The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything (Hardback)

The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything (Hardback)
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Marshall, Colin; Payne, Tony


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Watch Pastor Mark Dever talk about The Trellis and the Vine:

From the Introduction: The image of the trellis and the vine raises all the fundamental questions of Christian ministry:

  • What is the vine for?
  • How does the vine grow?
  • How does the vine relate to my church?
  • What is vine work and what is trellis work, and how can we tell the difference?
  • What part do different people play in growing the vine?
  • How can we get more people involved in vine work?
  • What is the right relationship between the trellis and the vine?

In the following chapters, we will be suggesting that there is an urgent need to answer these questions afresh. Confusion reigns. Everyone wants their churches to grow, but most are unsure how and where to start. Church growth gurus come and go. Ministry methods fall in and out of favour like women’s fashion. We troop from one new technique to the next, hoping that this one (at last!) may be the secret to success.

Even among those godly, faithful pastors who avoid the trendsetting fads of Christian marketing, there is confusion— most especially between what Christian ministry is in the Bible, and what Christian ministry has become in the particular tradition or denomination of which they are part. We are all captive to our traditions and influenced by them more than we realize. And the effect of tradition and long practice is not always that some terrible error becomes entrenched; more often it is that our focus shifts away from our main task and agenda, which is disciple-making. We become so used to doing things one way (often for good reason at first) that important elements are neglected and forgotten, to our cost. We become imbalanced, and then wonder why we go in circles.

196 Pages
Published 2009

About the Author

Colin Marshall has spent the past 30 years training men and women in the ministry of the gospel, both in university and local church contexts. He is a graduate of Moore Theological College (BTh, MA) and the author of Growth Groups, a graining course for small group leaders, and Passing the Baton, a handbook for ministry apprenticeship. Until 2006 he directed the MInistry Training Strategy, and is now heading up Vine Growers, a new training ministry aiming to help pastors and other ministry leaders implement the principles in this book (see

Tony Payne has spent more than 20 years in Christian writing and editing as the Publishing Director of Matthias Media. He is a graduate of Moore Theological College (BTh Hons), and the author or co-author of many popular books and resources, including Two Ways to Live: The choice we all face, Fatherhood: What it is and what it's for, Guidance and the Voice of God, Prayer and the Voice of God, and Six Steps to Reading Your Bible.

Book Details

196 Pages
Publisher: Matthias Media USA
ISBN 13: 9781921441639

"What Col and Tony have described here is exactly what I've been trying to do in my own life and in our congregation for years. According to this book, Christians are to be disciple-making disciples and pastors are to be trainers. Superb! This book sets out a crucial shift that is needed in the mindset of many pastors. The authors have carefully listened to the Bible. And they've worked on this book. The result is a book that is well-written and well-illustrated, but even more, a book that is full of biblical wisdom and practical advice. This is the best book I've read on the nature of church ministry. "
- Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington DC, USA

"God makes ministers in the midst of his church. It is in the context of the faithful local church that ministers are best taught, shaped and equipped. The Trellis and the Vine is a superb guide to preparing pastors and ministers for Christ's church. It comes from a ministry so deeply committed to the recovery of biblical truth and the cause of the gospel. The wisdom in this little book is invaluable. My advice: Keep a good stack on hand at all times, and put this book to good use. "
- R. Albert Mohler, Jr., President, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

"There is no need greater (in the happy resurgence of robust, gospel- centred churches in the English-speaking world) than for us to think biblically and wisely about how we live and minister together in our congregations. All manner of folk are offering us their opinions as to how we ought to do this in this reforming era (in which some, if not many, rightly see the weaknesses of the ministry and methodology of the last fifty years, but whose prescriptions for remedy fall short of the standards of Scripture and wisdom). Yes, let's rethink what we are to do and be together as the church, but let's do it biblically, and with the wisdom of biblical discernment and pastoral experience. So I announce with joy that I have new conversation partners as I am asking myself, under the authority of God and Scripture, questions about the structure and ministry of my congregation: "Why are we doing what we are doing? Are we focusing on the right things? Is the gospel central? Are we making disciples? Has 'administry' trumped ministry? Is our corporate life and mission biblically shaped?" And more. As I ask these things, I am so deeply helped and heartened and humbled and corrected by the fidelity and wisdom of Colin Marshall and Tony Payne's profound little book that I can't but commend it to you. "
- Ligon Duncan, Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, Mississippi, USA (Past Moderator, General Assembly, Presbyterian Church in America)

"All kinds of voices compete as to how "ministry" (in the local church) should be done, but few voices are worth listening to more than Marshall and Payne. Perhaps every session should be given a copy for the next "officers retreat" and asked to come with responses."
- Derek Thomas

"I am thrilled that this book has been written! What God has done in Sydney over the last few decades is nothing less than supernatural— and we in South Africa have long been the beneficiaries. The model of ministry presented in this book has left an indelible mark on my own ministry and been of inestimable value to the denomination I belong to. The mindsets put forth in this book have not only impacted many of our churches, but have changed our regional thinking, planning and strategy. We are indebted to Col and Tony for putting into words a culture of ministry that is biblically pragmatic, deeply theological and, above all, passionately concerned for the lost. "
- Grant Retief, Rector, Christ Church, Umhlanga, South Africa

"This book empathizes with the confusion that many pastors have when they allow themselves to lose focus on Jesus' goal for ministry, namely, to make disciple-makers. But it doesn't leave the pastor there in the cloud of desperation; it gives him the courage to trust in his Master's strategy again. And take courage: Jesus' strategy was able to reach countries as far as my own. "
- Cristóbal Cerón, General Coordinator, Gimnasio (MTS), Chile

"Gospel ministry is about God's glory and God's people! This excellent book takes us right to the heart of authentic Christian ministry. Any church will benefit hugely from studying and acting on it. "
- William Taylor, Rector, St Helen's Bishopsgate, London, UK

"For over twenty years, I have seen the ideas in this excellent book developed, tested and improved in the active ministry of the gospel. They are the kind of counter-intuitive ideas that, once encountered and embraced, make you wonder why you did not always think this way. "
- Phillip D. Jensen, Dean, St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney, Australia

"If I could put only one new book into the hands of every person preparing for ministry today, The Trellis and the Vine would be it. Marshall and Payne leverage decades of experience in one of the world's great cities with the hope of stimulating gospel growth around the globe. This book will also refresh every pastor who has ever asked, "What in the world am I supposed to be doing?" I came away energized, strengthened in my core calling and better prepared to bear fruit for Christ. In fact, it's so good that I want every leader and pastoral intern in our church to read it! "
- David Helm, Pastor, Holy Trinity Church, Chicago, USA

"It is impossible to read The Trellis and the Vinewithout having your cherished ministry assumptions profoundly challenged. In your hands is a God-glorifying, scripturally-soaked re-evaluation of Christian ministry. It will untangle the anomaly of being a Christian without a radical missionary heart. It will identify the plethora of ministry structures that owe more to cultural pragmatism than the Bible. And above all, it will inspire us to serve the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. "
- Richard Chin, National Director, Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students, Sydney, Australia