I know this is very important I am very clear about what’s happening with the Wimber’s as well as our Church family, the Yorba Linda Vineyard.
I love the Yorba Linda Vineyard. We love the Yorba Linda Vineyard. The Church has been a vital part of our lives these last 11 years. I (we) feel very privileged for God to pick our family to be a part of this amazing ministry. It is remarkable what God has done with the YLV and the YLV Resource Centers. I would never exchange this time in our lives.
With that said, we have come to the decision to make the Yorba Linda Vineyard inactive.
I felt I heard the Lord tell me a few years ago that my assignment with the Yorba Linda Vineyard as the head senior pastor was coming to an end. I felt we had pioneered what the Lord initiated & He was going to move me on- forward. My thought process was not to leave the Church, but to find someone to take the Church over & for me to serve them and from there I would know what to do.
At that time, I had several offers from the Church at large, but my local Church has always been my priority. The temptation to just leave was present, but had no power as to begin a new season, without finishing out the old season properly is not only not healthy, it’s not integrous.
When I felt the Lord speak to me about my assignment changing, it was during this time the YLV had just gotten into a new building (our 8th) at the time. I think it was just before we moved in I had a dream that the landlord was going to try & evict us, which sadly began a week after we moved in. Our landlord viciously came after us with several lawsuits to evict us after we had completed renovations.
Even in winning the lawsuits, it cost us greatly financially and physically did a number on not only us, but people in our eldership who ‘carried the burden with us.’ I did not feel in my spirit it was okay for me to leave. In prayer, I felt the Lord told me he would handle it and just trust Him.
However, the opposition never stopped. From the very day we opened the building, my husband Sean went in the hospital with a perforated colon (he missed the opening celebration) & since this time our Son, John has had 3 more surgeries, I had to have 2 knee surgeries and Sean ended up having to have major back surgery. In the midst of this we moved yet again as the Lord said he was going to settle us for a season, which He did.
John Wimber used to say, “Old orders are standing orders until you get new orders.” So I decided to plant myself, be settled and focus on leading the Church until I had new direction (orders).
Since I can remember, I have always had so much respect for the local pastor. I realized in traveling the world with Vineyard Music all those years ago, meeting so many pastors who served faithfully, often with no recognition, but were so faithful always had my attention. I still feel this way today, if not more so. Church planting is not easy for anyone, the call of ministry; even with all of its privileges is costly. It is why we don’t pick ministry; the ministry picks us.
Every Church that’s doing its call has opposition and I have been so grateful that in the midst of pioneering, and so much ongoing opposition that God had sent us the most amazing people to serve alongside of us. It has been remarkable to see people with such resilience, especially in the face of great opposition. Every week people just showed up, serving people all over, in spite of some very difficult & uncomfortable circumstances.
We realized a few years back that we have had between 21-25 days out of each month that was involved with outreach in some way, serving our communities. (Is. 58). This speaks to the people who love their God, but also get the importance of the call of their God to being a part of the Kings Kingdom.
Were so grateful for the many who have been impacted towards knowing Christ. In just going through some of the footage, events, celebrations, gatherings, services etc.; what has taken place is just remarkable.
Which is why in the natural this decision with the Church would not make sense. This is so unconventional. But the truth is when the Church began it wasn’t conventional. People said it would never work. It did. People said it wasn’t God, yet every week Gods presence has been tangible. Every time man said it wouldn’t happen, God made a way. God has gone beyond our expectations in His faithfulness. (Hab. 1:5).
So, in going forward, making a Church inactive which is active involving remarkable people doing remarkable things isn’t a normal story. But being normal, or like everyone else is not my focus, being obedient is.
It is true that although we have an amazing Church, with amazing people, where incredible things happening, it is the Lord who builds His Church & for me His voice must be the loudest in this. So it may not make sense in the natural, but spiritually it makes all the sense in the world for this transition to take place.
How the Process Played Out:
A few years ago when I felt I heard the Lord about my assignment changing I shared with my board about what I felt the Lord was saying to me. I also asked the US Vineyard to see if there were any possibilities for someone to come in & take the Church over.
Although there were a few applicants there has been no fit, whether for the applicants or for our Church family. To be honest it’s been really confusing to me as to why not?
So, at the beginning of 2017, I put a fleece out to the Lord to show me (us) what I was to do?
- I (we) continued to pray for the Lord to bring the right leaders, even praying as to build an International team; or to plant 2-4 Churches from our Church.
I figured the Lord would bring someone in, or a team and I would stay, help them transition and see where to go from there. When this didn’t happen, I put together a whole plan to plant Churches from within our Church. However, in praying it through, for various reasons, there was no peace.
One thing that is very important to me is finishing well. As in anything how we finish is so important because when we go forward, we always take us with us. And I wanted to make sure I had taken care of the people to the best of my ability, being the best shepherd I could be by caring, leading and feeding the sheep. Therefore, walking this out rightly has been very important to me.
Prior to my trips overseas this Spring we realized that physically, Sean, who had major back surgery 2 years ago was digressing quickly and it was just before my trip in April where we found out he is in need of another major surgery on his back. Knowing this has also affected my thinking as to the impossibilities of us setting up in another building each week, as Sean’s involvement would be little to none due to his physical state. But, we haven’t been able to locate a building anyways so this just added to the list of what were obvious changes to come.
In every season, we pray for the obvious & when we don’t see things changing, opening or prayers being answered in what we thought, we adjust and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us what He is leading us into. This is what I did as I headed out of the country in April.
I was in the UK and I felt like the Lord said to me, “I want you to celebrate the YLV, and what has happened in these 11 years.” I also felt the Lord say, “He is the one to determine the life span of the Church & that if I were to keep looking for a place to meet on Sundays, He would honor it, and bless it, BUT that it wasn’t His best plans for me (us).”
The Lord then reminded me that the YLV had been pioneered, and I had walked out what He asked & among some other personal things I felt the Lords encouragements as to say, “This wasn’t the end of the story, but instead the season was changing.”
So, this is where we have landed. This is not the end of the story; this is the season changing. I do want Gods best. So when I came home from the trip, I again met with my board, and although saddened, we all agreed this is the Lords directions to/for us and the Yorba Linda Vineyard. Although I am sad not to see people I love every week, I also feel much peace that this is the Lord. I am so excited to honor the Lord with what He has done.
Although the Church will be inactive, some of the small groups will continue to gather. They are solid & relationally we have people who are walking through very difficult times and we know these connections are vital at this time. Secondly, some of our outreaches will continue as we have worked it out with local Churches to host these as well. Our hope (as well as the pastors) is their people will too get involved in these outreaches.
However, I do and will encourage everyone to find a local Church and get connected as I am a firm believer in the corporate gathering and the connection to a local Church.
- As a family we will see what steps need to be taken for healing with Sean’s back.
- We have no plans to enter into serving another Church at this time, but will instead wait and see where the Lord leads.
- Months ago I said yes to work with Multiply Vineyard, which is Church Planting for the US Vineyard. I plan to walk this out and see what God does within this.
- I will continue to wear my hat of building into the Church around the world.
Finally, just to recognize that I realize my husband, Sean and my children, Camie Rose, her husband, Hobie & John Richard have been faithful warriors at obeying God. Even when it has been incredibly difficult and painful for them personally, they haven’t complained but instead continued to show up and serve in different ways.
Even though I am the visible one, we have always done the ministry as a family so I am honored they have served so faithfully as its been one of the joys and privileges of what I have seen these last 11 years.
I am convinced that where God leads us, He is also faithful in His sustaining power of grace to go before us. (Psalm 23; Psalm 27).
Please be praying for our Church family as this transition will be sad for many. Please also be praying for our family and that we hear the Lord for this next season of our lives.
Matthew 21:42b “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous and wonderful in our eyes…”