Vineyard Churches

Religions, Cults & Worldviews: Valuable Answers for Valid Questions.

Pentecostal (Gullickson 1974, Wimber 1982)Founded by Kenn Gullickson in 1974 as a group of small churches and bible study groups affiliated with Calvary Chapel.
These groups existed in practical anonymity until 1982, when a charismatic seminary professor, Calvary Chapel Pastor, and former professional musician named John Wimber, came to experience the gifts of the Spirit (prophecy, speaking in tongues, word of knowledge, etc) in reality and not just doctrinally. This brought about a new emphasis from Wimber on the day to day use of the gifts in the Christian life which was unacceptable to Chuck Smith, the leader of Calvary Chapel. In Chuck Smith’s words, the disagreement was an amicable one and the two “agreed to disagree” and, in 1982, Wimber removed himself and his Yorba Linda congregation from the Calvary Chapel fold.

What began as a few small groups under Gullickson quickly became a nationwide movement and denomination under Wimber.
The denomination has since experienced mixed responses from the rest of Christianity mainly as a result of its affiliation with controversial movements and figures such the Kansas City Prophets and the embarrassing “Laughter in The Spirit” fad of the early ’90s. Both of which claimed to be the “great revivals” but in truth, fizzled out with little to no impact whatsoever on their communities, thus negating any possible comparison to true Christian revivals like the first or second “Great Awakenings”, or the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles in the early 20th century. 

Because of Vineyard’s association with these events, many came to mistrust what was formerly a very trustworthy movement. This caused a number of Vineyard churches to openly declare their disassociation with the “Laughter” craze and the Toronto Airport Vineyard in particular.

Shortly after this, in 1997, John Wimber passed away and left behind a legacy of successful Christian churches and a denomination, that for the most part, is consistently and properly balanced between evangelicalism and pentecostalism. He also left behind a collection of Spirit-inspired worship music that has blessed the worship lives of many Christians: Catholic and Protestant alike.

Today the Vineyard denomination has over 1500 congregations worlwide and over 550 in the US alone.