About Us"Write the vision down, and run with it."
History • Vision • Beliefs • Values
History of the Barn
Understanding the history of The Barn sheds light on who we are now, and on where we are going. God has been gracious to us over the years. We have grown close by enjoying many amazing experiences together in Him. This is why you can feel the family-like atmosphere when we gather. But we are not a closed family. Our doors are open to those God would join to us. We welcome the possibility that you too will become part of our adventure in Jesus!
We formally adopted into the Association of Vineyard Churches, USA, in February of 2003. For twenty-five years prior to this affiliation, we were Newark Christian Fellowship (NCF), a non-denominational charismatic church founded by Bruce and Lynn Latshaw when they were University of Delaware students. Like the original Vineyard churches started by John Wimber in southern California, NCF was founded as a result of the Jesus Movement of the early 1970’s. Gathered by God’s Spirit in a non-traditional church setting, we began as a meeting of ex-hippies and other young Christians. First we met in a campus apartment, then in a townhouse in Newark, DE, and, over time, at different leased facilities. Our original name was New Ark Community, reflecting our view of ourselves as a tightly knit spiritual family of Christians.
In 1980, we moved from Newark into the newly built horse barn on this land near Kemblesville, PA, Meeting in concentric circles and sitting on the floor, we continued to follow the Lord in a laid-back, informal style of church. Slowly, as funds came in, we finished converting “the Barn” from a real animal enclosure (yes, with goats, chickens, and horses!) to the offices and meeting facility it is today. Over the years we continued our numerical and organizational growth, creating a staff now consisting of multiple full-time pastors and several part-time staff volunteer ministers.
The Barn’s Vision Statement
Our vision/mission statement consists for four goals, described below.
To encounter God is to experience the reality of His presence, love, and power. Our highest desire as a community of faith is to encounter Him by His Spirit repeatedly in a wide variety of ways. We encounter Jesus in worship, in the teaching and preaching of His word, in small and large group fellowship, in ministry, and by touching the lives of the unsaved and the poor. These God encounters form the center of our community life. The manifest presence of His sweet Holy Spirit among us is our constant desire.
Through encountering God in the context of a nurturing community, our lives are progressively transformed into Christ likeness. Jesus is the kindest, most loving person in the universe, and we are called to be like him. We offer many healing and discipleship ministries designed to foster healing and freedom for all those who are members at The Barn.
American society is broken and our families fragmented and unhealthy. The three other elements of our vision cannot be fully experienced outside the context of a nurturing community, a healthy spiritual family. We have a passion to provide a community where members are unconditionally accepted and loved – and where new people can easily join.
Living the Adventure
What we mean by “living the adventure” is for us to fully engage in taking the love and power of Jesus into the lives of others. We passionately want to know God, but, once we do, we passionately want to share Him with others. We do this through a variety of ministries, expressed within and outside the “four walls” of the church. We provide ongoing training in supernatural ministries such as healing the sick, prophecy, deliverance, and inner healing. We also carry out compassionate missions to the poor, the marginalized, and the homeless, and to those in foreign nations. A goal we have is that every member of our church, as each is able, finds, is trained for, and engages actively in one or more ministries through which we give Jesus to others–“live the adventure.”
The Barn’s Beliefs
We believe in the central beliefs of historical biblical Christianity. We believe:
That the Bible contains God’s recorded words from Himself to humanity, primarily to point the way to salvation through Jesus of Nazareth; that He inspired biblical authors to write the Bible perfectly and error-free (“inerrantly”) in its original manuscripts; and that biblical doctrines, properly interpreted, are fully relevant and applicable to contemporary life.
That there is only one true God, Who is both infinite and personal; that the one true God exists as three Persons in perfect unity, often referred to as “The Trinity;” that this triune God exists as God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Spirit (The Holy Spirit).
That over 2000 years ago God came to Earth as a human – Jesus Christ – to save humanity from the power of sin and death; that Jesus existed as God before He came to earth and continues to exist as God through all eternity; and that Jesus by birth assumed the nature of a human and became forever a God-man, with both natures fully united as one in Him.
That Jesus was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit as the unique Son of God the Father; that He was born of Mary, a virgin, in the household of Joseph.
That humanity’s salvation from sin, sickness and death, comes as a free gift from God received by grace through faith in what Jesus did as humanity’s savior. This “faith” believes that Jesus lived a sinless life, spilled His blood on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and was physically raised from the dead on the third day.
That after His resurrection Jesus returned to heaven to be with His Father and sent the Holy Spirit to Earth in order to release God’s power and presence to His church; and that Jesus will also return to this planet physically at the end of time to rule the nations as earth’s visible King and righteous Judge.
The Barn’s Values
Relationship With Jesus
The number one value of The Barn is to know Jesus as Savior and to grow closer to Him as Lord. Our goal is that everyone who becomes part of The Barn Vineyard will develop an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ, no matter where they are in that relationship when they first join. Relationship with Jesus develops best in community though its foundation is built through a personal devotional life in prayer and feeding on God’s word. Through many training classes, study groups, discipleship/ministry opportunities, our relationship with Jesus grows stronger and our goal to give Him to others is fulfilled.
We believe that the Bible powerfully works in the lives of Christians on a daily basis. Therefore, we encourage personal Bible study and prayerful meditation on biblical truth as the foundation of this value. We also encourage learning the skill of hearing God’s voice through Scripture and in the Spirit, recording what we hear for further reflection and direction. We also encourage our members to receive much teaching, preaching, and personal study of biblical truth to produce understanding and application of the ways to the Lord in their lives.
House of Prayer
The Bible instructs us to “pray on all occasions” (Colossians 4:2) and that if we acknowledge God in all our ways, He will make our paths straight. Prayer is a high value in our church because we are convinced that prayer is the primary means through with God protects and empowers His people. We therefore practice being a “house of prayer” – a church where prayer saturates all we do. Our goal is that all ministries of the church, and all facets of church life, will enjoy the constant covering of day-and-night prayer. We encourage all our members to engage in this mission to be a house of prayer.
Family and Community
Jesus told us that people would know we are Christians by the way we love one another. This is central to who we are and who we aspire to be at The Barn Vineyard. We strongly affirm fellowship and community life within our church. We want to create an atmosphere where people feel like they are part of a loving family. We want to be a spiritual home where people can experience love, friendship, and joy, and overall relational health. As part of our wider community, we value cooperation and holy relationships. In the world, relationships are often tools used for personal gain that result in hurt and disillusionment. We want to foster relationships in which each individual grows as a person and as a Christian. All of this works together to form unity (but not uniformity). We want to be a group of people who, though individually distinct, share a common faith, vision, and mission. Joining small groups, serving in different ministry situations, and attending whole-church get-togethers are some ways we are encouraged to build relationships here. (Hebrews 10:25, John 17:21-23, Romans 15:5, Ephesians 4:3, Proverbs 13:6)
Being Real and Relevant, Naturally Supernatural
We do not desire for our church life to be “religious,” hyped-up, or manipulated in any way. Living in reality and simplicity is a value of ours that we feel helps us maintain a level of normalcy that is healthy, without at the same time neglecting the supernatural dimension of life in the Spirit. One practical way in which we do this is through our church style—our informality (non-traditionalism) in meetings, and our casual dress. Our goal, therefore, is to be enough like the world in morally neutral ways to attract them to Jesus while still being thoroughly Christian in our attitudes and behavior. In other words, we desire to be culturally relevant and appealing without sacrificing the integrity of the gospel message in any way. In Jesus’ interactions with people we see His ability to be “natural” and “supernatural” at the same time. We aspire to a similar naturally supernatural lifestyle for our church. We want people outside of our church to know we are average, normal people who are following an amazing, all-powerful God (2 Corinthians 4:7, 1 Corinthians 9:22).
Ministry Equality of Gender and Ages
We affirm the ministry of both genders in our church. We believe the Scriptures teach that Christians qualify for ministry on the basis of calling, gifting, and maturity, and that no Christian should be disqualified from any ministry in the church based on gender, age, race, or economic status. We also encourage younger and older to work together in unified ministry (Acts 2:17, acts 21:19, Romans 16:17). We invite our younger members to minister alongside adults. And we exhort our older members to make use of God’s long-term investment in them to bring forth much good fruit for Him!
Worship is a major way we express our love to Jesus and enter His manifest presence. Worship is a value not only for our corporate meetings but also for our individual lives. In our corporate meetings we encourage freedom and diversity in worship. God calls us to worship with our hearts, minds, and strength: in other words, with our whole being. We desire, therefore, for people to feel free to express themselves to God through a variety of means found in the Bible – through singing, dancing, doing prophetic art, silence, clapping hands, shouting with joy, meditating, lifting their hands, etc. We also value depth of worship, which we try to accomplish by allotting a significant length of time for worship in our meetings. We also see worship as an appropriate context for the expression of spiritual gifts and other meeting contributions such as the reading of Scripture or intercessory prayer. At times we will continue worship but layer it with a call forward for personal ministry based on the direction of the Spirit.
In Luke 17:20, Jesus told his disciples that the kingdom of God was within them; and wherever they went after Pentecost, the kingdom flowed through them. We strongly believe, therefore, that every Christian is a minister of the Gospel, not just those recognized or employed as “ministers.” All of us are called to both witness to and demonstrate the Kingdom in and through our lives. We affirm and encourage the practice of all the gifts and ministries of the Father, Son, and Spirit as listed in Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Corinthians 12:7-10, 28. We encourage members to use their gifts in ministry to others – both inside and outside the church. We believe strongly that part of being a minister is constant growth in the Lord. Therefore we encourage personal discipleship and mentoring with mature believers. We also promote the training and instruction of our members through classes on a regular basis to strengthen the ministry of each believer in The Barn Vineyard Church. (Ephesians 4:12, 1 John 2:20)
“Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:17). Because having faith alone is not sufficient, we believe that God’s call on our church is more than simply building a strong community with shared beliefs. We are also called to evangelize, to bear witness to our faith, to invite others into our own family of faith. We can do this in a variety of biblical ways. We can pray for our unsaved relatives, friends, and neighbors. We can give our testimony to a friend or proclaim the gospel to a crowd through music, arts, or preaching. We can show the mercy of God through good deeds of practical kindness and compassion. We can offer to heal the sick we encounter outside church meetings. We also give our time, energy, and money to support local and worldwide missions. Through our actions and words, we want to show others the love and power of God in a way that is meaningful to their lives and draws them to Him. (Mark 16:15-18, Matthew 5:13-16, 1 Peter 2:12)
The Barn Vineyard Church believes that Jesus’ mission was to bring all forms of salvation (wholeness) to humanity through His atonement on the Cross. Our church’s responsibility is to continue that mission in His name. We understand that the healing He released by means of His “stripes” (wounds) produced both spiritual (1 Peter 2:24) and physical (Matthew 8:16-17) salvation. We believe all Christians are empowered by the Spirit to bring healing to the sick and to cast out demons when the need arises (Mark 16:15-18). We therefore offer ongoing training and regularly engage in the ministries of biblically based inner healing, deliverance, healing of physical sickness, and healing of relationships and families.
Unity with Other Churches
While part of the worldwide Vineyard movement, The Barn Vineyard Church is also proactively working to create and grow connections with other Christian churches in our area and region. We believe the many “streams” in the Church express various aspects of the triune God, and that His fullness is revealed corporately when various churches promote the “unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). We also believe that from this oneness centered in Jesus, churches can and should worship, pray, and minister together to impact their communities and release renewal, revival, and societal transformation.