The History of Coast Vineyard

Coast Vineyard began in the summer of 1988 with a few families meeting
in a home near Wind n’ Sea in La Jolla to seek God.  The group began to feel that God was calling them to plant a church, and a retreat the next spring gathered a group of about 45 people committed to becoming Coast Vineyard.  Don Williams became the pastor of the new church, which had its first public meeting in July of 1989.  

Over the years, Coast met in many different locations, an office building in Del Mar, a warehouse in Sorrento Valley, La Jolla Elementary, a small historic chapel on Draper St. in La Jolla, La Jolla High School, and the San Diego French-American School.  In 2013, we moved to our current site in Clairmont.

In 2002, Don retired from pastoring Coast Vineyard.  Since that time, Jamie and Michelle Wilson have been our pastors.  Jamie and Michelle had both been attending Coast Vineyard since they began following Jesus in the early 90s during their undergraduate years at UCSD.  They originally came on staff leading an outreach called to the poor and homeless called The Branch in 1993.  Michelle later served as Women’s Pastor from 1999-2001 and then Children’s Pastor from 2001-2006, and Jamie served as Associate Pastor from 1999-2002 before coming on as Senior Pastor in 2002.  Michelle and Jamie became Co-Senior Pastors of Coast in 2006.  The church has grown steadily over the years, particularly growing in ethnic diversity and developing a strong ministry to students on the UCSD campus and other nearby schools.  

In 2003, God began speaking to our leadership about his heart for the nations.  We began partnering with Vineyards in the U.S. and La Viña churches in Baja Norte for the purpose of church planting in the Baja peninsula.  In 2010, we partnered with the Mexicali La Viña to support a La Viña church plant in El Centro.  In 2004, we also joined the Vineyard Thailand Partnership, which has the same purpose in Thailand.  Shortly thereafter, we sent a team of three leaders to live and work in Thailand year round.  Each year, Coast sends teams to work alongside our partner churches in both Baja and Thailand.  

God’s love has been steadily transforming us. He has been growing in us a passion for many styles of worship.  He has been teaching us that we are a family, giving us our vision for Building a Community of Love in 2008.  He has been healing us physically and emotionally, giving us the desire to serve people and to forgive those that hurt us, and he is showing us how much he cares for the poor here in our own city and around the world.  

Most recently, God has been giving us a passion to reach out with the love of Jesus to our neighborhoods here in San Diego more faithfully and more effectively.  We sent out our first church plant in November of 2011.  Four home groups from Coast in the La Mesa area started a new Vineyard called Dwell and pastored by Aaron Henderson in the faith that God will use them to share the hope of Jesus with their neighborhoods.  In 2012, we sent out our second church plant, Vineyard Underground, located in Torrance, California.  In June of 2013, Coast Vineyard itself moved from the San Diego French-American School on top of Mt. Soledad, to Lindbergh-Schweitzer Elementary School in the neighborhood of Clairemont.  We believe that God is presently calling Coast Vineyard to refocus on sharing the good news about Jesus with our neighbors, friends and co-workers and that he will use us to bring hope to our community. 


A Brief History of the Vineyard Movement

The Vineyard is one of the fastest growing church-planting movements in the world. The Vineyard story is about ordinary people who worship and serve an extraordinary God. The Vineyard is simply one thread in the rich tapestry of the historic and global Church of Jesus Christ. But it is a thread of God’s weaving. 
From the beginning, Vineyard pastors and leaders have sought to hold in tension the biblical doctrines of the Christian faith with an ardent pursuit of the present day work of the Spirit of God. Maintaining that balance is never easy in the midst of rapid growth and renewal.

John Wimber 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 John was conscripted by God he was, in the words of Christianity Today, a “beer-guzzling, drug-abusing pop musician, who was converted at the age of 29 while chain-smoking his way through a Quaker-led Bible study” (Christianity Today, February 9th,1998). 

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. He also later became an adjunct instructor at Fuller Theological Seminary where his classes set attendance records.

In 1977, John reentered pastoral ministry to plant Calvary Chapel of Yorba. 

Throughout this time, John’s conservative evangelical paradigm for understanding the ministry of the church began to grow. George Eldon Ladd’s theological writings on the kingdom of God convinced John intellectually that the all the biblical gifts of the Holy Spirit should be active in the church. Encounters with Fuller missiologists Donald McGavaran and C. Peter Wagner and seasoned missionaries and international students gave him credible evidence for combining evangelism with healing and prophecy. As he became more convinced of God’s desire to be active in the world through all the biblical gifts of the Spirit, John began to teach and train his church to imitate Jesus’ full-orbed kingdom ministry. He began to ‘do the stuff’ of the Bible that he had formerly only read about. 
 As John and his congregation sought God in intimate worship they experienced empowerment by the Holy Spirit, significant renewal in the gifts and conversion growth.

It became clear that the church’s emphasis on the experience of the Holy Spirit was not shared by some leaders in the Calvary Chapel movement. In 1982, John’s church left Calvary Chapel and joined a small group of Vineyard churches. Vineyard was a name chosen by Kenn Gulliksen, a prolific church planter affiliated with Calvary Chapel, for a church he planted in Los Angeles in 1974. Pastors and leaders from the handful of Vineyard churches began looking to John for direction. And the Vineyard movement was born.

Twenty years later, there are more than 600 Vineyards in the United States and almost 1000 Vineyards in other countries. Vineyard worship songs have helped thousands of churches experience intimacy with God. Many churches have been equipped to continue Jesus’ ministry of proclaiming the kingdom, healing the sick, casting out demons and training disciples.