Reflecting on Being at the Grapevine Project This Weekend

This past weekend I was one of the workshop speakers at the Grapevine Project. Their mission “is to glorify God by equipping the Second Generation to develop true identity, spiritual maturity, and the skills for discipleship so that they are strengthened forministry in their local churches and communities.”

I first became aware of GP after speaking at a Middle Eastern Church Conference for their College and Career age back in 2007. Between seminary and then kids (praise the Lord for both!), I could never make it out. This year worked out differently and with the blessing of my local community, I was set to go and was asked two give two workshops – one on purity and the other on missional living which was framed by the question, “With all the stress in our everyday lives, how can we live out the mandates of Scripture like worship and serving others?”

Things like Grapevine are important to me because I really wish there was something like this when I was growing up. By focusing specifically on the first and second generation middle-eastern students – a lot can happen potentially.   As any immigrant family knows, there is a great deal of cultural identity searching in addition to the other identity searching that adolescence and adulthood bring. I am so grateful for people like Khalaf, Ash, Maya, Tala, Mark, their families, and the many others including all the small group leaders that have served this need for the last 5 years.

There was a lot I found at Grapevine regarding their hopes and dreams and wonderful moments and conversations I had over the weekend and I’d like to post more but here’s a little bit of what I found:

The value of relationships. This is not new of course, but rather encouraging. It’s always a big thing to me when I hear people say, “It’s all about relationships here.” Of course some people flippantly use that in the same way selfish people say, “I like to help people” but when you see a place that thrives on relationships, you believe it. This weekend I saw so many that gathered to reconnect, share the stories of their recent past and further their relationship with God. As an outsider, this was pretty obvious.

However, even though I was an outsider, I was so encouraged by the unity I found in the body of Christ. Three things struck me. One was our worship. Led by a young twenty something named Mark (who led worship at the conference I spoke at back in 2007) and his friends from Taylor University, I felt that unity of the Body. Second was in Khalaf’s teaching. Khalaf is a fantastic speaker, a recent MDIV grad, and has a full-time career in Microsoft Training. He’s a couple years older than me and we connected on the “stuck between two generations” thing, as well as of course the middle-eastern connection. It was helpful to me that he said a number of things that I normally say and my workshops seemed to reemphasize his main session points. That’s a cool thing when you don’t know each other and haven’t planned that.  And third, I got to meet some great people. Though you cannot maintain great relationships with everyone, in the Facebook age, you can still keep in some type of touch. There were a couple other things that I wrote down in my journal – I was reminded by the importance of inter-generational ministry and inter-cultural ministry which deserve their own posts.

Lastly though I was motivated further to work in my local context to which the Lord has called me to. It’s here in my local church in Montvale (and to a certain extent, the youth group at my first church) that many thoughts and ideas are birthed. It’s our students that have to hear the illustrations that don’t work before the ones that do take some shape. It’s through them and our leaders here that have provided countless stories and other thoughts and ideas and I find myself grateful for that. it’s always nice to get away, speak, and hope to be a blessing to others, but it’s so good to be rooted some place where you can come back, share life together, and hopefully be a blessing (and be blessed as well).

I hope to get back to Grapevine and would be great to either organize an event here or bring a couple church groups out there. We’ll see what happens.

More from the Grapevine Project’s Mission:  Over the years many families have moved from the Middle East to North America, seeking opportunities and a better way of life. These immigrants brought their faith and their traditions, and began to establish churches similar in form to what they had left behind. These First Generation believers worship the Lord with all sincerity of heart, and continue to do so to this day.

The children of these immigrants, the Second Generation, have much in common with their parents. Yet being born here and growing up in a world unlike that of their parents has shaped them differently. … Over the past ten years the Lord as laid a burden on the hearts of many people to effectively reach the Second Generation and nurture them to spiritual maturity in Christ, in effect “reconnecting” them to the True Vine.

Check out their site here.


  1. Tim,
    Thanks for sharing. You were and continue to be such a blessing.

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