The authors compare the local church to the trellis and a vine, the kind of masterpiece found in many backyards. Marshall and Payne maintain, “Most churches are a mixture of trellis and vine. The basic work of any Christian ministry is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of God’s Spirit, and to see people converted, change and grow to maturity in that gospel.” However, a problem arises when the trellis begins to overtake the vine. When church structure becomes more important that the actual vine, something is dreadfully wrong. Yet in many churches, ministry structure has overshadowed the vine, the ministry that involves people who are growing because of the work of the gospel.
Marshall and Payne set out to correct the emphasis from the trellis to the vine. The fundamental working idea in the book is this: The disciple-making agenda should be the priority of each and every disciple. In the final analysis, the goal in every church is to grow the vine, not maintain the trellis.
The book is filled with ideas to fulfill the primary objective of discipleship. At the heart of the strategy is a commitment to train faithful people for the work of the ministry – so disciples begin making disciples.
The Trellis and the Vine provides the needed corrective that has been missing from most churches. The message is simple and challenging. The message is biblical. Now – its time to get busy making disciples!