The very first Vineyard congregation was born in the middle of the Hippie Revival in California U.S.A. in 1974. Ken and Joan Gulliksen, who noticed that the Hippies who had come to know Jesus didn’t fit in in the traditional congregations, formed a congregation which didn’t emphasise a certain dresscode and used rock music in their meetings. The name of the congregation, ’Vineyard’, refers to Jesus’ story of the Kingdom of Heavens, which employees he compares to the workers of a vineyard.
John Wimber is thought of as the father of the Vineyard movement as the movement grew world-wide during his time. The movement also became known for its blessing attitude towards other denominations, its worship songs and the healing of sicknesses through prayer. John Wimber died in 1997. Vineyard has not had a single leader since but the movement has been divided into nine geographical areas (such as the Nordic countries, German speaking Europe etc.) which operate independently. At this point in time there is one Vineyard church in Finland, the Helsinki Vineyard which is a part of Vineyard Norden. Vineyard Uusimaa is church plant of Helsinki Vineyard. Today Vineyard is focused on reaching people alienated from Christianity. Vineyard is one of the fastest growing denominations – there are over 1600 congregations in 83 countries and 21 congregations in the area of the Nordic countries. The “Genetic Code” of the Vineyard The following things can be called the Genetic Code of Vineyard as it is through them that the different Vineyard congregations can be identified as one family. The typical features of the Vineyard are:
- Clear, accurate, Biblical teaching
- Contemporary worship in the freedom of the Holy Spirit
- The gifts of the Holy Spirit in operation
- An active small group ministry
- Ministry to the poor, widows, orphans and those who are broken
- Physical healing with emphasis on signs and wonders as seen in the book of Acts
- A commitment to missions – church planting at home and world missions abroad
- Unity within the whole body of Christ; a relationship with other local churches
- Evangelistic outreach
- Equipping the saints in areas such as discipleship, ministry, serving, giving, finances, family, etc.