The Association of Vineyard Churches, also known as the Vineyard Movement, is an evangelical Christian denomination with over 2,400 affiliated churches worldwide in 95 countries (including U.S.A, Canada, United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, Australia, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and across Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Far East.)
The Vineyard Movement is rooted in evangelicalism and greatly influenced by the charismatic renewal. It has been described as being ‘the radical middle’ placed between conservative evangelicals and Pentecostals, and is characterised by its informality and relaxed style.
The first Vineyard Church started with Kenn Gulliksen in early 1975 in Beverly Hills, California. However, in 1982 John Wimber was given leadership by Gulliksen beginning Wimber’s leadership of the Vineyard movement. In 1995 the first Vineyard churches commenced in Australia, in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane.
Christian practice within the Vineyard denomination has been largely moulded by an understanding of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God here on earth now which will be fully realised when Jesus returns as King. Emphasis on this theological perspective has motivated those in the Vineyard to expect God’s rule to break-in to our present time and therefore confidently pray for healing, deliverance, miracles, expecting signs and wonders to occur. Understanding the Holy Spirit is another emphasis in the Vineyard which considers the person and work of the Holy Spirit to fill, empower, and lead us at all times. Thirdly, knowing the words and works of Jesus Christ, which we are now invited to join, is also key. It is this invitation and the empowerment and guidance of the Holy Spirit that fuels a common catch cry of the Vineyard that ‘we all get to play’. That is, we all get to be involved in the extending and proclaiming of the Kingdom of God, His generous rule and reign, here and now on earth.
Characteristics of the Vineyard
John Wimber set out a list of values, a ‘Genetic Code’ that he expected all Vineyard churches to display.