Restoring the Prophetic to the Vineyard

This week I got to talk with a couple of amazing people. I’m sure many of those conversations will make it onto this blog, but I want to focus on one story first.

One of the conversations I had this past week was with two people who attended John Wimber’s church in Anaheim, CA back in 1994. Vineyard history is a passion of mine, so I asked them to tell me their story. I also had a few specific questions for them, namely “what happened to the Vineyard after John died?” and “why have signs and wonders (the hallmarks of the Vineyard movement) all but died out?” In turn, they told me this story.

Back in the heyday of the Vineyard movement, God was pouring out tremendous blessings upon hungry people. This “Third Great Awakening” was totally foreign to the people of the time. Spontaneous healings and conversions were the norm as God visited His people. During this time, there was a huge surge in the prophetic. As God was restoring the five-fold ministry to the Church, prophets began arriving on scene, speaking the words of God with incredible power and accuracy. People were cut to the core hearing these people speak and thousands gave their lives to the Lord.

With multitudes of hungry, desperate people who were new to the faith and untrained in the Bible, the stage was set for goofy things to happen and, unfortunately, they did. Immature expressions of the Holy Spirit were broadcast around the globe by other Christians looking to criticize. This onslaught of criticism caused many in the Vineyard to reconsider their direction. John Wimber decided the excesses were too much and pulled back, abandoning the prophetic movement to its own devices. Many prophets were expelled from the Vineyard and went their own way. This was when things began to deteriorate.

The criticism didn’t stop and the movement was no longer in step with the Spirit. Churches continued to be planted, but without the power and passion that had been the norm a few years earlier. The Vineyard began to develop models and systems to cover up the lack of power. Leadership changed hands due to John’s failing health and tiredness and that change brought about a shift in focus.

During the time just before John’s death, John Paul Jackson, one of the prophets that was kicked out of the Vineyard visited John Wimber. As they talked and prayed, Wimber said to Jackson, “I’ve made a mistake and if I get up off of this bed, I am going to restore the prophetic to the Vineyard.” Sadly for us here below, John didn’t get up, but went to be with God.

When I heard that story, I was rocked to the core. It confirmed in my spirit many of the things God has been speaking to me, namely the need for reconciliation between then prophetic and Vineyard movements and the need of repentance in the Vineyard for quenching the Spirit. Were the manifestations that caused the drawback immature and potentially invalid? Sure, but rather than pastoring them and bringing in a biblical foundation, they were abandoned and condemned. In doing so, we dishonored the prophetic and the Spirit and if we are going to take back our rightful inheritance then we need to make things right.

It is my hope and prayer that we, the Vineyard, will repent and take to heart the story above. The Vineyard needs the prophetic/prayer movement and vice versa. The Vineyard is a renewal (signs, wonders and worship) movement that belongs to the Church Universal, not a franchise looking to trade anointing for cash. To the extent we can repent we can reclaim our identity and inheritance. To the extent we stubbornly refuse we will wither and, eventually, die.


6 thoughts on “Restoring the Prophetic to the Vineyard”

  1. Bro i am cut to the core at the words you have spoken, i love you and your prophetic voice. Because i know you and your heart personally as you served as my “right hand man” and in house shepherd, i know these words carry the heart of the good shepherd. I look forward to the time when we minister together.

  2. Dear Heavenly Father,
    As part of Vineyard Community Church I repent the sins of the past church. I would love for signs and wonders to come back to Vineyard as well as the prophetic. Please let the Holy Spirit free in our church once again.
    In Jesus Name,

  3. God has gifted you with words which exactly express the feelings in my heart for the past 6+ years. God Bless! I want to share three quotations:

    “In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers that confront the coming century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and Heaven without hell.”-General William Booth, 1890’s, founder of Salvation Army

    “Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that really don’t matter.”- Tim Kizziar

    “We can teach people how to hear God and have their questions and longing answered by Him or we give people all the answers and take away their need for a relationship with Holy Spirit. False teachers think they have all the answers which consequently causes people to stop searching for the depths of God. It’s the Spirit that leads us into all truth.” Kris Vallotton

    When a cookie-cutter approach to Kingdom blessing is generated, rather than seeking His presence above all else, the Church becomes full of empty vessels. My prayer is that the Vineyard movement embraces forgiveness for early and current leadership decisions, and return to an assembly of people seeking Father God above all else, and moving in all Gifts God gives.

  4. Paul shared Godly wisdom with the church at Thessalonica on this question, didn’t he ? 1Thess. 5: “16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.”
    I think Paul is warning the church to avoid the two polar extremes of utter contempt and unquestioning acceptance, isn’t he? We are, instead, to “hold on to what is good.”

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