History | the Vineyard

An Outline History of the Vineyard

1964-1970 John estimates that he and Carol led hundreds to Christ. John becomes co-pastor of the Quaker church. Carol is an elder

1974 Wimber was offered a job by Peter Wagner to help establish the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth

1974 Kenn and Joanie Gulliksen move to Los Angeles from Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, to plant a church that they will eventually name the Vineyard.

October 1976 Carol and some of the leaders of the Quaker church start a home meeting. Bob Fulton facilitates and Carl Tuttle leads worship because he’s the only person who can play guitar. The meeting grows from 12 to 50 in a few weeks.

April 1977 The group has grown to 100 and John has become the leader.

In 1977 the Vineyard, started by the Gulliksens, had gone through several different locations, produced two additional church plants and was in Westwood being attended by a budding young musician/songwriter named Keith Green, who received Christ at Kenn’s Bible Study.

Mother’s Day, May 8, 1977 Wimber’s group becomes the Calvary Chapel of Yorba Linda with 150 in attendance. John is designated pastor and continues his work with Fuller Evangelistic Association.

March 1978 After ten months of preaching and praying without anyone healed, Wimber and team see their first healing.

1979 John Wimber and Kenn Gulliksen meet.

On Mother’s Day 1980 Lonnie Frisbee was speaking at Calvary Chapel Yorba Linda and said, “Come, Holy Spirit.”

Fall 1979 Todd and Debbie Hunter are the first church planters sent out from Wimber’s church. They plant a church in Wheeling, West Virginia.

January 1982 The first MC510 course held at Fuller Seminary called Signs Wonders and Church Growth taught by John Wimber.

April 1982 Calvary Chapel of Yorba Linda becomes a Vineyard.

May 1982 Wimber becomes head of Vineyard movement.

May 1983 Vineyard Ministries International (VMI) is born.

May 1984 First Fruits Magazine the first Vineyard Magazine begins.

June 1984 MC510, a class on the supernatural started at Fuller Seminary in January 1982, goes public. It soon goes out worldwide.

October/November 1984 John and team go to England. Hundreds of churches are touched by their ministry.

1985 Mercy Records was formed along with Mercy Media.

1985 The Association of Vineyard Churches (AVC) was incorporated.

1986 Inner healing emphasis at Anaheim Vineyard.

1986 The Vineyard grows to 200 churches.

1987 Equipping the Saints replaces First Fruits magazine.

1988-1992 The prophetic period in the Vineyard.

January 1994 The “Toronto Blessing” period of the Vineyard begins.

January 1995 John Wimber installs Carl Tuttle as Senior Pastor of VCF Anaheim.

Spring 1997 Voice of the Vineyard (VOV) magazine replaces Equipping the Saints.

July 1997 John Wimber installs Todd Hunter as National Director of AVC (USA).

November 17, 1997 John Wimber dies from massive brain hemorrhage.

1998 The Columbus Accord calls for a reconstruction of the Association of Vineyard Churches, USA.


A Detailed History of the Vineyard

Vineyard USA History from Vineyard USA on Vimeo.

Horizon DVDs available from Vineyard Resources

Humble Beginnings

The Vineyard story is about ordinary people who worship and serve an extraordinary God. The Vineyard is simply one thread in the rich tapestry of the historic and global Church of Jesus Christ. But it is a thread of God’s weaving.

From the beginning, Vineyard pastors and leaders have sought to hold in tension the biblical doctrines of the Christian faith with an ardent pursuit of the present day work of the Spirit of God. Maintaining that balance is never easy in the midst of rapid growth and renewal.

John Wimber was a founding leader of the Vineyard. His influence profoundly shaped the theology and practice of Vineyard churches from their earliest days until his death in November 1997. When John was conscripted by God he was, in the words of Christianity Today, a “beer-guzzling, drug-abusing pop musician, who was converted at the age of 29 while chain-smoking his way through a Quaker-led Bible study” (Christianity Today, editorial, Feb. 9 1998).

The Early Years

In John’s first decade as a Christian he led hundreds of people to Christ. By 1970 he was leading 11 Bible studies that involved more than 500 people. Under God’s grace, John became so fruitful as an evangelical pastor he was asked to lead the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth. He also later became an adjunct instructor at Fuller Theological Seminary where his classes set attendance records. In 1977, John reentered pastoral ministry to plant Calvary Chapel of Yorba Linda.

Throughout this time, John’s conservative evangelical paradigm for understanding the ministry of the church began to grow. George Eldon Ladd’s theological writings on the kingdom of God convinced John intellectually that the all the biblical gifts of the Holy Spirit should be active in the church. Encounters with Fuller missiologists Donald McGavaran and C. Peter Wagner and seasoned missionaries and international students gave him credible evidence for combining evangelism with healing and prophecy. As he became more convinced of God’s desire to be active in the world through all the biblical gifts of the Spirit, John began to teach and train his church to imitate Jesus’ full-orbed kingdom ministry. He began to “do the stuff” of the Bible that he had formerly only read about.

The Vineyard Is Born

As John and his congregation sought God in intimate worship they experienced empowerment by the Holy Spirit, significant renewal in the gifts and conversion growth. It became clear that the church’s emphasis on the experience of the Holy Spirit was not shared by some leaders in the Calvary Chapel movement. In 1982, John’s church left Calvary Chapel and joined a small group of Vineyard churches. Vineyard was a name chosen by Kenn Gulliksen, a prolific church planter affiliated with Calvary Chapel, for a church he planted in Los Angeles in 1974. Pastors and leaders from the handful of Vineyard churches began looking to John for direction. And the Vineyard movement was born.

A Season of Expansion

Twenty-five years later, there are more than 1,500 Vineyard churches worldwide, 550+ in the US, with 8 regions actively planting churches across the country. Vineyard worship songs, documented by Vineyard Music, have helped thousands of churches experience intimacy with God. Many churches have been equipped to continue Jesus’ ministry of proclaiming the kingdom, demonstrating the kingdom and training disciples.

The Vineyard’s journey has not been a straight path. It winds through many trials and triumphs. If you are interested in more, there are a number of books and DVDs available from Vineyard Resources that explore the history, events, issues and people who shaped the Vineyard in its first two decades.