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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - must read for anyone in church leadership
I found this book immensely helpful. It is full of good, simple, practical advice. It's an excellent reminder that ministry is about helping individuals to grow in Christ and in turn disciple others and that the church should be supporting that and also setting the tone and framework through the preaching.
Published on 25 Sep 2010 by Stephen Evans

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings
I received a free copy of this book from Matthias Media in return for an unbiased review.

I had long wanted to read this book. With a title like that, and a clear remit relating to ministry, the church and disciple-making, how could I not? These are the topics which excite me hugely. And the idea of the vine as being something other than the trellis - the...
Published on 17 Mar 2012 by The Art of Steering


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - must read for anyone in church leadership, 25 Sep 2010
By 
Stephen Evans (Liverpool, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything (Paperback)
I found this book immensely helpful. It is full of good, simple, practical advice. It's an excellent reminder that ministry is about helping individuals to grow in Christ and in turn disciple others and that the church should be supporting that and also setting the tone and framework through the preaching.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Trellis and The Vine, 3 Sep 2011
By 
John Brand - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything (Paperback)
The Trellis and The Vine

I have to confess that I became increasingly frustrated as I read this book. Frustrated because I wished I had read it when I was starting out in pastoral ministry 30 years ago and also because what is advocated here is so glaringly obvious and biblical that I wondered why I hadn't seen it more clearly myself.

The basic premise of the book is that "our goal is not to grow churches but to make disciples". However, such is the traditional model of church and pastoral ministry that we have become accustomed to, that nothing less than a complete "ministry mind-shift" will be required to get us back on course.

Marshall and Payne use the simple but powerful analogy of the relationship between the trellis - which is the framework and support - and the vine - which is the living organism which grows on it. The problem is that most of our energies and agendas as local churches are targetted at the framework (church) rather than the organism (people/disciples) and, say the writers, we need to shift "away from erecting and maintaining structures, and towards growing people who are disciple-making disciples of Christ."

This will involve shifting

from running programmes to building people
from running events to training people
from using people to growing people
from filling gaps to training new people
from solving problems to helping people make progress
from clinging to ordained ministry to developing team leadership
from focussing on church polity to forging ministry partnerships
from relying on training institutions to establishing local training
from focussing on immediate pressures to aiming for long-term expansion
from engaging in management to engaging in ministry
from seeking church growth to desiring gospel growth

Underneath of all of this is a very welcome high view of the church as the people of God and the Scriptures as the Word of God. It is an intensely practical book with lots of suggestions about getting started in making this mind-shift and training apprentices. The authors acknoowledge that is won't be easy or pain-free but it will get us back on a biblical track.

I recognised almost every one of the frustrations and problems they identified from my years in pastoral ministry. We used to run ourselves ragged with busyness just to 'keep the show on the road'. I used to use the analogy of a football team who spent their whole time just kicking the ball around the park, passing it from one to another, and forgetting that the object of the exercise was to get the ball in the back of the net!

This book ought to be required reading and a standard text book in all church leadership training institutions and read, studied and discussed by all pastors and church leaders.

For the purpose of review, I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. I was under no obligation to write a positive review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ministry mind-shift that changes everything?, 27 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything (Paperback)
The ministry mind-shift that changes everything is the audacious subtitle which Col Marshall and Tony Payne chose for their 2009 book The Trellis and The Vine. I don't know how other readers reacted to it, but it made me sit up and take notice. It also led me to wonder if they would be able to substantiate their promise.

The story begins with Col telling us about his beautiful, carefully preserved trellis with no vine, and his luxuriant jasmine vine, covering a rather ramshackle, disappearing structure that may once have looked like a trellis.
Throughout the book, the authors develop their theme that churches can be like the two trellises in his garden. Some of them are quite beautiful trellises, but there is no vine to be seen. Others have growth, without any structure, which is still necessary if the vine is to stay alive and grow.

As expected, it wasn't hard to describe the problems that many churches face. All too often we are busy with structures, but we aren't growing Christ's church: just running meetings, keeping the building in good order, collecting and distributing money and doing the many things that are thought to be essential parts of running a church in the twenty first century.
We may also be looking after people by visiting those who are sick or suffering, conducting weddings and funerals and getting the congregation involved in church meetings and small group, but Marshall and Payne point out that this is not our main function, which they say should be making genuine disciple-making disciples of Jesus.

In their view, training people to train others is growing the vine; everything else is trellis-work. Getting people to attend meetings and to be involved in small groups may be creating a useful structure on which the vine will grow, or it may be something which takes over and actually prevents us from growing the vine. We can be so busy doing good things, such as helping in crises, that we are crowded out from doing the essential thing, which is making disciple-makers.

Having described the problems with telling accuracy, they spend the rest of the book outlining their model which they have developed for identifying, recruiting and training co-workers. This has been a key part of their Ministry Training Strategy, in which new Christian workers are apprenticed for two years, before progressing to theological college for formal, academic training.

The case for training people to be disciple-makers is argued persuasively and many valuable suggestions are made for how churches can change from being (in Peter Bolt's words) in maintenance mode to being mission-minded. Marshall and Payne challenge us that if we are serious about building Christ's kingdom, we must be willing to change and even dismantle structures so that we can do the most important thing of all, which is making disciple-makers.

Have they lived up to their cheeky promise, or is this just another book that is being foisted on us, as the way to do Christian ministry? Is it going to turn out to be yet another short-lived fad?

Christian leaders from Chile, South Africa, England, the United States and Australia have written glowing endorsements of the book, which is the distillation of a view of Christian ministry which has been used by Phillip Jensen, dean of St Andrews' Anglican Cathedral, Sydney and Colin Marshall over the past 25 years.

The Ministry Training Strategy has been tested and incorporated into churches in Australia, Canada, Britain, France, the Republic of Ireland, Singapore, New Zealand, Taiwan, Chile and South Africa. (See page 143

Reading this book is confronting, but necessary. It is a superb book for everyone interested in serving Christ whole-heartedly. There would be few Christians and who would not benefit from reading it and changing practices so that their focus shifts to building Christ's kingdom through making disciple-makers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Original, 30 April 2013
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This review is from: The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything (Paperback)
A stimulating booK with depth of theme, original and educational. Inspiring concept and a good read which was clearly instructive.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings, 17 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift That Changes Everything (Paperback)
I received a free copy of this book from Matthias Media in return for an unbiased review.

I had long wanted to read this book. With a title like that, and a clear remit relating to ministry, the church and disciple-making, how could I not? These are the topics which excite me hugely. And the idea of the vine as being something other than the trellis - the people work being other than the organisational infrastructure - that too stirs my heart.

So it was with great disappointment that I eventually finished this book. It wasn't revolutionary for me at all and, written in 2009, feels like it was written at least ten years too late. It read, in essence, as a defence of the MTS (Ministry Training Strategy) approach to disciple-making, one which I have been familiar with over the last twelve or thirteen years through the UK-based 9:38 conferences.

That said, I do think it could be important reading for those who are not yet familiar with its concepts. The core message is that we need to shift 'away from erecting and maintaining structures, and towards growing people who are disciple-making disciples of Christ'. Such a change includes a movement from:

running programmes to building people;
running events to training people;
using people to growing people;
filling gaps to training new workers;
solving problems to helping people make progress;
clinging to ordained ministry to developing team leadership;
focusing on church polity to forging ministry partnerships;
relying on training institutions to establishing local training;
focussing on immediate pressures to aiming for long-term expansion;
engaging in management to engaging in ministry; and
seeking church growth to desiring gospel growth.

The message of this book is an important one for those who are still unaware of it; furthermore, I do have in mind to give the book to someone in my church who has leadership potential and who might benefit from exploring for themselves the idea that, in making disciples, one to one training work is a significant method for raising up more disciples and ultimately, in the language of Marshall and Payne, gospel workers.

I did like the emphasis on team ministry, as well as the challenge to ministers to pour more of their energies into raising up co-workers instead of trying to do everything else that maintenance of a church seems to require. But I'm not sure that the chapters describing what training looks like were detailed enough, nor is there enough of a recognition that true disciple-making can take years of sustained effort by, and demand a high personal cost of, the one doing the training, sometimes without apparent fruit.

So, as you can see, this book - which is so much a product of its authors' very specific Australian evangelical context - is, in no way, all bad. However, and at risk perhaps of being too blunt, I would note that the subtitle of this book makes such a bold claim that I feel it deserves a direct and honest response from this practitioner of church amongst an ethnically-diverse evangelical congregation predominantly in their twenties and thirties in London.

In reading this book, I didn't experience a ministry mind-shift and it didn't change everything. Sadly.
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