I first read the Trellis and the Vine back in 2011. It was so helpful I have continued to reread it over the years. Here were my initial thoughts of the book, and a new application for myself this last time.
The Trellis And The Vine: the Ministry mind-shift that Changes Everything
by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne
Point: No easy fix, silver bullet, or new program will fix a ministry. Ministry is accomplished and built not on programs but through people. Every believer is to be part of this spreading of the Gospel through disciple making.
Path: The authors explain their ministry mindset through 12 convicting chapters highlighting current ministry models, the necessity of all believers to be disciple makers, and the meaning and means of training.
Sources: The Trellis and the Vine combines Biblical principles with personal experience and practical insight in order to present a biblical view of ministry.
Agreement: This book is biblically based, helpfully arranged, and easy to read. This is not meant to be a treatise on ministry in the local church, but a helpful guide to biblically evaluating and enhancing one’s ministry. The Scriptures are the foundation, the Gospel is the reason, the Spirit is the means, and prayerful dependence is expected.
There are several helpful charts found on pages 56, 85, 87, 101, 117-18, 121.
Disagreement: (not really) Marshall and Payne deliberately make this book accessible to all denominations, sidestepping polity and church distinctions. They openly admit this. This can be understood because if one is faithful to the Scriptures, this is the ministry model with which every believer must be in agreement.
A second question would be whether their formula for discipleship becomes another program. But again, anything can become just a program.
Personal App: Training individuals is not easy nor quick, but essential. Is my ministry based on programs (trellis) or on disciple making (vine)? Am I seeking to grow the trellis or the vine? Am I excited or discouraged to see disciples move on to faithfully minister in new areas?
Favorite Quote: “…wish them the best of British luck” (196). Couldn’t help but laugh after some of their Australian vocabulary repeated surfaced.
Stars: 5 out of 5
Buy 3 copies of the book along with “One to One Bible Reading”. Read them. Giving them out. Read them with others. Repeat as necessary.
After my most recent reading (2020):
Intentionally calling out disciples
Jesus could see something in his chosen disciples that they could not see themselves. He knew the next step each of them needed to take, and he called them to it. If he wouldn’t have called him, they would not have followed him as they did.
In this re-reading of the Trellis and the Vine I was struck more by that idea. I need to be intentionally looking for the next steps of discipleship of those around me, and listening to the next steps for my life that others see. That is a great responsibility, but also a privilege as follow the Spirit’s leading.