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 18 churches and church plants from Mahurangi in the north to Invercargill 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.
Vineyard churches typically emphasise
The centrality of Christ
Mercy, compassion and grace
Concern for the poor
Prayer for the sick
Respect for the whole Church
The history of the development of Vineyard Churches in New Zealand
John Wimber’s first visit in 1986 made a profound impact on Lloyd Rankin, who felt he had met his “tribe”.
He continued to pastor the church he and his wife Victoria had planted, but felt that at some point they were to plant a new church – a Vineyard church.
Although John had made it clear that they were not going to plant Vineyard churches in New Zealand, something was planted in Lloyd’s heart at that first conference and he began a relationship with John and the Vineyard Movement in the USA.
In October 1989, Lloyd & Victoria, along with a handful of friends left the church they had planted and began to meet and pray in their home in Snells Beach (a small beach community an hour north of Auckland). What began as an attempt to develop a group of people who loved God, loved each other, and loved and were committed to Jesus’ mission, quickly outgrew the Rankins’ lounge and became Mahurangi Harvest Christian Centre – a Vineyard in all but name. Within a year, Harvest had grown to five churches.
In 1995, John Wimber, true to his promise of not planting churches in New Zealand, received the then 10 Harvest churches as Vineyards.
The Vineyard in New Zealand continues to plant churches and play its part in the international development of Vineyard movement.