© 2019 Vineyard South Africa

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HISTORY of the
VINEYARD MOVEMENT
 

Kenn Gulliksen was one of many thousands of young people who came to faith in Jesus Christ in California during what Time magazine called “The Jesus Revolution”, or “Jesus People Revival”, in the late 1960’s. 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 his wife Joannie 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. In the next few years literally thousands received Jesus Christ through the ministries of the church. Several couples went out and began other Vineyards in California: quickly growing churches with priorities of worship, relationship, healing, training and giving.

John Wimber became a part of the fledgling group of new churches, and by 1981 it soon became 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 most Christian denominations and pastors in the USA, many denominations, notably the Church of England in the UK, Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, Latin America, and the South Pacific. Many of these relationships developed through the personal ministry of John Wimber, others through various local Vineyard churches and leaders. In 1982, John Wimber visited South Africa for the third time, having received a clear word from the Lord to facilitate the planting of a church in Johannesburg. 

The Parkview VCF was planted in October 1982, and since then the movement in South Africa has grown to about 50 churches and church plants in progress, which are connected through a formal body called the Association of Vineyard Churches, which was “released” as an autonomous body in the international movement in April 1997. Vineyard 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), and a Region is overseen by a Regional Overseer (R.O.). The Board of AVC (SA) is also responsible for the oversight of missions activities in the 22 African nations in which we are currently involved. In 2017 there were an estimated 2400 Vineyard churches world wide in more than 90 countries, of which 12 have been “released” as autonomous movements.

Our international Vineyard family in all these nations is connected through a high priority for relationship, mutual support, and shared values. Our National Directors work together through what is called the Vineyard International Executive (VIE). John and Eleanor Mumford of the UK serve as Coordinators for VIE, and provide support to the shared leadership and decision-making of our growing group of national leaders who lead the “released” nations or groups in the Vineyard family. God however, has shown us not to seek to build the Vineyard, but instead to seek His Kingdom and let Him 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 both His character and ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit. Our plan is to seek God and to co-operate with Him as He reveals Himself in the process.

STATEMENT of FAITH
 

WE BELIEVE that God is the Eternal King. He is an infinite, unchangeable Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, goodness, justice, power and love. From all eternity He exists as the One Living and True God in three persons of one substance, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, equal in power and glory.

WE BELIEVE that God’s Kingdom is everlasting. From His throne, through His Son, His eternal Word, God created, upholds and governs all that exists: the heavenly places, the angelic hosts, the universe, the earth, every living thing and mankind. God created all things very good.

WE BELIEVE that Satan, originally a great, good angel, rebelled against God, taking a host of angels with him. He was cast out of God’s presence and, as a usurper of God’s rule established a counter-kingdom of darkness and evil on the earth.

WE BELIEVE that God created mankind in His image, male and female, for relationship with Himself and to govern the earth. Under the temptation of Satan, our original parents fell from grace, bringing sin, sickness and God’s judgement of death to the earth. Through the fall, Satan and his demonic hosts gained access to God’s good creation. Creation now experiences the consequences and effects of Adam’s original sin. Human beings are born in sin, subject to God’s judgement of death and captive to Satan’s kingdom of darkness.

WE BELIEVE that God did not abandon His rule over the earth which He continues to uphold by His providence. In order to bring redemption, God established covenants which revealed His grace to sinful people. In the covenant with Abraham, God bound Himself to His people Israel, promising to deliver them from bondage to sin and Satan and to bless all the nations through them.

WE BELIEVE that as King, God later redeemed His people by His mighty acts from bondage in Egypt and established His covenant through Moses, revealing His perfect will and our obligation to fulfill it. The law’s purpose is to order our fallen race and to make us conscious of our moral responsibility. By the work of God’s Spirit, it convicts us of our sin and God’s righteous judgement against us and brings us to Christ alone for salvation.

WE BELIEVE that when Israel rejected God’s rule over her as King, God established the monarchy in Israel and made an unconditional covenant with David, promising that his heir would restore God’s kingdom reign over His people as Messiah forever.

WE BELIEVE that in the fullness of time, God honoured His covenants with Israel and His prophetic promises of salvation by sending His only Son, Jesus, into the world. Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, as fully God and fully man in one person, He is humanity as God intended us to be. Jesus was anointed as God’s Messiah and empowered by the Holy Spirit, inaugurating God’s kingdom reign on earth, overpowering the reign of Satan by resisting temptation, preaching the good news of salvation, healing the sick, casting out demons and raising the dead. Gathering His disciples, He reconstituted God’s people as His Church to be the instrument of His kingdom. After dying for the sins of the world, Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day, fulfilling the covenant of blessing given to Abraham. In His sinless, perfect life Jesus met the demands of the law and in His atoning death on the cross He took God’s judgement for sin which we deserve as law-breakers. By His death on the cross He also disarmed the demonic powers. The covenant with David was fulfilled in Jesus’ birth from David’s house, His Messianic ministry, His glorious resurrection from the dead, His ascent into heaven and His present rule at the right hand of the Father. As God’s Son and David’s heir, He is the eternal Messiah-King, advancing God’s reign throughout every generation and throughout the whole earth today.

WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Church at Pentecost in power, baptizing believers into the Body of Christ and releasing the gifts of the Spirit to them. The Spirit brings the permanent indwelling presence of God to us for spiritual worship, personal sanctification, building up the Church, gifting us for ministry, and driving back the kingdom of Satan by evangelisation of the world through proclaiming the word of Jesus and doing the works of Jesus.

We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ and that He is our abiding Helper, Teacher, and Guide. We believe in the filling or empowering of the Holy Spirit, often a conscious experience, for ministry today. We believe in the present ministry of the Spirit and in the exercise of all the biblical gifts of the Spirit. We practice the laying on of hands for the empowering of the Spirit, for heading, and for recognition and empowering of those whom God has ordained to lead and serve the Church.

WE BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of Holy Scripture so than the Bible is without error in the original manuscripts. We receive the sixty six books of the Old and New Testaments as our final, absolute authority, the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

We believe that the whole world is under the domination of Satan and that all people are sinners by nature and choice. All people therefore are under God’s just judgement. Through the preaching of the Good News of Jesus and the Kingdom God and the work of the Holy Spirit, God regenerates, justifies, adopts and sanctifies through Jesus by the Spirit all who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. By this they are released from Satan’s domain and enter into God’s kingdom reign.

WE BELIEVE in the one, holy, universal Church. All who repent of their sins and confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and form the living Body of Christ, of which He is the head and of which we are all members.

WE BELIEVE that Jesus Christ committed two ordinances to the Church: water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Both are available to all believers.

WE BELIEVE that God’s kingdom has come in the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, that it continues to come in the ministry of the Spirit through the Church, and that it will be consummated in the glorious, visible and triumphant appearing of Christ – His return to the earth as King. After Christ returns to reign, He will bring about the final defeat of Satan and all of his minions and works, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgement and the eternal blessing of the righteous and eternal conscious punishment of the wicked. Finally, God will be all in all and His kingdom, His rule and reign, will be fulfilled in the new heavens and the new earth, recreated by His mighty power, in which righteousness dwells and in which He will forever be worshipped.

VINEYARD DISTINCTIVES
 

While there is a unique identity in every local Vineyard church, and healthy diversity of style, missional focus and way of pursuing mission, there are distinctives present in every one of our churches, like the strands of DNA that make Vineyard churches into a family. We use the expression: “Vineyard is not something you join – it’s something you discover you are.” The distinctives that will be common among us include:

  • The Bible being taught as the Word of God with application to daily life.

  • A focus on and ongoing ministry to the poor, including materially poor, homeless, widows, orphans and divorced people.

  • A strong outward focus and relevant forms of evangelism being pursued, by presence, proclamation, power and persuasion.

  • A strong emphasis on healing in all forms, with focus on inviting God’s power, signs and wonders without hype or manipulation.

  • Small group life for the development of close fellowship, spiritual growth, discipleship and mutual care.

  • Effective training and equipping of every member of the church to do works of ministry.

  • Involvement and interaction with other churches to express and further inter-church unity.

  • Intimate, real and relevant worship through the use of contemporary worship songs, giving and the sacraments.

  • The encouragement and exercising of spiritual gifts when we are gathered and in the marketplaces of our lives when we are not.

  • Engagement in missions, domestic & foreign, especially in the form of Church Planting

VINEYARD CORE VALUES
 

Our values define the “why” for what we do and how we do it. They form our treasure chest of non-negotiables, or the foundations of our structures. They are the standards to which we will hold ourselves accountable, and the blueprint that shapes the outcome of our ministry:

  • We value a proper approach to the Bible

  • We value Jesus Christ as the Head and the Holy Spirit as the Administrator of the Church

  • We value relationships as primary, respecting one another as responsible adults

  • We value the dignity of the individual balanced by the centrality of family

  • We value the ministry of the Kingdom of God as healing and mercy

  • We value an approach to the Christian life that is wholistic, balanced and integrated, where every aspect of life is to be redeemed, restored and integrated around Christ as Lord and King

  • We value healthy, real reconciliation in Christ between all categories of human individuals and groups who are estranged from one another