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Matthias Media The Trellis and the Vine

All Christian ministry is a mixture of trellis and vine.

There is vine work: the prayerful preaching and teaching of the word of God to see people converted and grow to maturity as disciples of Christ. Vine work is the Great Commission.

And there is trellis work: creating and maintaining the physical and organizational structures and programs that support vine work and its growth.

What's the state of the trellis and the vine in your part of the world? Has trellis work taken over, as it has a habit of doing? Is the vine work being done by very few (perhaps only the pastor and only on Sundays)? And is the vine starting to wilt as a result?

The image of the trellis and the vine raises all the fundamental questions of Christian ministry:

  • What is the vine for?
  • How does the vine grow?
  • How does the vine relate to my church?
  • What is vine work and what is trellis work, and how can we tell the difference?
  • What part do different people play in growing the vine?
  • How can we get more people involved in vine work?


In The Trellis and the Vine, Colin Marshall and Tony Payne answer these urgent questions afresh. They dig back into the Bible's view of Christian ministry, and argue that a major mind-shift is required if we are to fulfill the Great Commission of Christ, and see the vine flourish again.
Average Customer Rating:
4.857 out of 5
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7 out of 7100%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for The Trellis and the Vine
Review 1 for The Trellis and the Vine
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:October 12, 2012
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big bear
Location:Florida
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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The Trellis and the Vine should be required reading for all church leaders, ministerial and lay. It has the potential to change the mindset of your church.
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Review 2 for The Trellis and the Vine
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

An excellent book for any church staff to read...

Date:September 29, 2012
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Joey Cochran
Location:Tulsa, OK
Age:25-34
Gender:male
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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Throughout this Fall and Spring our pastoral staff has read and discussed Colin Marshall and Tony Payne’s book the Trellis and the Vine. This is an excellent book for any church staff to read as they evaluate their model/philosophy for ministry.
Essentially the authors of the book use the word picture explaining the difference between a trellis and the vine to expose one of the preoccupations that most pastors fall into as they lead others.
View more book reviews by Joey Cochran at jtcochran.com.
In the word picture the trellis is the structure of the church, including both the events that the church holds every year and the forms in which the church is structured. What is described as trellis-work might be anything a pastor does to make those event happen or those forms take place. For instance, if I were to have a senior recognition day, the labor that I used to communicate and administrate adult leaders would be considered trellis-work.
Why? Well, vine work is considered distinctly to be gospel oriented ministry leading to gospel growth. The authors say, “The vine grows, both in the number of leaves and in their quality and maturity, through the word and the Spirit – through God’s truth being heard, and the Spirit making it effective in people’s hearts.” According to the authors, gospel growth is the concept that the gospel grows at a macro and micro level. At a macro level as people hear the gospel being clearly proclaimed, the Holy Spirit will save many who will then be followers of Jesus, thus creating growth in the size of the church. On a micro level gospel growth occurs with respect to individuals who grow in their understanding of their unique role of sharing and leading others to do vine work in the church. Thus creating a healthier and more vibrant vine within the church.
The authors explain that some churches have really pretty trellis’ but are bare of vines. They do a lot of stuff and have a well-oiled organization but little gospel ministry takes place. Likewise, other churches have mismanaged vines. You see, the trellis must exist to support and strengthen the vine as it grows, so these churches have vines growing all over the place but there is no real intention for how the gospel is directed.
Throughout the rest of the Trellis and the Vine the authors dispel some false assumptions and provide a recommended model for discipleship. Some of the noteworthy chapters that will challenge most pastors include chapter eight – Why Sunday Sermons are Necessary but Not Sufficient, chapter 10 – People Worth Watching, and chapter eleven – Ministry Apprenticeship.
Now you may think, this book is just for pastors and church leaders based on all that I have written for this review. However, you’d be sorely mistaken. There is plenty for each member of Christ’s body to glean from this book. Concepts such as not leaving the vine work to the few and select pastors is a critical concept that every member of Christ’s body needs to hear from these authors. Concepts like our individual responsibility to sharing the gospel and looking for future vine-workers is a valued concept for each person to adopt, regardless of station in the church. I strongly believe that this book is a great read for anyone who is concerned with seeing the gospel spread and grow in their own community, which I would hope account for every Christ follower in that community.
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Review 3 for The Trellis and the Vine
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

The ministry is people, not programs!

Date:September 22, 2012
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David Gough
Location:Alexandria, VA
Age:55-65
Gender:male
Quality: 
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The subtitle of this book, "The ministry mind-shift that changes everything," reveals the authors' purpose of getting church leaders to rethink how they "do church." Employing the fruit-bearing metaphor, they challenge the traditional concepts that have been in place in the western church for far too long. The trellis represents the structural elements of ministry, which all too often command the majority of the church leaders' time and energy. The vine represents the life and fruit of ministry and is deserving of greater care. Marshall and Payne offer strongly practical advice in helping us to refocus our priorities so that mature disciples will be repeatedly reproduced. Great emphasis is placed on the pastor's responsibility to identify and train workers who are able to train still others. Not a fan of "how to" books because of their over-simplification, I was impressed by the way the writers offer tested suggestions while encouraging readers to adjust these methods to their particular circumstances. It took me a few chapters to get comfortable with Marshall and Payne's "Aussie" terms, spellings, and illustrations, but these distractions were minimal. I was somewhat disappointed that the book seems to close as an 18-page advertisement for the authors' own Matthias Ministry resources. These are minor grievances that should not detract from the value of this small but important volume. Pastor and church leaders looking for reform and revitalization of their ministries would be well advised to consider this book.
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Review 4 for The Trellis and the Vine
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

must reading for all pastors and church leaders

Date:July 5, 2012
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tribefan
Location:Wallaceburg, Ontario
Age:45-54
Gender:male
Quality: 
4 out of 5
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In my opinion, as a pastor of a typical, evangelical church, this book is a "must read" for all pastors and church leaders. It addresses one of the key issues most pastors face, the struggle between the spiritual and temporal matters of ministry. Pastors, get this book and take your leadership through it!
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Review 5 for The Trellis and the Vine
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Paradigm shift: towards a more Biblical church

Date:June 27, 2012
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Art Hutchinson
Gender:male
Having come to Christ later in life, it always puzzled me how some 'church folk' could be involved in countless church programs and committees and yet not evince many (or any) of the fruit-bearing qualities or disciplines which Paul, John and the other early-church Biblical authors describe and exhort plainly, over and over again. In 'Trellis... Vine', one gets fresh insights into not only the dynamics of this pervasive disease (including how it is grinding-up many earnest, God-seeking pastors) but also into practical, step-by-step solutions to begin moving beyond it. The simple premise of the book (a sober step back from the edge of some radically flat, 'organic' models that fall short on issues like authority and right doctrine) is easy to understand: disciples make disciples and that requires (gasp) actual life-on-life pastoring (sometimes messy) by an ever-expanding team of committed leaders. Highly recommended for pastors, congregations or individuals who, reading Acts and the Epistles realize there must be more than what the modern church in the West has been able to accomplish through programs.
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Review 6 for The Trellis and the Vine
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Excellent Book

Date:April 4, 2011
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Mark in Wilm
Location:Wilmington, NY
Age:45-54
Gender:male
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5 out of 5
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This is an easy read, yet still offering a wonderful and practical view for what service could and should look like. At the core of our faith is our one-on-one relationship with Christ, the author demonstrates how we can conform ourselves in the image of Christ by equipping others to fulfill the great commission by walking along them, teaching, serving and equipping them for lives that can glorify God. I found the book to be a blessing and would recommend it to anyone.
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Review 7 for The Trellis and the Vine
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Very insightful

Date:December 3, 2010
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Ferguson Church
Quality: 
5 out of 5
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Very challenging!!! This book thrusts your mind from thinking about church programs and events, to loving and discipling people!! Fresh perspective on the Great commission. I highly recommend this book.
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