Chatting about ‘Greater Things’

One of the perks of being interested in a) what God is doing and b) what God has done, whilst also c) reading books, is that occasionally you get fun opportunities. In this case, I got to interview Paul Harcourt, the national Leader of New Wine, a movement of local churches with the vision to see God’s Kingdom come and change nations.

Theologically and historically there are strong links/resonances between New Wine and the Vineyard movement, of which I am but one small part. Last year, New Wine celebrated 30 years of summer conferences, and rather than just ignoring it, they collected some of the history and story in a book: Greater Things: The Story of New Wine So Far. It’s got Paul’s and Ralph Turner’s names on the front – but they both step back to give the stage to others.

As Paul writes in his introduction:

No book of this nature can present a definitive account of New Wine’s history, far less the impact of what God has put into motion. I’m conscious that many people deserve far more credit than space has allowed, and many more deserve a mention and haven’t recieved one. We have thousands of testimonies of lives transformed through recieving healing or experiencing signs and wonders, but only a few pages to share them in. The narrow scope of this book also means that it has not been possible to tell many of the stories of how people, having encountered God’s love and power through New Wine, have been inspired to give their lives to mission, start charities, engage in campaigns, protect the environment or commit to any number of other kingdom causes. Whereas there was a time, not so long ago, when many churches were suspicious of any emphasis on social action or social justice, today, through a combination of kingdom theology and encountering God’s love in the power of the Spirit, few churches would think of outreach and evangelism interms that did not include practical action.

After 30 years of summer conferences, New Wine remains vibrant and growing. What God began has spread, there is an increasing emphasis on church planting, new areas of ministry are emerging . . . but the essential DNA remains the same: encountering the presence of God in worship,a desire for the spiritual gifts with which Jesus equips his Church for mission, prayer ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit, and an overflow of love to our communities through local churches.

It always has been – and always will be – all about God, but we all have our part to play. Jesus said that whoever believed in him would do the things that he was doing, indeed even greater things (John 14.12). The kingdom that Jesus inaugurated is continuing to grow, and I trust that this book will inspire and encourage you to join in.

It was great fun chatting to Paul about the book and New Wine more generally – so whether you are an old hand, just interested, or just bored, check out the interview below:

If this has intrigued you, and you might not be particularly ‘New Wine/Vineyard’, then I’d love to recommend some further reading…

  • Freddie Pimm’s The Selfish Gospel – a great little book that reminds us what the gospel is meant to do!
  • J. I. Packer on John Wimber – Wimber was a big influence on New Wine, here Packer takes a look at the man and his ministry.
  • Mike Turrigiano and Luke Geraty – I’m No Superman – two fairly normal people unpack the Bible’s teaching on spiritual gifts.
  • Insoo Kim and Rich Nathan, Both-And – a book that gives some helpful background to the idea of ‘naturally supernatural’,etc.
  • Mark Tanner, The Introvert Charismatic – a helpful book that, as both and introvert and a charismatic, I’ve really appreciated.

I’ve written some related posts on ‘Charismatic Clarity’ – a good place to start might be this reflection on worship and justice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *