In 1974, after working as an assistant pastor at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California and planting a church called Jesus Chapel in El Paso, Texas, Kenn and Joannie Gulliksen moved to Los Angeles to begin a ministry that had been on their hearts for several years. Starting as a small Bible study, the fellowship quickly grew into a church. God prophetically gave the name “Vineyard” to those who initially gathered together.
“A vineyard of wine, sing of it! I, the Lord, am its Keeper; I water it every moment lest anyone damage it, I guard it night and day”. Is. 27:2-3
“I am the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit; and for apart from Me you can do nothing”. Jn 15:5
In the next few years literally thousands received Jesus Christ through the ministries of the church. God graciously worked through the many mistakes and failures as well as the successes, as people were willing to take risks to become like Jesus, and to communicate the God News. Several couples went out and began other Vineyards in California: quickly growing churches with priorities of worship, relationship, healing, training and giving.
In the Spring of 1982 the late John Wimber and several other pastors led their churches into relationship/identification with the Vineyard, as their vision coincided with and completed that of the original Vineyards. It was obvious that God had called John to pastor the pastors, and to train and encourage men and women to pursue what God had given them.
As a result, the people called the Vineyard have reached out to bless and encourage churches all over the world, as well as planting churches. The Vineyard has extensive and fruitful relationships with many American denominations and pastors, the Church of England, and many other churches in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, Latin America, and the South Pacific. These relationships include parachurch organizations like Y.W.A.M., World Vision, seminaries like Fuller, and underground churches in Europe, Asia and China. Many of these relationships are through the personal ministry of John Wimber, others are relationships with various local Vineyard churches.
In 1982, John Wimber visited South Africa for the third time, having received a clear word from the Lord to plant a church in Johannesburg. The Parkview VCF was planted in October 1982, and since then the movement in South Africa has grown to about 40 churches and plants in progress, which are connected through a formal church association called the Association of Vineyard Churches.
The churches are self-governing, but overseen and encouraged on a voluntary basis by experienced pastors. The Association of Vineyard Churches in each nation is led by a National Director. Each area is overseen by an Area Pastoral Coordinator (APC). The Board of AVC (SA) is also responsible for the oversight of missions activities in the 16 African nations in which we are currently involved. In March 2005 there were an estimated 1400 Vineyard churches world wide, in more than 68 countries.
God however, has shown us not to seek to build the Vineyard, but instead to seek His Kingdom and to build His Church, to bless what He is blessing, to love what He loves, and to give ourselves away freely. We want to be like Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Our plan is to seek God and to cooperate with Him as He reveals Himself in the process.