The Fortuitous Meeting
In late 2016, there was a unique window where three couples who are prominent leaders in the Vineyard Global Family happened to be coming through NYC at the same time. One couple founded the Vineyard U.K. and currently oversees the international side of the movement, another is the founder of Vineyard Columbus (Ohio), and the other is the founder of a network of Vineyard churches in Denver called the Mile High Vineyard. A meeting was arranged where these couples could spend time with several longtime NYC residents to discuss the faith climate of our city, and what the Vineyard might contribute to what God is already doing in our midst.
After a healthy back and forth, we began a time of worship and invited the Holy Spirit into the room. The night was in many ways ordinary, in the sense that it's the kind of thing that happens in countless rooms in countless countries where the Vineyard has a local presence. But it was extraordinary because it's not the kind of thing that happens often in NYC, and to be frank, can anyone ever tire of encountering the Presence of the Living God? We all experienced something individually, and the collective nature of the experience magnified the sense that something was being birthed.
A meeting like that demanded a follow-up, and so a group of us began to meet on a monthly basis- with no real agenda other than to pray and freely worship TheOneTrueKing. After a few months, Group Lectio Divina, a Benedictine practice for reading and meditating on the Scriptures, was added to our regular rhythm. In addition, we noticed that there were a handful of capable teachers in the room (all of whom work in regular marketplace vocations) who found it life-giving to teach and impart what the Lord had given to them to the wider body. We continued gathering with this cadence, while also trying to discern what was happening and how we might respond more deliberately to what the Lord had initiated.
After a summer of rest and discernment, a team comprised entirely of bi-vocational leaders heeded the call to give leadership to what the Lord was doing, and The166 was formally launched. The launch date of September 2017 coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Vineyard Columbus and the Vineyard U.K., and the sense of continuity was palpable as the founders of those two powerful demonstrations of God's faithfulness were both present at The Fortuitous Meeting.