By Jennifer Johnson
Jeff Vines, lead pastor at Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) in San Dimas, California, was a missionary in New Zealand for 10 years. In the first four years of his ministry at Shore Community Christian Church in Auckland, he grew the congregation from 350 people to more than 1,000 by challenging people to connect with “one life.” Today the same strategies are bringing growth to CCV as a whole and to many of its members.
“New Zealand is a post-Christian nation,” Vines says. “I quickly learned that the best way to evangelize in that culture is one-on-one. Of course, Jesus did that all the time, so it’s not like I discovered something new! We challenge each one of our people to invest in one person a year with the goal of building relationships and ultimately leading that one person to Christ. If everyone brought someone else to Christ every 12 months, the church would grow exponentially!”
Church members are encouraged to simply befriend their “one life” and be available, not to “push” Jesus or attach strings to the relationship. Eventually, Vines says, people will have a need and ask questions, or they might agree to attend a church service. CCV has “One Life Weekends” throughout the year when people know that if they invite their one person to church, the service will be visitor-friendly and the speaker will present the gospel clearly. Christ’s Church of the Valley has grown from 3,400 to 6,100 in the last seven years, with six weekend services and three campuses.
Vines created OneLife not only to challenge American Christians to reach others for Christ, but also to help under-resourced pastors and church leaders in other nations.
“Because I also served as a missionary in Rwanda and Zimbabwe I have relationships with some key African leaders as well as Australians and Indians,” Vines says. “Most of these leaders don’t have the resources we have, but they’re doing amazing work, so we invite people in this country to contribute to the OneLife cause around the world.”
Learn more at www.youronelife.org.