A Vineyard church in Idaho is calling on local congregations to launch a reformation.
Through a ministry called RE:FORM, Vineyard Boise church is helping local congregations learn ways to address seven areas of “world crisis,” which include environmental decline, world hunger, poor health and disease, corrupt leadership, and spiritual confusion.
“I call it Isaiah 61 ministry,” said Boise Vineyard pastor Tri Robinson, who launched the program in 2005. “It’s really setting captives free and healing broken people and ministering the gospel to the poor. I just see it as the ministry of Jesus.”
Vineyard Boise has long advocated for church-based creation care, even hosting a conference on the topic annually. But Robinson said he recently realized that issues such as human trafficking and world hunger also have environmental roots.
“If people can’t grow food, they can’t make money,” said Robinson, a former science teacher and author of Saving God’s Green Earth. “… Then they get desperate, and desperate people do desperate things. Pretty soon they start selling their daughters into slavery.”
Although the idea of working to alleviate world hunger or assisting victims of human trafficking overwhelms many pastors he meets, Robinson said it can be done. He points to his own congregation, which has a medical clinic and an organic vegetable garden that generated 13 tons of produce last year to give to the needy. Both ministries serve as tools for teaching members how to do similar work elsewhere.
Earlier this year, a church team visited Thailand to assist a ministry working to aid victims of sex trafficking. The church’s efforts coincide with the national Vineyard Anti-Slavery Team, which seeks to develop safe houses for sex trafficking victims in each of the Vineyard’s eight regions.
Last year Vineyard Boise relaunched its creation care conference as RE:FORM. This year’s event will be held Sept. 16-18 in Baltimore. “If the body of Christ would unite around this,” Robinson said, “… if we would just put down our picky differences and take on these crises that are in the world right now where people are suffering and dying, we could make a difference.”