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What Is Vineyard?
The first Vineyard church was 'planted' (started from scratch) by Ken Gullickson in 1974. The name came from Isaiah 27:2 "Sing about a fruitful vineyard: I, the LORD, watch over it; I water it continually. I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it."
Within a few years Ken had 4 or 5 Vineyard Churches on his hands & didn't know how to develop them. So he asked in John Wimber to take over - John had also been planting churches in the Los Angeles area. The Vineyard spread rapidly across N America & then into S Africa & UK. The appeal was a different style of church, which was aimed at people who had no previous experience of going to church.
John Wimber had been a musician, and described himself as a fourth generation pagan, knowing nothing about Jesus or the Bible - 'I didn't even know God had a book out!' So he started churches that his musician friends would feel at home in, and where the cultural barriers had been removed so that people could easily meet with God.
When Wimber first visited the UK it was just to do renewal meetings at first. It was years later that the first Vineyard church was planted in the UK, by John & Eleanor Mumford in SW London. Soon 3 other Vineyards had been planted in London, St Albans and Manchester. There are now more than 1,500 Vineyard churches in over 100 countries, and about 115 Vineyard churches in the British Isles.
Oxford Vineyard was planted in April 1992 from the SW London Vineyard by Andrew & Mandy Myatt. We started with a Key Group (a mid-week meeting in our home, to worship, minister and build relationship), a prayer meeting and a monthly outreach event. God gathered people, so we started more groups. When there were 3 Key Groups we also met at the weekend once a month. After 2.5 years we started weekly Sunday meetings with Kids work.
To understand more about what’s important in Vineyard practice and beliefs, we’d recommend the book Empowered Evangelicals, by Rich Nathan and Ken Wilson, which explains how it differs from classic pentecostalism.