The Quest for the Radical Middle in New Zealand. The Vineyard movement originated in the United States in 1974, with the first Vineyard church growing rapidly and attracting a wide range of mostly young people with a desire to know, experience and share their faith in God. Growth was rapid and several other Vineyard churches were planted in California, with priorities of fostering worship, evangelism, relationships, healing, training and church planting.
In 1982, John Wimber and several other pastors led their existing churches into Vineyard as their visions were complementary and before long John became leader of the movement. Initially, Vineyard restricted its church-planting thrust to North America, limiting its operation in other countries to renewal conferences and training. However, Vineyard has now recognised a clear call to plant churches throughout the world, including New Zealand.
Vineyard’s first impact in New Zealand came when John Wimber held the “Signs, Wonders and Church Growth” conference in 1986, which had a significant effect on many denominations in this country. It provided an alternative theology and practice for healing and other Holy Spirit-empowered works through the emphasis on Kingdom theology and “doing what you see the Father doing” . Vineyard churches in New Zealand were launched in March 1995 when the 10 New Zealand Harvest Christian Centres became Vineyard Christian Fellowships.
Harvest had been styled on the purposes, values and priorities of Vineyard churches since its inception in 1989, but had not been given permission to use the Vineyard name, nor formally be part of the movement. The first Harvest Christian Centre was planted in Mahurangi in October 1989 by Lloyd & Victoria Rankin, and quickly grew and was instrumental in the planting of the next nine Harvest churches.
The Vineyard Churches of Aotearoa now have 30 churches and more church plants coming from Mahurangi in the north to Dunedin in the south.
We are committed to taking our place in the Church in New Zealand and the world, to fulfil the calling God has given us as a “tribe” within the family of God, to bring our flavour to the whole and in so doing enrich the Church and be enriched by the Church.