When John Wimber died in 1997, he left behind a movement with hundreds of churches (in fact, they’re over 1500 now) that strived for the radical middle between evangelical faithfulness and charismatic power. The Vineyard movement was here to stay. Unfortunately, parts of the movement has walked away from the charismatic theology that John introduced. But Christy Wimber, John’s daughter in law, fight the good fight to keep the Holy Spirit in the centre of the Vineyard. This is an excerpt of an awesome text she has written.
I have been in service after service throughout the world these past few years where miracles are taking place and the response of the people is one of surprise, not expectation. In fact, I heard a Vineyard pastor say not that long ago that he didn’t really know John, and his model and influence comes from a different Movement. He in fact said he doesn’t particularly like the whole signs and wonders part. And I know this Movement that’s influencing him doesn’t move in the gifts.
That’s fine to me, except it left me wondering as to why he is a pastor and leader in the Vineyard Movement? What is happening now in the Vineyard that he signed up for and bought into?
Isn’t the defining reason as to why the Vineyard was asked to leave another church Movement [in fact a few] was due to the Holy Spirit moving? If we stayed ‘seeker sensitive’ there would have been no reason for the Vineyard to be birthed.
I’m not against seeker sensitive models; I just don’t get where it fits in the Vineyard. That model is so opposite of how we began. We’re pioneers doing Kingdom stuff. And Kingdom ministry is messy. And in the long run I wonder if we aren’t calling people to die to themselves, but rather to a convenient Christianity? Are we actually doing a disservice because we aren’t showing people the high cost of following Jesus? I’m afraid we may not be equipping people to learn what it means to sacrifice. Jesus wasn’t a car salesman; He told people upfront they would lose their family and friends and people will hate them. What’s comfortable about that?
Remember, were called to make disciples, not Christians. It’s a death sentence.
[…] Kingdom people move in signs and wonders. We are a signs and wonders Movement. Not that we were, but that we are. In fact, I heard recently that at another Vineyard leaders conference is where a pastor said he came in after the signs and wonders. After?
Remember, as believer’s signs follow us. It’s just a matter of what signs are following. We are anointed to release the oppressed and those in captivity; this is what we’re anointed for; the great calling of Isaiah 61 and Luke 4, but anointing is for a purpose.
When God says were anointed its because its unto something. It’s power for a purpose. And there is no freedom without power. If you don’t use the anointing for the purposes of God you lose the anointing. So what’s our purpose? Hasn’t it always been for God’s Kingdom to break through in all kinds of ways including signs and wonders?
We are naturally supernatural people. John said that to us over and over and over again. Seems like some people held onto the natural but have forgotten the supernatural part. We have always believed that were in a time of the already and the not yet; between the cross and the second coming of Christ. However it seems to me we’ve landed more in the belief of the not yet rather than the already. And I’ll tell you this, if you were sick you definitely wouldn’t want a ‘not yet’ person to pray for you! You want someone that actually has the faith that you can be healed!
[…] We need to get back to looking at the anointing rather than the resume. Just as we all have personal gift-mixes that God anoints us for; I believe He also anoints Movements. If you look all through church history God put His hand on various people, anointing them for certain tasks, it’s no different I believe with the Vineyard.
We’re in a time of the already and the not yet. I don’t think I have heard that Todd Hunter left the Wheeling, WV Vineyard in the 80s.
When I left Wheeling in 1990, I spent years looking for a church that would measure up to old time Vineyard. I have never found such a church. I have prayed for a new way and a new place to be able to use my ministry gifts and I have yet to find one. I have been told that perhaps those gifts were just for that season. I was a part of the vineyard from 1981 through 1990. I’ve been given words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophetic words, I have prayed for people who came to know Christ. I have prayed for people who have received healing. I don’t really believe that those gifts were simply for a 15-25 year old.
Hie Marcie, you not alone to be told that maybe gifts were for that time. One pastor told me that we are not John Wimber. I feel the pain and my prayer is revival in Vineyard churches and takes man who are willing like John to stand up.
[…] As I’ve spoken to friends about this many have pointed out that this is the usual course of events: revival strikes, people gather around on the blazing cross, a generation passes, their kids think it’s boring, and so revival ceases and has to stir up somewhere else. And yes, I am aware that this is a common pattern. This very thing has happened in the Vineyard, where signs and wonders once used to be normal but nowadays are exotic and sometimes even unwanted. Christy Wimber, the daughter-in-law of Vineyard founder John Wimber, wrote a few years ago: […]
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Thank you Christy for this article. I wonder if Vineyard still believe in that,Its now on paper and not in practise. The reason I came across this article was to find distinctions of the Vineyard, and seems we have wandered away from from our roots as a movement.