I miss the Vineyard

September 21, 2008

Kay & I first encountered Vineyard ideas around 1989 through books passed around a little ad-hoc group of missionaries in Japan desperately seeking God’s presence. When we moved to the United States in 1991, we found a Vineyard church. I remember the excitement of learning that they actually had classes on how to pray for healing.

From 1991 to 2006, we were active in a few different Vineyard churches. And this year, the Vineyard movement celebrates 25 years, so Kay & I have been mixed up with this strange group for a good chunk of its history. Here’s an 18-minute video that does a nice job of capturing the heart of this movement:

There used to be several Vineyards in San Jose. Today, that number is zero. But we’re still Vineyard people at heart.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

11 responses to I miss the Vineyard

  1. We’ve been in Vineyard churches since ’89… I walked off the plane from Germany, got handed a bunch of worship tapes by the guy with whom we were staying, and told “by the way, you are our new worship leader…” Been there ever since. This is our 4th Vineyard, not to mention several we’ve visited. It’s so weird to think there isn’t a Vineyard in San Jose any more…

  2. “desperately seeking God’s presence” … it’s funny you posted this because i’m in a class about the theology and practice of worship right now and i frequently think of you and kay as i sit in class and/or read the books assigned. anyhow, i just wanted to say that it’s sad there aren’t vineyard churches in the area anymore because so much of what people want/need now is to experience god’s presence. one day i hope to be a part of a church with that focus.

  3. Keith, thanks. I know that getting “official” is just an initial step for you guys, but I’m proud of ya.
    I’m also frankly surprised that the Vineyard seems to have loosened its church plant requirements. I don’t mean, “Look at the Seckels — they’ll take anybody!” 😀 I mean giving you guys the freedom to pursue alternative models.

  4. Birgit, that’s funny! (Meaning, I’m laughing.)
    And, that’s funny. (Meaning, isn’t it odd?)

  5. Frances, the funny thing was that during our stint in Japan, we weren’t seeking God’s presence because we wanted some kind of vibe or fuzzy feelings down our spine. We were desperate: “Why won’t you save people? Why won’t you heal and deliver people? No matter how hard we try, we can’t do any of these things without you!”
    As much as the immediacy of his presence is something I treasure, I am afraid that it has become trendy to invoke it for the sake of the heebie-jeebies, not for the sake of God’s mission. Worship and mission are intertwined. It’s kind of like what I just read in Exiles by Michael Frost: “We find happiness as an incidental by-product of pursuing love, justice, hospitality and generosity. When you aim for happiness, you are bound to miss it. Likewise with community.” And perhaps, likewise with spiritual power and experiencing the presence of God.
    Kay & I talk of you.

  6. Jon-
    I’ve been with the Vineyard since 1990, and our wonderful pastor was mentored by John Wimber and they were very good friends.
    Raised as a Lutheran, like Linda Kay, I saw the power of God in a way that I never could have conceived. The same power which raised Jesus from the dead still is here today. I saw women delivered from years of oppressive spiritual bondage -set free by the awesome power of God. Until I joined the Vineyard, I had no concept that God was at work in such an amazing way.
    I traveled with our church to Australia, for a ministry trip. Incredible! John usually travelled with us, but in 1996 he was too ill to go. I would have loved to have seen him at work!
    Our church is going through some very hard times right now, and our pastor is under great spiritual attack. We are all praying that God’s will would be done in all of this. The worship is incredible and so intimate, even in the midst of this crisis. I love the song “Blessed be the Name of the Lord” because it so fits where we are right now.
    I love the Vineyard, because the folks there, the worship, the ministry, the prayers – literally saved my life.

  7. Oh man…me too (missing the Vineyard that is). I came relatively late to the Vineyard (1996). At that time it was still under Wimber’s watch and I learned MUCH. I visited a Vineyard church down the street from us…but it’s not the same. It’s basically pretty…uhmmm…stuffy and watered down. Which can happen in any association or groupings of churches. But I do miss the classic Vineyard age. It was so free and uninhibited…y’know?

  8. I should add though that my wife went to Anaheim Vineyard way in the 80’s when the movement was new. She sat under Wimber’s teaching directly. That’s actually how I got involved in the Vineyard in SoCal. At that time there was a guy on the radio (who I think is still on the radio to this day) spewing a lot of really untrue, slanderous stuff about the Vineyard. And I (not knowing better) was influenced by it. That is until Deb introduced me to the Vineyard and I learned first hand how AWESOME it was!!! Now, I’m in VERY Southern Baptisty North Texas where the frozen chosen syndrome is alive and well. I should hasten to say that this does NOT characterize all the churches here (nor even all the Southern Baptist churches). But there is a general distrust of freedom in the Spirit here that I have observed. Again, I DO miss the Vineyard.

  9. Wow, no Vineyards left in San Jose. Interesting. David was in a Vineyard in Rhode Island, which I also visited with him, then we were a part of one in Massachusetts which turned into a Calvary Chapel, then one in Illinois (don’t know if it’s still there), then the one we were in together in San Jose, which obviously has now moved on from Vineyardicity. Since then, in France we were in the only English-speaking church in town, a little independent Bible Chapel; a Baptist church in England with great openness to the Spirit’s healing and speaking gifts; and now another small, independent Bible fellowship in Switzerland. Yes, I miss the Vineyard, too.
    But we’re happy our son Jason has started playing drums with the worship team here! That’s exciting. And I’ve been going on prayer walks in the Swiss hills with our pastor’s wife. God’s people are everywhere, doing things in different ways…we all need God so much.

  10. 🙂 I miss being in contact with the larger Vineyard movement, but our church is so much like the Vineyard, I don’t miss it, that way. I’ve reconnected with old friends from the Evanston Vineyard on Facebook, so that has been really fun. I also get Cutting Edge which is their church planting magazine. So I’m content. (Will I ever convince you to come visit, Jon?)