For the sake of those who may have missed the announcement last Sunday, here is some important news concerning the future of the Kingdom Vineyard.
Eagle-eyed observers of KV life will have noticed that Carol has retired already, and I’m not getting any younger. So inevitably, our thoughts have from time to time turned towards plans for succession when I join her in retirement. The good news is that the Trustees have found highly qualified and suitable successors in Jim and Rachel Cronin, whom some of you will remember as student members and frequent visitors over the years. Here are some salient points which have led first myself and Carol, then Jesse and finally the Trustees to the conclusion that they are excellent candidates for the role.
- They are “Home-Grown” leaders having “grown up” in KV: Jim as a successful HG leader and member of the preaching team, as well as a leading light in the CU, and a Divinity graduate; Rachel in her own inimitable, but perhaps lower-profile way. KV is an extremely unusual church, if not unique, and Jim and Rachel know it inside-out, through personal experience, and by keeping in regular contact with Carol and myself over the last several years.
- They have been away and gained life-experience: Rachel in administration and now as a highly qualified Translator, and Jim, after a year’s internship within the CofS, working first for UCB and currently as Assistant Pastor in a large evangelical church in Stoke.
- They “want to come back”. Over the years since graduating they have looked to their time at KV as the way they want to do church, and Jim has drawn heavily on experience gained here, and Vineyard Vision, Values and Practice, in his current role. Put simply, they have realised through both being here and being in another setting that they “ARE Vineyard”, through and through, and that KV is their home.
- With some humility, they do feel called to the role, and this has been confirmed by several prophetic statements from people who had no idea of what was going on in their lives.
- The Trustees have interviewed them at some length, and agree they are the right people. They have already met the other Scottish Pastors, and the way they got on is surely a very encouraging sign for the future.
They are already able and experienced, but they will be given time working on staff here to develop further. IRTDMNR! The plan is for them to join the staff (Jim will be paid part time as Associate Pastor, though they join us Vineyard-style, very much as a couple) in July. They will work alongside myself and Jesse, and when the time is right I shall retire and leave them to it. However we won’t be leaving them alone. We have no intention of going anywhere in the foreseeable future, and will be on hand to help out and to advise if needed. We don’t want to get in the way, but we’ll be around to help if required.
Succession planning is always hard, but I genuinely think this is the best of plans, and that it gives the church ample time to adjust to Jim and Rachel, and them to the role, before they take over my role. It is my hope and belief that those of you who are here to see it happen will be a great help in the transition process, and in the meantime will bring your prayers and financial support strongly behind the plan. When Carol and I came here 12 years ago to plant this church, we did so in obedience to God’s clear call to “Plant a Vineyard church in St Andrews in 2004”. Now, thanks to the efforts of you all, and many who have gone before, we can say we’ve done that, and await new orders. So it’s time, or nearly time, for someone else to take over. I think we’ve found the right people, and I warmly commend them to you.
I was much moved, many years ago , on a visit to Winston Churchill’s house, Chartwell, to read a wartime exchange of telegrams between the great man and Field Marshall Montgomery in North Africa:
(Before El Alamein)
First and only priority destroy Rommel.
(After El Alamein)
Rommel destroyed. Await orders.
At NLC this year I was telling that story to an old friend from years back whom I’ll simply call Prophetic Eddie. He said: “Funny you should say that. We went to Chartwell a couple of years ago and looking at the same telegrams, I had precisely the same reaction.” I feel that Carol and I are at that sort of stage in relation to our “first and only priority” when we arrived back in Scotland to plant KV. We have now done what God called us here to do; and await orders. We are excited about the future, both for ourselves and for KV, and look forward to a tapered handover of responsibilities, starting in July. We are of course also very grateful for the unstinting love and service of so many which has made it possible to fulfil this calling, some of you over many, many years.