equipping disciples in an up, in, and out lifestyle.
On a plane ride back from Connecticut on April 15, 2013, God spoke to Charles Bello to plant a Vineyard Church in Oklahoma City. Charles shared this prophetic sense with his wife, Dianna, Brian Blount and AT Hargrave. Charles also asked God to give him clear confirmation from Scripture and from an unaffiliated outside source that this was truly a word from Him.
Within the week, both confirmations Charles asked for were given, including a prophetic word from the Anglican Bishop Sean Larkin (who was visiting from London). It was decided then to plant what would become Crestwood Vineyard.
Later that same month, Charles was leading a pastor’s retreat in the Ukraine. It was there God began speaking to him about planting the church in Crestwood neighborhood and restore the Crestwood Baptist Church building. At one time in it’s history, the building was called "Crestwood The Beautiful. " Charles believed that God told him it would be called that again because of both the renovation and ministry that would flow out of the building.
In May, Charles and Dianna Bello began meetings with AT and Micki Hargrave, Brian and Jeanine Blount, Shane and Zita Mock, and Bjorn and Laura Bauer to begin praying and planning next steps. The growing community would meet for Sunday services the following September.
Many people invested in Crestwood Baptist before we were given stewardship of the building, and many other stories provide other threads of the story still unfolding.
There are seven core values that shape everything we do here at Crestwood Vineyard:
1. The leadership and lordship of Jesus.
We value a healthy and reverent respect for the lordship of Christ in His church. Jesus is the head of His church, and we seek to follow His leadership. The church was made by Christ and for Christ, and all leadership within the church should flow from this value. Leadership is meant to draw people to God and enable them to live under His rule.
2. The empowerment and administration of the Holy Spirit
We value the work and presence of the Holy Spirit. We are, and must always be, people of His presence. Like Moses and Israel in the wilderness, the only thing that should distinguish us and make us any different from all other people on Earth is the evident presence of God with us (Ex 33:14–16). Biblically speaking, what makes church real church, as God intended church to be, is His manifest presence. We want to hear the voice of God and be led and empowered by His Holy Spirit.
3. The Bible
The Bible is God’s divinely inspired Word, and he reveals Himself to us through it. The purpose of Scripture is not that we should be knowledgeable in it, rather that we should practice it, encounter God in and through it, and be transformed by it.
Relationships with others root us in reality, help define us, and create the body of believers we call the church. We are to nurture a culture of love, acceptance, and forgiveness that allows others to encounter Jesus through us. God’s commitment to us, displayed through Christ, is the basis for our relationships.
We value all individuals and treat them with the grace and mercy God has shown us. Operating out of God’s grace from our own brokenness and need for him, we treat each person with dignity and respect as a unique individual, made in the image of God, respecting the unique place of each believer in the body of Christ. We especially seek to express this value by following Jesus’ example of loving the marginalized and showing compassion toward the oppressed, broken, divorced, orphans, and widows.
Healing and wholeness is God’s desire for everyone, whereas sickness, oppression, demonization, and death are all expressions of evil. Healing can be both an event and a process. Either expression demonstrates God’s compassion on victims of evil. Because healing can be a process, we embrace an environmental and holistic approach. Healing also involves an expectation for supernatural signs and wonders exercised by the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit. We demonstrate compassion on a pain-filled world by focusing both on evangelism and social justice.
7. The kingdom of God as the primary message of Jesus and the church
We are committed to the theology and practice of the kingdom of God, rooted in the vision of the Hebrew prophets and fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. We have been commissioned to proclaim the good news of the kingdom bearing witness to the already and not yet of the kingdom in words and deeds.
We view the kingdom of God as the overarching and integrating theme of the Bible. We are committed to the proclamation of the kingdom of God and to bearing witness to the deeds of the kingdom through healing (physical, emotional, and social), doing justice, and delivering those held captive by evil. Since the kingdom of God is the future reign of God breaking into the present through the life and ministry of Jesus, we are a forward-leaning church emphasizing the ever-reforming nature of the church engaging the world in love.
The way we express these values is through our community practices. Community practices are activities we regularly do individually and as a community that enable us to encounter the presence of God, be transformed into his likeness, and engage in his purposes. Our primary practices can expressed Upward, Inward, and Outward and include: