The Vineyard Story
The Vineyard story is about ordinary people who worship and serve an extraordinary God. The Vineyard is simply one thread in the rich tapestry of the historic and global Church, but it is a thread of God's weaving.
From the beginning, Vineyard pastors and leaders have sought to hold to the authority of the Bible and the doctrines of the Christian faith, as well as being in ardent pursuit of the present day work and leading of Jesus through the Spirit of God. Maintaining that balance is never easy in the midst of rapid growth and renewal.
The following video will give you a small taste of our story from some of those who have lived it. Below the video, you will find more details on the path along which God has guided our Vineyard family.
The Formative Years
The first Vineyards were planted in 1975. By 1982, there were at least seven “Vineyards” in a loose-knit fellowship of churches. Kenn Gulliksen, a soft-spoken, non-assuming leader who had a passion to know and walk with God, started a church in Hollywood in 1974. In 1975 he, believing that God had instructed him to do so, gave the name “Vineyard” to this association of churches and provided leadership for these churches for about five years. In the early eighties, Kenn felt led to ask John Wimber to assume leadership for the emerging movement. The official recognition of this transition took place in 1982, and thus, the emergence of what was to be called, “The Association of Vineyard Churches.”
Today, almost 40 years later, there are more than 1,500 Vineyard churches worldwide, 550+ in the US, with 16 regions actively planting churches across the country. Vineyard worship songs, documented by Vineyard Worship, have helped thousands of churches experience intimacy with God. Many churches have been equipped to continue Jesus' ministry of proclaiming the kingdom, demonstrating the kingdom, and training disciples.
The Vineyard's journey has not been a straight path. It winds through many trials and triumphs. If you are interested in more, there are a number of books and DVDs available from Vineyard Resources that explore the history, events, issues and people who shaped the Vineyard in its first two decades.
Current National Leadership
The leadership structure of Vineyard USA is designed to serve our local churches, across the nation, in becoming all that God has designed them to be. Our National Director, along with our Executive Team, Regional Leaders (RLs), and Area Pastors (APs) are committed to seeing our Vineyard core values embodied in local church pastors, leaders, and communities across the country. Our decentralized approach to leadership keeps us agile and flexible as the Vineyard Movement seeks to reach a changing world with a living Gospel.
The Executive Team of Vineyard USA is made up of leaders who bring influence and guidance to various aspects of our ministry development. Covering areas such as Church Planting, Missions, Small Church Development, Large Church Coaching, Regional Leader Coaching, Communications, Spiritual Formation, Women, Ethnic Diversity, Finances, Strategy, Education, Children, Youth, Young Adults, and Loving Your City, the Executive Team works with the National Director and National Coordinator to see Vineyard USA strengthened from within.
For more information, check out the Vineyard USA website.
Great River Vineyard's Story
God began planting a vision for the Great River Vineyard inside the founding pastors, Wade and Lynne Wilson, during the summer of 2005. Two years later, the Wilsons packed up their lives in Rolla, Missouri and moved to La Crosse with a small team of people to join God in starting this church. Wade served nine years as the senior pastor of the Rolla Vineyard, and he is thankful for the continued love and support of this sending church. Wade and Lynne stepped down as Lead Pastors in 2015 because they felt God call them to invite Wes and Lesley Patterson to assume leadership of Great River Vineyard. They are still very much a part of GRV and plan to be for many years to come as they continue to serve God and equip others to do what they are for.
Wes and Lesley arrived here in 2015 with their three children (Gwyneth, Oscar, and Everett) after living in Ireland and working in Belfast City Vineyard Church for 7 years. They thoroughly enjoyed their time spent overseas but were equally excited to move back to the Midwest, where they were born and raised. They absolutely love La Crosse and leading Great River Vineyard Church, where they are passionate about becoming a community filled with people that love God, love people, and change this region with the love and compassion of Jesus.