Our Story

How it all started...

In 1974, Kenn Gulliksen started the first Vineyard on the Westside of LA. It was named the Vineyard because God’s people are referred to as a vineyard He planted and cultivated. Jesus continued the metaphor in John 15:5, “I am the Vine; you are the branches.” This was the small beginning that has become more than 2000 churches in more than 70 countries.

The early Vineyard touched many hearts because it was characterized by simplicity of worship, being highly relational, humble, authentic, devoted to the Scriptures, and in love with Jesus. It grew rapidly and was also committed to sending out our best leaders to plant churches.

In 1979, Bill Dwyer was on staff with Kenn. They were meeting in the Valley because we couldn’t find a suitable facility on the Westside. After a severe car accident, Kenn was laid up at home for months and began to pray about the direction of the church. He felt a clear leading to move the church back to West LA; however, because the church had attracted a number of young Valley families, leadership began planning to multiply the first Vineyard into the Westside and Valley Vineyard. Through prayer and fasting, God set Bill Dwyer apart with a core of leaders to start the Valley Vineyard.

Bill began with a small group of singles and couples meeting on Sunday afternoons at St. Paul’s in Tarzana. In 1981, The newly formed Vineyard moved to Portola Junior High where they would meet for the next ten years. Early each Sunday they would set up at the school and after the service take everything down.

The expansion of the story...

About the same time, John Wimber joined the Vineyard and would eventually become the leader of the Vineyard Movement, which would plant thousands of churches. John was well known for his seminars on healing the sick, but his passion was Ephesians 4:12, “…equipping the saints....” John was a masterful trainer and he set about training the Vineyards “to do the stuff,” the stuff that Jesus and the early church did.

It was an amazing season of blessing. Throughout the 80s and 90s the Valley Vineyard was involved in planting seven churches. Ministry teams from the Valley Vineyard travelled to England, China, Sweden, Mexico, Guatemala, Eastern Europe, and Germany.
At home the Vineyard carried on the core values of intimate worship, compassion, mercy, building friendships, serving in ministry, and devotion to Jesus Christ.

After ten years of renting a public school on Sundays, Bill and the church board began searching for a permanent home. Through much prayer the Spirit led them to the Reseda Bowl which had been empty for five years. Reseda was not the leader’s choice, but God’s. Many churches were moving to nice suburban neighborhoods, but God reminded the Valley Vineyard of John Wimber’s famous quote, “The meat is in the street.” At a time when many churches were getting their “meat” from the Bible, John was telling the church the real meat was in getting in the street and doing the Word. The Vineyard facility, a former bowling alley, was not much to look at from the outside, but God positioned the church in the midst of great needs. After renovating and occupying the building in 1992, the Vineyard purchased the building in  1997, and paid off the mortgage in 2018.

In November, 1997, John Wimber went to be with the Lord and a whole new chapter was opened to the Vineyard Movement. Presently, Phil Strout is the national director and the Vineyard continues to “do the stuff.” They are still planting churches, holding conferences, caring for the wounded, feeding the needy, and doing missions around the world.

Where the Valley Vineyard is headed...

The Valley Vineyard has also continued in the work of the Lord and has seen thousands come to Christ over all the years. They have seen the joy of seeing couples marry, have kids, dedicate babies, raise them in the Lord, baptize the next generation, and now see a new flock arising to serve Jesus. The Vineyard has also witnessed the many changes in the Valley that have presented challenges and opportunities to represent Jesus to the community.

After faithfully serving for 40 years, the Founding Pastor, Bill Dwyer, retired and in January of 2020, Jimmy Reyes became the Lead Pastor.  In this new season of transition, the church is celebrating where we have been and discovering where we are going.  Encouraged that the same God who planted the Vineyard will continue to tend it and care for it as we look toward the future, they are blessed to have an amazing heritage.  God is not done.  He not only moved in the past, but He continues to move now,…in this moment in history.

The Vineyard has a hunger for God’s presence and seeing His justice restore that which is skewed, sick, and sinful in this world.  He is reminding His people that they are called to be disciples-making-disciples who usher His Kingdom into neighborhoods and ultimately into all the nations.  

The Vineyard seeks to represent God by becoming a Kingdom community walking in unity and diversity, and becoming an example to this world of love as His people become One Body composed of singles, families, multiple generations, different ethnicities, various political views, and sundry socioeconomic levels.

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together at 11 AM .