a church in membership, John Piper, pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, has a brief video answering those types of questions:

The three classes are:

After completing the membership classes, you will have the opportunity to meet with a pastor for a membership interview to finalize the process.  

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A Weekend with Dr. Zack Eswine


Posted by Scott Sterner on

Dr. EswineOn April 21 and 22 The Vine Church will be welcoming guest speaker Dr. Zack Eswine for a weekend of teaching and encouragement. 

Zack Eswine is Senior Pastor of Riverside Church in Saint Louis, Missouri. Dr. Eswine has served in pastoral roles for eighteen years and spent six years as Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Director for Ministry at Covenant Theological Seminary. Dr. Eswine’s most recent book, Preaching to a Post-Everything World: Crafting Biblical Sermons that Connect with our Culture, won Preaching Today’s Book of the Year Award in 2009. He is also the author of the book, Kindled Fire: How the Methods of C.H. Spurgeon Can Help Your Preaching. His forthcoming books are, Preaching Barefoot: Life and Ministry as a Human Being and Spurgeon’s Sorrows: Handling the Darker Sides of the Life and Ministry

On Saturday there will be a leadership workshop for church pastors and leaders and Saturday evening, a potluck for attenders and friends of The Vine Church. Dr. Eswine will then wrap up the weekend joining us as preacher for the Vine's Sunday morning service. Read below for more detailed information. 


  • Preaching for Application to a Post-Everything World
  • Saturday, April 21 from 11:00 am-2:00 pm
  • Damascus Road Church 4642 Cottage Grove Road, Madison, Wisconsin
  • $6 per person to cover lunch expense


  • Suffering in the Christian Life
  • Saturday, April 21 from 5:00-7:30 pm 
  • Lake Waubesa Bible Camp 
  • 2851 Crescent Drive, McFarland, Wisconsin


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How to listen to a sermon


Posted by The Vine Church Blog on

Phil Ryken, president of Wheaton College in Illinois:

Shortly before college I read Mortimer Adler's little classic How to Read a Book.  That may sound like an odd title.  After all, how could somebody read the book unless they already knew how to read?  And if they did know how to read, then why would they need to read it at all?

How to Read a Book turned out to be one of the most important books I have ever read.  Adler quickly convinced me that I didn't know how to read a book after all—not really.  I didn't know how to ask the right questions while I was reading, how to analyze the book's major arguments, or how to mark up my copy for later use.  

I suspect that most people don't how to listen to a sermon, either.

He makes some great points about how to actively hear God's word in the Sunday sermon:

  • Prepare ahead of time (pray, rest, read the passage)
  • Keep a writing utensil in hand, even if you don't use it all the time
  • Open your Bible and compare what your pastor is saying with what the passage says
  • Develop an "itch" to do what the passage tells you to do

Read more

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Tags: sermon, phil ryken

City groups and fruitful multiplication


Posted by The Vine Church Blog on

At the Vine, we are constantly reminded that the city groups are the heart of the church.  City groups are where community primarily happens—we live life together, rejoicing in the good and encouraging one another through our struggles.  

Community is important because it is a primary attribute of God who is perfect community in the Father, Son, and Spirit who seeks to commune with his creation despite our rejection of him through sin.

Often we see faithful pursuit of community at odds with faithful pursuit of mission, spreading the gospel to unreached co-workers, neighbors and friends.  Lean too heavily on one calling and the other suffers.

Seth McBee, a pastor at Soma Community in Renton, Washington, shares why community and mission are intertwined and that real community thrives with multiplication of disciples and vice versa:

Most small groups in churches believe their goal is to get to know each other or form a close bond. If this is the goal, multiplication will never be desired. Drawing close to one another is not the goal of missional community, but making disciples who make disciples is (being fruitful and multiplying images of Jesus). Drawing close to one another happens because Jesus has given us the same Father, and we are a part of the same family. So, forming a close bond is a bi-product rather than the goal of living together on mission as family.

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Success and Jesus


Posted by The Vine Church Blog on

Success is an powerfully attractive siren call in our lives—if only we could get a little further ahead in our careers or studies, our lives would be much better, or so we tell ourselves.  But at what cost?

Ray Ortlund, pastor at Immanuel Church in Nashville, has some great words on the allure of sucess and how it gets in the way of our more fulfilling pursuit of Jesus:

In a world of secrets, outward success is everyone’s goal.  If we can just succeed, we won’t have to face ourselves.  No wonder that doesn’t work.  It can’t work.  The reality of what we are will always topple this house-of-cards persona we so earnestly wish were true.

The gospel is not God’s way of giving us an even better self-improvement goal.  The gospel is God’s judgment on our better selves and his replacement of it all with Jesus.
Every one of us thinks, “If only I could do __________ or be __________, then I would arrive.”  So, what does “arrival” look like to you?  If it isn’t Jesus, the risen Lord himself, every arrival you achieve is only another set-back.

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