How did the Vineyard begin?

The Vineyard began in 1974 with Ken Gulliksen leading a small Bible study in Los Angeles. It quickly grew making it necessary to start other house-groups and a Sunday service called The Vineyard. In the next few years, thousands of people received Christ or various forms of ministry during the Sunday service as well as in the small house-groups.

Shortly after that, many went out to start other Vineyard churches in California, each having the emphasis on worship, relationships, healing and training. Soon there were five churches led by Ken Gulliksen.

As all this was happening, John Wimber was leading a rapidly growing church called the Church Calvary Chapel in Yorba Linda; which also grew out of a house-group. By this time a number of pastors had gathered around John and they began to buy into his vision; amongst them was Ken Gulliksen. In the spring of 1982, John Wimber and several other pastors joined with The Vineyard.  A short time later it became clear that God had called John to oversee, pastor, train and encourage the other pastors under him.

In 1987 the various Vineyard churches formed a formal church association called the Association of Vineyard Churches (AVC). The churches are self-governing, but are overseen and encouraged on a voluntary basis by Pastoral Overseers. Prior to 1987 there had been a number of very successful Vineyard conferences run in the UK. However it was not until 1987 that John Wimber released John & Eleanor Mumford to start the first Vineyard church in the UK, the SW London Vineyard.

On the 14 March 1996 John Wimber released the UK as a national grouping of Vineyard Churches in its own right and John & Eleanor were commissioned as National Directors of the Association of Vineyard Churches (UK) – now known as Vineyard Churches UK.

Vineyard Churches UK continues to steadily grow: 12 in 1993; 31 in 1996; 65 in 1999; 79 in 2002; over 100 in 2012.


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