About Us"Write the vision down, and run with it."
History • Vision • Beliefs • Values
History of the Barn
Understanding the history of our church sheds a lot of light on who we are now, and on where we are going. God has been gracious to us over the years and we have enjoyed many amazing experiences together. That is why you can probably feel the family-like atmosphere here. However, this is not a closed family. Our doors are open to those that God would bring to join this family. And we are excited about getting to know you, and the possibility that you too will become part of the Adventure of God here!
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), an independent, non-denominational, charismatic church founded by Bruce and Lynn Latshaw when they were University of Delaware students nearly thirty years ago. Like the original Vineyard churches birthed by John Wimber in southern California, NCF was founded as a result of the Jesus Movement of the early 1970’s. Touched by God’s Spirit in a non-traditional church setting, we began as a meeting of ex-hippies and other young radical Christians; first we met in a campus apartment, then in a townhouse in Newark, DE. Our original name was New Ark Community, reflecting our view of ourselves as a tightly knit spiritual family of Christians.
In 1980, our name changed to Newark Christian Fellowship, we moved from Newark into the newly built “barn” on this land near Kemblesville, PA, and continued evangelizing our area and following 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 five full-time pastors and several part-time staff volunteer ministers.
The Barn’s Vision Statement
On the deepest level, every human needs a true encounter with the living God. This isn’t about religion or philosophy, it’s about having a real and personal relationship with Jesus. We hope all people experience God’s love and comfort on a regular basis.
Encountering God in the context of a nurturing community naturally leads to our lives being transformed. But being “transformed” sounds kind of overwhelming to some people. This isn’t about buying another self-help book, or even trying to conform and become like someone else. God is the kindest, most loving person, and we are called to be like him. We hope that every person will find healing and freedom and begin to realize their full potential and purpose in Jesus.
People can easily feel alone and isolated in this world. The three other elements of our vision cannot fully be experienced outside of a nurturing community. We have a passion to provide a community where members feel accepted and loved – and new people can easily join.
Living the Adventure
Every person longs for adventure, for that feeling of “truly living.” This adventure isn’t about being a daredevil, it’s about living the dreams that God has for you despite your fear. It’s about making a difference in the world around you. It’s about touching other people’s lives with the same power that has touched yours. This adventure will look very different for each person. Our desire is to see every person living the adventure that God has for their lives.
The Barn’s Beliefs
We believe in the central beliefs of historical and biblical Christianity. We believe:
That the Bible is a message from God to humanity that he inspired the authors to write that is perfect and error-free (“inerrant”) in the original writing, and is relevant and powerful for our daily lives.
That there is only one true God, not a multitude of gods. And the one true God exists as three Persons in one, often referred to as “The Trinity.” 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 our sin. Jesus has always existed as God, even before he came to earth, and will continue to exist for eternity as God. While on Earth Jesus was both still completely God (retaining all of His divine qualities) and completely man (living with the same struggles that we live with today).
That in order for God to come to Earth as a man, He miraculously caused Mary to be pregnant with Jesus, even though she was a virgin. This is called the “Virgin Birth.”
That humanity’s salvation from sin, sickness and death, comes as a free gift from God (called “grace”), through faith in what Jesus did on Earth. This “faith” is believing that Jesus lived a sinless life, died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and was physically raised from the dead (resurrected) on the third day! His death and resurrection have cleared us of all consequences of our sin if we receive the free gift of His salvation for us, and give our lives over to His leadership and learn to depend wholly on Him.
That after His resurrection Jesus returned to heaven to be with His Father and sent the Holy Spirit to Earth in order to release His power and presence to the Church. Jesus will also return to Earth physically at the end of time to rule as the visible King.
The Barn’s Values
Relationship With Jesus
Clearly, the number one value of our church is to know Jesus and to grow closer to Him. Our goal is that everyone who attends The Barn Vineyard will develop deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. A relationship with Jesus begins with pursuing Him in our personal lives. This is the foundation of everything for us personally, and in our church. We pursue God in order to know Him. Then, as we get to know God, we will begin to be led by His Spirit. Being led by the Spirit is our daily interaction with the Spirit of God, who leads us to know God’s will in the various personal and ministry situations for our lives. Finally, the more we learn how to know Him and follow His leading, the more Christ-like we will become. And this is our hope – to become more like Christ in our thoughts, actions, and words. (James 4:8, Romans 8:14, 2 Corinthians 3:18)
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. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, every Christian is able to find truth in the Bible that will lead to abundant life in Jesus. We also encourage our members to receive much teaching and preaching of biblical truth to produce understanding and application of the Bible 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. This is why prayer is such a high value in our church. We desire to be 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 have strong foundations in 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. There are several aspects to this. 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. As part of the 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 – 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 encourage you to build relationships here. (Hebrews 10:25, John 17:21-23, Romans 15:5, Ephesians 4:3, Proverbs 13:6)
Being Real and Relevant
We do not desire for our church life to be fake, 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 through us 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. We see in Jesus’ interactions with people, his ability to be “natural” and “supernatural” at the same time. We, therefore, 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 and 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)
Worship is a major way of expressing our love to Jesus and entering into His 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 – singing, dancing, clapping, shouting, meditating, closing their eyes, lifting their hands, etc. We also value depth of worship, which we try to accomplish by allotting significant time to worship in our meetings. Finally, quality and cultural relevance of our musical worship is something for which we strive in order to bless those worshipping. (1 Chronicles 15:22, 2 Chronicles 34:12, John 4:24, 2 Corinthians 3:17, Mark 12:30)
In Luke 17:20, Jesus told his disciples that the Kingdom of God was within them. We strongly believe, therefore, that every Christian is a minister of the Gospel, not just those on staff. All of us are called to both witness to and demonstrate the Kingdom in our lives. As a result of that belief, we feel our leaders must be servant leaders, not leading to fulfill their own desires for position or power, but leading to fulfill God’s purposes in those around them. We affirm and encourage the practice of all the gifts of the Father, Son, and Spirit as listed in Romans 12:3-8, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Corinthians 12:7-10. We encourage members to use their gifts in ministry to others – both inside and outside of 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. 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. Or we can show the mercy of God through good deeds of practical kindness and compassion. We also give our time, energy, and money to support local and worldwide missions. We truly want to show people, through our actions and words, 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, and that the Church’s responsibility is to continue that mission in His name. We understand that the healing He released by means of His “stripes” (wounds)—Isaiah 53—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.
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 as 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 with the gospel of Christ.