In Defense Of Vineyard Anaheim’s Choice To Disassociate From Vineyard USA

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Let me start off by saying that ministry is messy. Nobody except Jesus has ever done it perfectly. So when I share my views on Anaheim Vineyard’s decision to leave Vineyard USA understand that I am not pointing fingers at imperfect people. I am only relating my views as I see them in the context of my own experience.

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Also, in the effort to be transparent in my views on this, the reader should know that I am a former Vineyard pastor. I spent 10 years loving and serving Vineyard people. I left quietly and without animosity. After I resigned from my pastorate at Mid Penninsula Vineyard Christian Church in San Carlos, I moved to Mesquite Nevada, and planted a church that we did not affiliate with Vineyard USA. Thus my reasons for leaving obviously shade my perspective on this whole situation.

I became aware of the Vineyard Movement in 1982 when I attended the North Hollywood Vineyard. The next year John Wimber came to L.I.F.E. Bible College and spoke to the students at the chapel service. There was an amazing move of God’s Spirit during that service that was rarely seen at the school anymore. (It was the school that Aimee Semple McPherson founded.)

In 1985 I attended the Signs and Wonders Conference at the Anaheim Vineyard. This was a fundamentally transformative experience in my life that set me in a direction that I have been on since. Although I did not serve in the Vineyard in the early years of my life, (I served as a Foursquare pastor.) I thoroughly embraced the early Vineyard values and practice.

Over the years I pastored 3 Foursquare churches, 2 Vineyard churches and now have planted a church that is affiliated with Global Awakening. (Many of us call it Classic Vineyard.) So I definitely have a perspective that is experienced with the Vineyard movement.

in defense of vineyard anaheim's choice to disassociate from vineyard usa

The Elephant In The Living Room At Vineyard USA

When I first came into the Vineyard Movement, my area pastor was Terry Helseth. Terry was a long-time Vineyard Pastor who shepherded the pastors in Montana and Wyoming. He made a comment to me that has stuck with me to this day. He was speaking of the outgoing Vineyard USA National Director Berton Waggoner. He said that “Bert both saved and almost destroyed the Vineyard.”

I didn’t understand his meaning until much later. Bert kept the movement from dissolving which is where Todd Hunter was heading. Bert gave the Vineyard purpose and direction after the death of John Wimber. However, Berton was not a theological conservative. He came from a hardline pentecostal background in the Pentecostal Church of God.

The Pentecostal Church of God was primarily filled with uneducated people. Berton revealed by his reminiscing of those times in the PCofG and by his actions that he had made a vow never to be like them. Not totally a bad thing. I also have some roots in the PCofG. My uncle who mentored me for ministry was also part of the PCofG and although I learned some good things, I also learned a lot of what not to do. Unfortunately, it seems like Berton threw the baby out with the bathwater.

Berton promoted getting education through a theologically liberal seminary. He promoted people who were of the same mindset and asked numerous pastors who were theologically opposed and part of what I will call the “Holy Spirit Camp” to leave.

I remember Robby Dawkins telling me that Berton had requested him to come and see him and that Robby’s pastor/mentor advised him not to because Berton was getting ready to throw him out. That was near the end of Berton’s term as National Director.

When Phil Strout became National Director, those in the Holy Spirit Camp had high hopes that once again the Vineyard would embrace its roots. I remember the first National Conference under Phil. It was definitely Spirit-centric. We felt the boat was righting itself. Unfortunately, this did not end up being the case.

I believed, although I am not sure today that I was correct, that Phil was trying to bring the Vineyard back to a Spirit-centric orientation. Today I have to acknowledge the possibility that Phil was just trying to appease the Holy Spirit camp and give it more time before continuing on in the trajectory of turning the Vineyard into a theologically and politically liberal charismatic church. As oxymoronic as that sounds.

The reason I believe this is that it was announced that Happy and Dianne Leman was heading up a spiritual renewal committee and was going to be giving input into how the Vineyard can renew the fires that first started the movement. Nothing more was ever heard about this committee or its recommendations. Shortly afterward Happy and Dianne was removed from the Vineyard National Board along with several other seasoned Vineyard veterans and replaced with those from the younger generation that was more closely aligned with Berton’s values.

Phil also brought social justice causes to the forefront. But only those from a left-wing perspective. Immigration, CRT, and allowing those of us of Caucasian descent to be stereotyped as racists. This was done at the last conference I attended 4 or 5 years ago. The woman who had this viewpoint was again from Berton’s church and on his board.

In 2016 Phil signed on to a letter from many liberal denominations decrying the policies of then, President-elect Donald Trump. He signed on behalf of all the Vineyard Churches as the National Director of Vineyard USA. It was in my opinion, a virtue signal based on politics and not scripture. The Vineyard had never taken up the cause of immigration prior to that.

Finally, Phil led the way to another restructuring of Vineyard USA. In that restructuring, many people with concerning views and political leanings were put into leadership. Now the Vineyard is embroiled in conversations about race, CRT, deconstructionism, and other subjects that are in my opinion, not compatible with the original call and mandate given to the Vineyard when John Wimber was leading.

This brings us to the present day. The Vineyard has come from being a movement that teaches people how to hear the voice of God and follow that leading to one that “needs to have a conversation about how God speaks” according to the newly appointed National Director of Vineyard Jay Pathak in a video he recently released.

The elephant in the room that nobody has wanted to talk about for years is that as the Vineyard movement has walked away from its original core values and mandate and embraced cultural relativism, and that those in the Holy Spirit camp have been walking away for years.

Vineyard Aneheim’s Choice To Disassociate from Vineyard USA

Alan and Kathryn Scott are long-time Vineyard leaders. Alan has been part of the Vineyard all his adult life and Kathryn has led the Vineyard with great worship like “Breathe” and “Hungry” which were both featured on Vineyard Music CDs.

They have been the lead pastors of Vineyard Anaheim for 4 years. Since that time they have grown the church from 300 to 1,000 people. They have done this by returning to Vineyard Anaheim’s original values. Bringing the Kingdom of God to its community, signs and wonders, power evangelism, and waiting until the Holy Spirit would actually come in a tangible way, worship that was simple, reproducible, and heartfelt.

You can see this by their choice of staff. Jeremy Riddle as worship pastor with Matt Redmond assisting. Mark Marx is the outreach pastor and gifted in teaching power evangelism. He formerly started HOTS which means “Healing On The Streets.” They have also thrown away the 20-minute worship service and the fear of the Holy Spirit getting messy in their services. They have returned to teaching all that John Wimber taught in the beginning.

It does not look like they have left “Vineyard values or practice” instead it looks like they have returned to Vineyard values and practice.

The Scotts did not come in and take over. In the structure of Vineyard ecclesiology, the Scotts had the right to come and ask for the resignation of the entire board. They did not do that. They waited until the board finished out their terms, and then placed new people in those positions.

As a pastor, I can attest that this is normal in any pastoral transition. It is not nefarious in any way. In fact, John Wimber talked about the need for the pastor to be autonomous and not board ruled and that a church should not be board controlled.

The Scotts have remained honoring and affirming of the Vineyard movement, Vineyard USA, and the people in the Vineyard. They have followed the mantra of John Wimber when he said “my brother is never my enemy.”

The Vineyard is a voluntary association. The motive for an association is for accountability, a common mission, and greater influence in the world. Unfortunately, the area of common mission and possibly greater influence were removed when Vineyard USA transformed into something else than what it started out to be. At least that was the case in my life. So it no longer was a fit. I believe the same thing happened to Vineyard Anaheim.

Conclusion – Supporting Vineyard Anaheim

I pray that everyone that reads this will read it with open ears and a humble heart. In no way do I have any desire to wound or cast aspersions. As I mentioned earlier, I am no longer part of the Vineyard. I explained the reasons I left. I have never met Alan or Kathryn or any of the leadership at VA and I have not talked to any of the VUSA leadership for approximately 3 years. My last contact was with Bubba Justice when he invited me to the conference before last where Carol Wimber gave the leadership a prophetic word concerning “needing everyone.”

In the end, if Vineyard USA feels God is leading them in the direction they have been going, then they should be secure in that. They should also not desire churches that do not agree with that direction to stay with them. They should bless them and love them as they pursue what God has called them to do.

However, Vineyard USA should deal with the 1,000 lb elephant in their living room. They need to decide where they are going and stay there and quit trying to please both camps in their midst. That is a recipe for failure and the Holy Spirit camp will continue to leave one by one. In fact, when I was asked to pastor the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Pine Haven Wyoming, Vineyard USA had over 750 churches in the United States. Today according to their home page, they only have 500+ churches. That is a lot of one by one.

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works

Revelation 2:4-5b

Praying for all involved.

Pastor Duke Taber

In Addendum:

It has been 4 days since I published this. It has given me more time to reflect on all of this.

The first thing I considered is the question of why. Why would the Scotts want to leave Vineyard USA after decades of service to the Vineyard? And why would Vineyard USA cry foul about this disassociation vs. the hundreds of disassociations in the past? Including those with major property holdings?

So I attempted to put myself in both parties’ shoes.

When the Scotts came, they told the pastoral search committee that they loved the Vineyard and had no intentions of leaving. I believe that they felt that to be true. Although I have never interacted with Vineyard UK, I can imagine that it could be very different than Vineyard USA. I can also see the Scotts being naive that the two would be very similar. I think I would make the same mistake if I was in the same position. So I do not believe they were disingenuous, they just found themselves part of an association that they did not agree with. So they did not want to continue.

I then asked myself that if I found myself in a similar situation, what would I do? Personally, I made different choices when faced with the same dilemma. However, I can also understand not making the same choice as I did. If I had made a different choice, my next step would be to enter into discussions with the board on if we wanted to continue to affiliate with a group we did not agree with and could not follow. If we came to a consensus, then the next step would be to figure out how to lead the congregation through the process of transition.

I cannot say that this is where they were at. I don’t have any insider information. I did hear that they had chosen to try to make the disassociation quick and clean. There was no way to disassociate and not cause pain. So to make the pain as short-lived as possible, get it over with all at once. As much as that might sound good, I am not sure that method was realistic.

What I do know is that in the midst of the process of leading the church down the path of disassociation, it got messy. Shortly after Alan and Kathryn graciously allowed Global Awakening to rent their building for a Kingdom Foundations conference, Vineyard USA asked them to meet. According to Vineyard USA, they were going to ask Alan and Kathryn to be in some type of leadership role with the association. This put Alan and Kathryn in a very unenviable position. How do you say no to an offer of leadership in an association without explaining why? In all honesty, you can’t. So they shared that they were planning on leaving.

From what I understand, the conversation deteriorated from there.

I know from my own experience and what I have seen happen in the past when people have left the Vineyard or have been disfellowshipped from the Vineyard, I would not have trusted that they would stay silent. Just look at how this whole situation has been handled and how private communications have been leaked publicly.

I would have had only 1 choice. To send out a communication immediately stating what was going on and that the board had decided to disassociate. It would be messy but I would have felt I had no other choice.

And I would instruct my leaders and staff to stay quiet concerning the situation. Not to return vile accusation with accusation. I would instruct them in every way possible, to take the high road.

Then I asked myself why is Vineyard USA reacting to this disassociation differently than many others in the past? Although they badmouthed many of the leaders who left after the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship was disfellowshipped, there was not a cry about property values, nefarious schemes, or such. Neither did it happen when the Blue Ocean churches left. Why is Anaheim different?

I believe there are 3 things at work here. The first is that Vineyard USA has emotional ties to Anaheim and rightly so since it was the mother of the Vineyard movement. It feels like abandonment and in a certain sense, it is. Many parents have faced this decision in life. They have to make a choice to stop supporting their kids in directions that are not healthy or not right. They love their kids, but they cannot support where their kids are going.

For Vineyard Anaheim to do this is a major slap in the face to Vineyard USA. I can see why they would take exception to their leaving. Vineyard Anaheim leaving Vineyard USA is different than any other church that has left.

Secondly, Vineyard Anaheim leaving takes away Vineyard USA’s monument to John Wimber and his ministry. To many in Vineyard USA, Vineyard Anaheim is Mecca. The place where it all began. To take that away feels like their roots are being taken away.

I understand how that feels. When I left for Bible College, Easthill Church was my Mecca. When I returned, my pastor Jerry Cook was gone and the church had switched from being Spirit-centric to Seeker Sensitive. I had a great sense of loss. I had to come to understand that all of what Jerry Cook instilled into me was not tied to a facility, but to the principles. To this day I still live by what was instilled in me. They are my Mecca.

So too, Vineyard USA is experiencing a great sense of loss. But maybe this loss will also bring a sense of reality. Vineyard USA is not the Vineyard that John led and pastored at Anaheim or oversaw across the world. Those that want to live out the original Vineyard values can still do so, without a monument to a great leader.

Finally, Vineyard USA is facing the most serious crisis it has ever faced with the departure of Vineyard Anaheim. It has the potential to cause the association to crumble. I do not know how many churches that are Spirit-centric or conservative-leaning are left but I imagine it is still 30-40 percent of the association. Vineyard Anaheim leaving signals permission for the rest to leave. Everyone knows this.

It is imperative that Vineyard USA takes the high road in all of this as well. They cannot handle this departure the way they have handled many departures. If they do, it will destroy the association.

The vitriol, accusations, and blaming have to stop. They have to clearly speak their values. Who they are today. And lead with wisdom, peace, and gentleness.

If I may make a suggestion, I would suggest if I was in this situation either as the church leaving or the organization being left, that they enter into mediation. I would choose Alan Scott and Jeremy Riddle to represent Vineyard Anaheim. I would choose Jay Pathak and Carol Wimber to represent Vineyard USA. And I would choose 2 leaders outside of the Vineyard movement to be the mediators. I would choose Randy Clark and Thom Rainer or Ed Stetzer. This would give a Spirit-centric mediator and an Evangelical mediator that Vineyard USA would trust.

Hopefully, this would lead to an amicable departure where Vineyard USA can bless their departure and set a new precedent.

26 thoughts on “In Defense Of Vineyard Anaheim’s Choice To Disassociate From Vineyard USA”

  1. Wow, so good. All of this needed to be said, and you said it so well! My family and I left our Vineyard church during the lockdown in 2020, for all of the reasons you mentioned, and then some. It was heartbreaking, because we truly love the Pastor and his family, and am praying for them, and the church we loved for so many years.
    P.S. One of the things that really helped me during the lockdown was watching Robby Dawkins and Mario Murillo, when they went live every Sunday night!

    1. Thank you, Karen. I felt it needed to be said. Too many times has the Vineyard painted those who left, or who disagreed with their decisions in a bad light. The Scotts owned their part in badly communicating the decision to leave. I have yet to see the Vineyard own any part of why Anaheim would want to leave.

      I also watched Mario and Robby’s live streams. We opened back up in May of 2020 in civil disobedience. We were part of the lawsuit that was eventually won in Nevada. When Robby started telling leaders, including in the Vineyard to “Man up” he received a ton of flack and pushback. I do not know if he was asked to leave, or he voluntarily left, but I believe he is no longer part of the Vineyard. I could be wrong since I haven’t talked to him, but I believe that is the case.

      1. Duke, thanks for your article and your input because it does have a valid place in what’s going on. Right now Vineyard USA is fixed on the assets and in that sense, revolves around dollar figures and nostalgia. If there’s anyone nostalgic about the early days of the vineyard, it’s me. It was 40 years ago this month that our little Calvary chapel was told that we’re following along with John Wimber to become a vineyard. This included John’s Church, Newport Vineyard came along and the first week they were about six churches by the end of the month there were 22 and by the end of the summer there were close to 70 Calvary chapels that left and became vineyards… The early days were wonderful and nobody can replace them. Things morphed and much like the frog and boiling water, many pastors were willing to stick around. So many of the more liberal and progressive pastors don’t really care that the vineyard is on a slippery slope. I even talked to one very conservative pastor who said that he’s concerned about the vineyard but he’s also concerned about Calvary chapel and pretty much every stream and denomination in North America that is being hit by culture and not responding properly… I guess that rings true to an extent, however in this situation we have concerns that haven’t been responded to by and large, and really the discussion wouldn’t end well if a large Church told the vineyard why they want to leave. They don’t want to listen to what small churches say and that’s their choice. If they told a bunch of liberal pastors they had to go because of their views on the cross or universalism or any other such progressive theological stance, they would find the vineyard shrinking even more so.

        This brings me to my point, no exit would have been good because disassociating means you disagree and if they’re not listening to small churches, why would they listen to a large church? The issues are the same but the stakes are just higher. They didn’t show concern for smaller churches leaving so now they face their own dilemma because they haven’t developed a way of dealing with this situation. Obviously Alan didn’t feel comfortable speaking with them about it and they obviously didn’t feel comfortable promising any changes, so the only way for Alsn to deal with it was to rip the Bandage off fast. Further talks would have been as one person reported Alan as saying, litigious. Denver Vineyard left and no one said anything. It was bigger than Anaheim. Tom Stipe even when on record to disparage the vineyard even though it was his encouragement that the spiritual explosion that happened with Lonnie Frisbee was from the Spirit! So there really was no good way to leave. My prayer is that Alan would simply choose to take his people and move to another location and ask the vineyard to bless them and maybe give them some seed money to start a church and give VUSA their property back. Or was it they’re? No. But at least it’ll be clean. I don’t expect that but that’s what my prayer is.

        1. Hi Brian, (Is this my friend Brian whom I have had lead worship for me before?)

          Thank you for recognizing that this discussion is one that is needed. I wrestled with even saying anything or writing anything. However when I saw how things were being spun in Christianity Today and the Christian Post and I knew that I was probably the only person with a large enough voice on the internet to possibly cause this discussion to happen. It still amazes me what God has done with a little blog I started in 2011.

          It is my prayer that this causes a great discussion in VUSA between all of its leaders and the pastors that remain. Together they deal with the trajectory they have been on for years, and once and for all decide who they are going to be going forward and let the chips fall where they may. God is shaking all of the church. Not just the Vineyard.

          Up until this point, the only vote the pastors and the churches have had concerning the direction of the Vineyard has been to vote with their feet. To remove the ability to take their properties with them removes the power of those votes. As much as it is painful for a lot of people who have emotional ties to that building, I think this vote was needed.

  2. To say that Vineyard Anaheim was 300 and that the Sotts grew the church from 300 to 1000 is just not true. I was there and we were over 600 people.

    1. Well if I am wrong, I am wrong. I got my information from friends of mine who live in the area and saw the attendance dwindle over the years prior to the Scotts taking the role of Senior Pastors.

    2. I was there and I didn’t see 600. Maybe 250. 350 Max. Duke’s point still remains that the Vineyard movement has an opportunity to solve many things but it can’t if it keeps playing the blame game. And I don’t say this in defense of the Scotts leaving. I say this in hopes that the Vineyard will see the problems that are sinking the ship and do something about it. It is a wonderful opportunity.

  3. We were part Anaheim VCF with John Wimber through the 80’s and 90’s. We moved around after that and attended many Vineyards in North Carolina and NorCal. None of them even approached the level of Holy Spirit ministry. Most had a disconnect between their stated beliefs and “doing the stuff.” John warned about this and how movements lose their passion and focus. While all of that is true, you really need to read the letters of response from the Vineyard founders, Carol Wimber and Penny/Bob Fulton. Regardless of the Scott’s anointing or commitment to the Kingdom, doing what’s corporately legal does not make it right. As more information rolls in, it seems clear that this was an “intentional” plan by the Scotts to take over the BOD, take over the building (estimated $60 milliion), take over the $10 million in the bank, and bankroll a new movement. I trust the word of those who knew John best and have a lifetime of Spirit filled service to the body of Christ over the current hot commodities.

    1. Hi Bruce,
      Thanks for your reply. I cannot allow links to free WordPress websites without accountability as to who is publishing it and if they had permission to publish what were supposed to be private emails.

      In all of this, I look at who is casting stones. Clearly it is VUSA

      1. Jill Ridgway-Ball

        It seems to me that VUSA is following the Bible. They first tried to resolve the differences in private but Alan and Kathryn would not participate. So, the situation has been brought out into the open. Truth and true words from the Holy Spirit can always stand the light of day.

        1. Actually, VUSA demanded that they be done legally and on the record, not in private. The Scott’s are the ones who wanted to discuss things relationally and private.

          “Concurrently, we tried to work out an on-the-record, in-person meeting between representatives from Vineyard USA and Vineyard Anaheim to discuss them in more depth. Ultimately, this is something that they would not agree to.”

          https://vineyardusa.org/update-from-vusa-regarding-vineyard-anaheim/

  4. Duke,

    I have been a Vineyard Anaheim for a few years and love the church. The Holy Spirit shows up here weekly and Alan’s teaching has always been solid. Prior to the announcement I could sense the church changing in some ways but couldn’t put my finger on it. I’m fine with change but Alan has been very vague about the disassociation. If you read the statement that was posted on the disassociation, it is confusing. I’m also wondering why Alan decided to stay in the building rather than leave and start a new church. Thanks, Mike

    1. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Mike. I do not know the answers to that. I do know that I am not going to assume that they are being disingenuous. “My brother is never my enemy.” – John Wimber

  5. Hello Duke, have you read Carol Wimber’s letter to VUSA pastors, Bob and Penny Fulton’s letter, Christy Wimber’s posts, and a letter from a former Board member? Here are some links below. They don’t agree with your take at all.
    I’ve always been on the more Signs & Wonders side of things in the Vineyard, and so I can understand your perspectives. Vineyard churches are free to go – but no one should ever leave the way the Scotts have. Again, who am I? At least read Carol’s letter – if anyone can speak for John it’s her.

    Carl Tuttle – https://www.facebook.com/carl.tuttle.37
    Wimber/Fulton/ Denunzios – https://bit.ly/3Du7xiX
    Christy Wimber – posted Julie Roys’ blog – https://bit.ly/3IKSy57

    1. Yes, I have read them all. I hear their pain at losing their Icon. (Vineyard Anaheim Building) They feel the Scotts stole St. Peter’s bones. That is a painful loss and they are lashing out. It is not wise for leaders to go public while they are in pain. They say and do things that later they regret.

      There is more to this than even I realized having been out of the Vineyard for 3 years now and not having to face the current ReOrg plan.

      Have you read Reagan Waggoner’s thoughts on this?
      https://www.reaganwaggoner.com/post/who-get-s-to-play

      That would have caused me to do exactly what the Scotts have done. I would have left with the building worth 3.5 million and the congregation I was the last pastor of in the Vineyard.

  6. As someone who has been at Anaheim Vineyard from 1990 as a 13 year old at the campus before the current location to 2019 one year after the Scotts took over. My thoughts. Some valid points about the direction vineyard USA is going and why other churches left, that said. Seems like you speak for Alan and when Alan himself said he has no explanation for leaving and has no grievances. Also ignoring the fact from day one not engaging with Vineyard USA. Or the fact he had the same pattern with Vineyard UK of not engaging. The founder’s wife has credibility and not ok with how Alan left. The title of the article is misleading. It should be more about why other churches may have left the Vineyard Movement, not the defense of Anaheim Vineyard.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Jeff. I do not speak for Alan, and the first 2 paragraphs state that I am sharing my views. Also later on I stated as well that I have not spoken to either party.

      I also tried to explain that what has happened, concerning the board, the process, and the mess are explainable without assuming nefarious motives. That is in defense. The whole article is on why it is reasonable that VA would want to disassociate.

      Carol has emotional attachments beyond what anyone else would have. I understand her pain, but that does not mean she is right.

      1. Since you haven’t been involved in Vineyard for 3 years I don’t know why you feel you should even be voicing an opinion. What happened with you is your experience with VUSA and now is a totally different board. We all fall short. It you are making yourself out to be knownledable about the situation that is false.. most people close to the situation just feel betrayed by the Scotts because they didn’t share how they were feeling or what they were thinking. Another false fact Breathe was written by Marie Barnett

        1. Donna,
          Thank you for your comment. You are right. Marie Barnett wrote the song, but Kathryn Scott performed it on many Vineyard Music albums, including Top 25 Vineyard Worship Songs – The River Is Here.

          I voice an opinion because the Vineyard has a history of creating false narratives about people who leave. As you can see by your reaction in calling me false when I said she “led worship” and did not claim she wrote it, and the reaction of many others on social media. The narrative is being built, rather than the introspection of asking the question why?

          I gave you my opinion as to why. I would encourage you to think about who is calling people names and accusing them of unfounded motives and who is refusing to react.

  7. Hi Duke
    Looking at your pic, you and I are probably around the same age I’d say….maybe though you’re a little older! :) Anyway some similar history getting here, where we are…my first pastor went to LIFE, I was saved in the Jesus People days , came to Vineyard in 84 and have been in Vineyard movement since. I have been in the Corp world, Entrepreneur, never a professional pastor, but served with, and have been close to many.
    I was at Anaheim for 10 years…84-94 so that’s the short version of me.

    I appreciate your thoughts initially on moving from one movement, organization, organism…etc to another….I think many of us have done that for various reasons…that’s not where my issue lies , or heartache and concern lies…with regard to the Scott’s/Riddle’s decision to leave the Vineyard…
    It is their action of taking the Vineyard assets.
    Now the issue has already been discussed with regard to the uniqueness of that particular place as John’s place if you will…and if memory serves correctly, the Ahmanson Family(A really rich family!) had given that to John and the Vineyard in order that They would not have to be concerned about financial issues going forward (this is how I remember it anyway).
    OK, so now the way I understand what has been published about the vetting process with the Scott’s , the Scott’s were pointedly asked about their commitment to the Vineyard and the assets as well…(again I wasn’t there in the vetting process so I only know what has been stated elsewhere) .
    From the statements, the Scott’s were adamant about both their commitment to the Vineyard and the assets staying put.
    In other published accounts, once the Scott’s got control, they pretty much ignored AVC and did their own thing…

    Can I question their integrity and motivation of taking over the Anaheim Vineyard ? Before God, I’d hate to be wrong on this….!

    But if I’d ever been close to a corporate raider situation, which I’ve not, I’d expect it to smell and look a lot like this…

    Those are my thoughts…ta ta for now….

    Jim

  8. RIchard P Towne

    Many good comments here, but there seems to be an implicit assumption, perhaps based in tradition and past practice, that the only opinion(s) that matter are those of the senior pastor(s). Accordingly, the congregation has no role to play, no counsel to offer, either individually or collectively, and no opinion to hear. They are simply to be told what to do and where the ship is going. Is that a fair assessment? And is it proper for today?

    1. Richard, thank you for your comment. There are many forms of church government in place today in the church. The Episcopalian and Catholic model (along with many others like Foursquare, who emulate this model) where the denomination owns all the assets and controls the appointment of pastors. The Presbyterian model is another which is also used by the Assemblies of God and others, where the congregation votes on pastors and board members and owns their own properties, but the denomination controls the approval of the clergy. There is the congregational form which is used by many Baptist churches today. They vote on all major decisions, ordain their clergy, and own all their own property. Then there is the Elder led model. Evangelical Free churches use this model along with many others. Usually, the pastor appoints the first elders and then the elders are the ones who appoint their replacements. This model also owns its own properties.

      Finally, there is the more autocratic model that Wimber set up in the Vineyard and what was set up in Calvary Chapels and others. This is the Pastor led model. They may have a board but it is an advisory board and not a ruling board.

      All of these models have strengths and weaknesses. Too much denominational control leads to bureaucracy and stagnation. Too much congregational control leads to ungodly people seeking power positions of deacons and elders and pastors being treated as hirelings. Too much autocratic control leads to decisions being made without checks and balances.

      Personally, in my own church, we have set up a hybrid. We are a part of a voluntary association like the Vineyard and the Southern Baptist Convention. The local church’s roles of governance are divided. When it comes to spiritual matters, we have an autocratic form of governance. When it comes to temporal matters, we have an elder-led form of governance. The board nominates their replacements or additions and the congregation then ratifies the nominees at the annual business meeting.

      I think your assessment is fair concerning how local Vineyard churches are set up. Is it proper for today? I honestly think that is more answered by the values of the denomination. I do not think there is a right or wrong way. Just models that have flaws because people have flaws.

  9. Scotts can do whatever they want to move forward, departing from Vineyard. However, the V Anaheim building has a significant meaning to all Vineyard folks, and taking over the building doesn’t look like a decent behavior. They are immigrants. Isn’t it that the building’s mortgage was paid off by the American Vineyard folks? They could find another place. I understand why some people are so upset.

  10. Unfortunately the article loses integrity with the statement that the church went from 300 members to 1000. I attended Anaheim vineyard since 2003. Since the Scots came to Anaheim Vineyard, they unfairly got rid of staff members in a very cold manner where the staff members were told that they and their family could no longer attend the church. Many of these staff members attended for decades. The staff members did nothing wrong nor give poor performance at work. Simply the Scotts wanted to trade them for their own younger friends to work there. It was one Sunday night when Alan preached and mentioned he was going to run the church how he envisioned because God is the one who gave him the vision. When I heard that plus found out how he was ruthless and eliminating staff members, I realized a narcissistic pastor is running the church. And I left……….. It does not surprise me that he left the vineyard movement. Please take account of your facts. He also wanted to get rid of the food bank realizing that it cost the church money because they had to rent the warehouse. But when the pandemic hit, the food bank became the center of their church saving the surrounding communities and getting acknowledgment from the city .

    1. As I have mentioned earlier in the comments, with another person that disputed the attendance, I have friends who were attending at the time of the transition when Alan was hired. They saw approximately 300 people.

      And with this last comment, I am closing comments. I have given over a month of time for commenting when I usually do not allow comments because they are too hard to keep up with. I would like to thank everyone who participated.

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