Learn from your peers….listen to what they are finding really works in their local campuses. These are a collection of recommendations from other Vineyard pastors around the country. Hope you find them helpful!

  • Hosting Courses at the Church Provides Real Community for Students

    Hosting courses at Vineyard Columbus provides students an opportunity to gain knowledge in a blended learning environment. Blended learning has resulted in students feeling a greater connection to VC, increased enrollment in hosted courses, and a sense of community among the VI students. Two courses are selected each quarter: one of the three core courses, and a ministry course or Hermeneutics within a two-year cycle.

    The hosted courses meet biweekly on Saturdays during the quarter. The courses are led by the VI site pastor, but occasionally can be led by VI students. The course is scheduled for a three-hour meeting. During the meeting the students have the opportunity to spiritually check in, watch at least one video, engage in hub activities, and or discuss and reflect on the study guide questions. The VI students are responsible for covering all course materials and completing all course assignments.

    Andy Saperstein
    OH, Vineyard Columbus

  • Have a Plan for the Right Resources for Your Local Campus

    We finally appointed a VI administrator. This is so helpful for the day-to-day maintenance of assignments and student relationships. This person will serve on the main liaison between VI in Columbus and here.

    Paul Baldwin
    FL, Miami Vineyard Community Church

  • Make It Real In Your Church

    We set up weekly meetings where our students went through one shared class. The students have the option of taking other classes (and they do) but we always walk through one class together as our common denominator for synergy and leadership development. We love this because it allows us to go through the video, review readings and then pause for leadership moments that are specific to our context making it real for what we do around here.

    Paul Baldwin
    FL, Miami Vineyard Community Church

  • Learning in Community Works Best!

    The thing that we find works best for our VI site is when we have students learning in community. We gather together for two classes on Tuesday evenings to watch our lectures and then have discussion. By wrestling through course material together, students raise questions that perhaps would not have been addressed and fellow learners have the opportunity to offer answers. Classmates end up challenging one another and pushing toward new revelation.

    This learning environment ends up being an intentional community and there are times when students even get to pray with one another about life circumstances and what God is revealing to them through seasons of growth through studying the Word.

    As a site coordinator, I generally choose what classes we will be offering and tell students what to take. That way, we have more students gathered together for core classes.

    Are there any specific questions you have about launching your VI site? I’d be happy to offer input about them.

    Jessica Tholl
    MO, Vineyard Church of Kansas City North

  • Practical Steps to Make Your Cohorts a Success for Your Students

    A few things that have worked best for our cohorts at the church campus are as follows:

    1. Having one person in charge of emails, coordinating meetings, answering questions etc. I look at the coordinator's role as the academic advisor of the site. This person is a liaison between VI and the student at times. I personally send a weekly email to the cohorts following up after Quinton's email. Just a hello, how's it going, need anything type of email?
    2. Biweekly meetings that include discussion about lectures/readings/assignments, time for prayer and time for sharing what's going well as leaders and what isn't working.
    3. For each meeting, have a different student lead the discussion/prayer. This allows the students to test out their leadership abilities and become more confident leaders. I also have found it does wonders for getting the students up to speed if they were behind on lectures/readings. **important to note always have a leader available at the meeting to observe the new leader and provide feedback later about it
    4. Lastly, I would say it's important to have someone (can be coordinator, but for sure a leader of the church) in charge of praxis hours/service options. Service learning is such an important part of VI and if there is not anyone following up with the students, they are not getting the best they can from the praxis hours. I recommend a quarterly meeting with each student asking questions like; “how was the service this semester?” “Did you feel called to any particular outreach?” “Did you see strengths you didn't know you had?” “Weaknesses?” Then direct them accordingly to the ministry and leader of that ministry they feel called to.

    Kimberly Carlin
    PA, Blue Route Vineyard

  • No Size Group is Too Small

    We have a very small committed group of students in our small Vineyard Church (approx. 100 members). We started with five students in Vineyard Institute two years ago. We have had several drop out as well as we started a second group that has worked through the core courses. Two of our students have stayed with the program and have taken at least one course each quarter and will eventually complete the Biblical Studies Certificate. They are both very motivated and very busy people but highly value the course work.

    We meet once a week for one hour on Google Hangout and discuss the lecture for that week. This quarter we are working through the Church History 1 Course with Bill Jackson. I take part in the discussion even though I am the site coordinator-hub mentor. They appreciate having my input (If we had more students in the group then I would be less involved). We hope to enroll new students in the Fall Quarter with the core course on Spiritual Formation or Biblical Metanarrative. One recommendation that I would make is to keep meeting every quarter, at least once a week, for your Google Hangout discussion (include time for the students to pray for one another). Whether the course requires group discussions or not this has kept our students connected. And it has been a valuable support for them in completing the coursework and taking tests. I highly value what the Vineyard Institute provides and have encouraged other area Vineyard pastors to start the program in their churches (San Luis Obispo-Montainbrook, Morro Bay, Five Cities (where a small group did start), and Cambria Vineyard).

    Bruce Christenson
    CA, VCF Santa Maria Valley

  • Word of Mouth

    Your current students are your best personal recruiters for getting the message of VI out to other leaders in their respective circles of influence.

    Harry Fritzenschaft
    TX, The Vineyard Church of Houston

  • The Tools to Raising up Leaders

    At the Billings Vineyard, Vineyard Institute has become a useful tool in developing ministry leaders in our congregation. We use a cohort model for the first three courses; each cohort takes Biblical Metanarrative, Theology of the Kingdom and Spiritual Formation as a group. These three courses provide a foundation in Scripture, Vineyard Theology and an introduction to the development a leader will transit. The cohort consists of 5-9 individuals that either feel a calling towards ministry leadership or desire a structured approach to development. The cohorts will meet together for discussion and peer review of the course work while offering support and prayer to one another. This has developed a community that holds each other accountable and provides mutual support while exploring what makes the Vineyard movement so unique. This relational approach highlights the strength of our relational movement.

    After these three core courses are complete, our students beginning exploring the course work they feel is applicable to their passion and calling. This also provides our pastoral staff an opportunity to speak direction, vision and guidance as our leaders and future leaders build upon the foundation of knowledge. This leads to more focused assignments and partnership as the leaders develop as well as the knowledge that these leaders will be well read into the confluence of Scripture and Vineyard Theology. Rather than creating a unique set of courses and re-inventing the wheel, Vineyard Institute has become an accessible tool in our discipleship efforts.

    Adam Greenwell
    MT, The Billings Vineyard

  • 12 for 12 Spiritual Formation

    Vineyard Institute Vineyard Columbus (VIVC) 12-for-12 is a unique Spiritual Formation opportunity offered to VI students. VIVC 12-for-12 Groups exist to build intentional spiritual community into the VIVC program, so that students more fully grow in all the ways God intends while enrolled in VI. Intentional spiritual friendship matters, and for VIVC to serve God’s purposes in forming and developing disciples and leaders that God intends, we will do well to support each other in that process by building a strong spiritual community within VI.

    VIVC 12- for-12 students meet together once a month for twelve months of intentional discipleship and spiritual formation.

    Andy Saperstein
    OH, Vineyard Columbus

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