John was a founding leader of the Vineyard. His influence profoundly shaped the theology and practice of Vineyard churches from their earliest days until his death in November, 1997. When God gripped John at the age of 29, he was a, “beer-guzzling, drug-abusing pop musician, chain-smoking his way through a Quaker-led Bible study.” Shortly after, John became a Christian, excited by the Scriptures he became a voracious Bible reader. After reading for weeks about life- changing miracles in the Bible and attending boring church services, John asked one of the lay leaders, “When do we get to do the stuff?”. “What stuff?” asked the leader.
“You know the stuff here in the Bible, the stuff Jesus did like healing the sick, raising the dead, healing the blind. You know, stuff like that!”
“Well, we don’t do that anymore.” the man said to John.
To which John replied, “You don’t? Then what do you do?”
“Well, we do what we did here this morning.” the man replied.
John answered, “You mean I gave drugs up for that?”
John had a passion for the Scriptures and often said, “It’s not enough to be Biblically literate, we must also learn to be Biblically obedient.”
In John’s first decade as a Christian he led hundreds of people to Christ. By 1970, he was leading 11 Bible studies that involved more than 500 people. Under God’s grace, John became so fruitful as an evangelical pastor he was asked to lead the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Evangelism and Church Growth. Later, he became an adjunct instructor at Fuller Theological Seminary where his classes set attendance records.
Not only was John the leader of the Vineyard Movement, he was an evangelist, worship leader, songwriter, and pastor. John is most renowned for his practical application of the Gospel in order to ‘do the stuff’ that Jesus did.
Even with his passing, John’s influence is still greatly evident throughout the world today.