In October 2014, Harmon Press published my book, The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. Today, the little book we affectionately call WOW (Wisdom of Wimber) has sold numerous copies throughout the USA and Canada, and will soon be available in Spanish, thanks to our dear friend, Pastor Jorge Oviedo and his translating team from the Heredia Vineyard Church in Costa Rica!
As faithful readers of this popular blog, you will probably remember that the contents of WOW was originally published as a devotional blog series here on our website a few years back. Now, in celebration of our Spanish version (which should be available by Summer 2016), we are re-releasing WOW in its original format…64 blogs published between Easter 2016 and the end of August. I hope you will plan to join us as we re-visit the days of the early beginnings of the Vineyard Church movement. We believe it will not only richly bless you to ponder over the words of the Vineyard founding leader, John Wimber, but it will also assist you and the people in your church in re-discovering the truest Kingdom principles as they are to be lived out by twenty-first century followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
Who is John Wimber?
John Wimber was a successful composer/musician, a caring pastor, and a well-known author and speaker who encouraged the whole church of Jesus Christ to draw closer to Jesus, entering into the grace and glory of the ever-expanding Kingdom of God. From 1977 until his untimely death in 1997, John and Carol Wimber pastored a vibrant church in Anaheim, California, that became the birthing place of the Vineyard Church movement, which has now spread into many countries worldwide.
At a church leadership conference in July 1991, Pastor John Wimber taught on ten specific themes he called his “genetic code” for churches who desired to be God-worshiping, Jesus-centered, and Spirit-directed communities, set apart for the Kingdom purposes of God. The material in this book, The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It, was originally published as a popular devotional blog series here on our website. It is a collection of sixty-four musings on some of John’s richest quotes under each of these ten vital themes:
On Christ and His Word, On Worship, On Gifts of the Spirit, On Community, On Compassion, On Healing, On Mission, On Unity, On Evangelism, On Discipleship.
Here’s what long-time Vineyard pastor and church historian, Don Williams, has to say about The Wisdom of Wimber…
Welcome to Wimber, as seen through the lens of Marty Boller. Enough time has passed since John Wimber’s death to gain perspective on his unparalleled impact upon and through the twentieth- century church. With well selected quotes from John’s writings, organized into ten (10) major concepts of ministry, Marty places Wimber in the world of church growth philosophy, which is all about, in Marty’s words, a “three B’s ministry” of buildings, budgets and butts (in the pews). Much of this philosophy came historically from the “seeker sensitive” model of Bill Hybels (Willow Creek), where the church is organized and grows as it is programmed to meet people’s needs. Using the secular corporate model, the church discovered needs then determine the preaching and program of the church. Success in ministry is measured by catering to felt-needs. It’s all about people – they determine the church’s message and ministry.
Into this culture (and a former shaper of it through his role at Fuller Theological Seminary), came John Wimber. John experienced, along with his wife Carol, what must be described as not only a clear conversion (in John’s words, he came “from the pagan pool”) and experienced the empowering of the Holy Spirit. In that empowerment, John built a church, which tagged on to the “Jesus Movement” of the late 1960s and ‘70s. Rather than the church being “seeker sensitive,” John’s church was about Jesus and his kingdom ministry. If you want to know what this radical church looked like, read Marty’s book, cover to cover. You have to do this to get the whole picture.
In our highly transient culture, John estimated that we have people in our churches for three years. In this time we must not only convert them, we must disciple them into maturity in Christ. But how is this to be done? Marty has John speak for himself, adding his own commentary and experiences, bringing John into our early twenty-first century world. One value of this book is that it comes out of Boller’s mature, candid reflection and experience in ministry. He helps us to reevaluate John’s ministry, as John speaks for himself and Marty reflects. These Wimberisms are hard for any of us to gather. Thank you Marty for doing this work for us.
While appealing to the burned out “buildings, budgets, and butts” leaders, it will open us all up to the radical, enduring message and ministry of John who only desired his work to embody the message and kingdom ministry of Jesus.
Over the years of his ministry, John was committed to church renewal and church planting as the best means of evangelizing the world. His ministry in the United Kingdom brought renewal to a major part of the Church of England. As a result, ministries such as “Soul Survivor” have exploded, bringing thousands of teenagers to Christ. Mike Pilavachi, its leader, reports that at their summer festival in 2014 (originally envisioned by John as “New Wine” festivals for adults), the titular head of the Church of England ( Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury) came and was prayed for (hands on) by thousands of teens. He later gave them the invitation to accept Christ, to which vast numbers responded.
John understated his life, defining it as “just a fat man, trying to get to heaven.” However, he was one of the key prophetic visionaries and reformers of the twentieth century church and his work goes on. As you read this book, you will understand why this was and continues to be true. Here is food for your life and direction for your discipleship – whatever form it may take. Remember, John called all of us out of the stands and on to the field, saying, “Everybody gets to play.” Suit up and jump in. Marty will help you to find your position.
Don Williams, Author, Pastor, Theologian, Los Angeles, CA
Between Easter 2016 and the end of August, we are sharing with you a blog series we call The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It. In order to keep all 64 blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Wisdom of Wimber page for ease of use. ENJOY!
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!