This question has come up a lot lately in reference to Heartland Vineyard Church. “What is the vision of the Heartland Vineyard Church?”
Let me take some time and describe what I saw nearly thirty years ago that gave my family and I a desire and move to the Cedar Valley and start this church.
My wife and I attended our first Vineyard Church Conference in 1984. John Wimber was teaching on the subject, “Church Planting and the Kingdom of God.” The material was powerful. John taught that the Kingdom of God was not a realm like the United Kingdom. The Kingdom of God had nothing to do with landmass like the British Common Wealth or other kingdoms that have existed in this earth.
The Kingdom of God was the rule and reign of God being imposed upon a broken and desperately needy world. The Kingdom of God was God taking pitifully broken circumstances (broken marriages, sickness, despair, abuse, violence, hopelessness, etc.) and imposing His good and perfect will and making right what had been wrong.
John Wimber’s teaching alone gave me vision. I could see in my mind’s eye sick people made well. I could see anger and bitterness dissolved by forgiveness and relationships healed. I could see families reconciled and neighborhoods renewed by the powerful presence of God. I could see the poor lifted from their poverty and the wealthy become generous and loving with their lives.
Once John Wimber was finished teaching he said, “Now we’re going to demonstrate what I’ve been talking about.” He gently said, “Holy Spirit come.” Incredible things began to happen. People cried out, some fell to the floor, some writhed in anguish, hopelessness and despair. As this happened, hundreds of people moved toward these broken, hurting people and began to place their hands on them, praying for them, interceding for them, all in Jesus Name.
Demons left tortured souls with screams, people fell to the floor and shook under the powerful hand of God as He exerted His love upon them about brought to bare His Kingdom. I heard a man a few rows behind us cry out, “I can see!” We saw a middle age woman stand up from a wheelchair and walk. People wept, people laughed, others shouted praise to God. The Kingdom of God had come.
As we watched for hours God do miraculous things, He began to place a vision in my heart. It came as a question. “What if there were 10 people who were so devoted and filled with the Holy Spirit and faith in Jesus, what could happen to a city over time? What if there were 100 people harnessed with raw God power, ushering into a city the Kingdom of God? What if there were 1,000 of these disciples?”
Over the next few years, God moved over our hearts and ultimately sent us to the Cedar Valley to establish a church that would equip an army of fully devoted disciples who would extend the Kingdom of God as they experienced and then expressed the compassion and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That vision is still in my heart. It is still the thing I think about that motivates me to get up in the morning. I have experienced my share of defeats but I also know of the awesome nature of the Kingdom of God.
With that I say, “Come Holy Spirit.”