We still have many questions that are not yet fully answered about all that has happened. The unfortunate truth is that these questions may never be answered, unless those involved in Vineyard Anaheim’s decision choose to come to the table with us at a later date. However, today – more than at any other time in recent history – the world is watching scenarios like this one. We must respond to this moment with integrity and transparency.
We still do not fully understand the reasons that the leadership of Vineyard Anaheim has chosen to leave the Vineyard movement. In our initial meeting, Alan named unresolved grievances toward two specific leaders, the challenging history of the Vineyard in the Southern California region, and a non-specific sense that Vineyard Anaheim’s departure would make it “easier for Jay to lead the Vineyard into its next season.” In a later letter, Alan mentioned a sense of God’s leadership, and a sense that God was doing a new thing in the church. We are very eager to hear more about all of these general claims. We are also keenly aware that the given reasons also indicate a need for a process of reconciliation of grievances, which has not even been begun.
At present, however, the stated reasons feel highly insufficient to the magnitude and impact of the decision, as well as to the pace at which Alan and the Board sought to move it forward. To the extent that the leadership of Vineyard Anaheim intends to credibly assign the impetus of this decision to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, it seems to us essential that such a decision stand up under the scrutiny of the most basic biblical standards of mutual accountability in discernment.
Alan has been a Vineyard pastor for his whole adult life. He grew into church leadership in the Vineyard, and has been supported by Vineyard pastors and leaders globally in countless ways, most recently in the process of his immigration to the United States and his hiring as the leader of Vineyard Anaheim.
We have received multiple accounts of conversations between Alan and other Vineyard leaders, held in both formal and informal settings, in which he spoke of his formation by, commitment to, and love for the Vineyard movement. When asked directly about this in the Vineyard Anaheim hiring process, Alan stated unequivocally that he was Vineyard through and through, which he still states to this day.
It has also been reported to us by multiple credible sources that, in private and public moments, he told others that he would never take Vineyard Anaheim out of the movement, and explained that he saw his appointment to Vineyard Anaheim — a Vineyard church — as a lifetime appointment for him.
It seems that these commitments are beyond the scope of Alan’s current convictions. As we have said repeatedly, if the Scotts believe that God is calling them out of the Vineyard movement, we believe Vineyard Anaheim should send them out to whatever God is calling them to do.
As in every non-profit, the Vineyard Anaheim Board is finally responsible for managing the affairs of Vineyard Anaheim.
We believe that the constitution of the board of Vineyard Anaheim is exceptionally problematic, especially when considered in relationship to a decision of this magnitude. In late 2021, the Scotts significantly altered the Vineyard Anaheim church board, due in part to the expiration of the terms of two former board members. To our knowledge, it now has seven voting members. Four of these voting members are church staff and/or spouses with clear conflicts of interest. At the time the disassociation decision was made and announced on Feb 25th, there were 8 voting members, of which 3 were voting members who were non-local leaders who do not attend Vineyard churches and have no formal connection to the Vineyard movement. Only one board member is both part of the Vineyard and has no obvious conflict of interest. As Alan began to make these alterations to the Vineyard Anaheim board, he received written communication from at least one long-standing leader at Vineyard Anaheim – a former board member – documenting alarm about this matter.
We are unaware if individual Vineyard Anaheim board members were aware of the way this Board was being constructed, of the other members being invited to join, or the concerns being registered by that leader of Vineyard Anaheim. We are aware that, if they had known, this might have affected their decision to join the Vineyard Anaheim board.
We are also aware that one Vineyard Anaheim board member, a non-local leader, resigned from the board during this disassociation process. When asked about their board, Vineyard Anaheim’s board said, “We won’t comment on individual Board members, their discussions, decisions, or current status. We will say that we have a robust and intact Board of Directors that are doing the best we know how to discern and follow the will of God.”
To the best of our knowledge, at the time of the initial disassociation announcement, Vineyard Anaheim’s bylaws indicated that the Senior Pastor (and his “Senior Level Pastors (Oversight Team)”) have “sole authority over “ecclesiastical matters” at the church, while the Board’s authority is “specifically concerned with matters of finance and facilities and the business matters of the corporation that directly relate to the public trust of the corporate assets.”
We believe this distinction in governance between “ecclesiastical matters” vs. “business matters” – spiritual vs. structural leadership – is, at the very best, a demonstrably false dichotomy. Given that Vineyard Anaheim’s leadership is responsible for tens of millions of dollars of assets held in the public trust, we believe that both Alan and the Board must be called to account, as their single decision has vast “ecclesiastical” and “business” implications.
We do not yet have anything like a clear understanding of the process by which this decision was made. Our attempts to get clarity have been rebuffed as “legalistic” and “non-relational.” We are also unsure of who the “Senior Level Pastors (Oversight Team)” named in the Bylaws are, and if they have had any involvement in this decision-making process.
We understand that it is possible that individual board members did not fully comprehend the problematic nature of this arrangement. We have heard statements about the extent of each board member’s active participation in these decisions. Nonetheless it is of course the case that each board member remains accountable for decisions made by the Board. We also understand that some other Vineyard churches have adopted bylaws that should be revised to establish higher standards of accountability for their leadership. In light of all of this, we advised the Board of Vineyard Anaheim to consider adapting their bylaws, effective immediately, to require unanimous board agreement for a decision of this magnitude.
While Alan has repeatedly spoken of his desire to honor the Vineyard, we do not see how any of the concrete decisions leading up to the Board’s decision to disassociate Vineyard Anaheim from the Vineyard movement correspond to that spoken desire. While Alan did acknowledge that Vineyard Anaheim made a dishonoring “mis-step” in the process of communicating about its disassociation, he has said nothing at all about the process by which the decision was made. Given the significance of this decision, the speed at which it was executed, and the lack of transparent accountability in the process, we cannot see how this aligns with any scriptural account of how Christian leaders might honor one another.
As far as we have been able to understand it, the decision to disassociate Vineyard Anaheim was made in exclusively and without consultation, at an intentional distance from the discernment, accountability, and familial leadership of the Vineyard family that Alan says he so desires to honor. We are not even aware that this decision was discussed with the congregation in any way.
If the Board of Vineyard Anaheim truly desires to move toward healing, we believe that the first step would be having an accountable, on-the-record conversation about that process. This would enable us to begin to move toward credible truth and reconciliation, as opposed to inhabiting rhetorical worlds that do not reflect the reality of what has actually happened. To be crystal clear, we eagerly desire such a conversation, and are ready to engage in it immediately. But, in order to do so, the Vineyard Anaheim Board would have to decide that they want to.
The Vineyard USA National Team has consulted with many people about this situation. We have been in regular dialogue with our Board of Trustees. In agreement with Anaheim, communication has primarily been from Board to Board in order to consolidate the channels of communication and keep the key stakeholders up to date.
We have also listened at length to the mothers and fathers of our movement, such as Carol Wimber-Wong, Bob and Penny Fulton, and John and Eleanor Mumford, among others. In addition, we have interacted with many others around the movement, including former members of the Vineyard Anaheim Board, former and current leaders at Vineyard Anaheim, pastors and leaders from around our movement, as well as leaders from other movements and denominations around the country who have expressed concern about what is happening.
No. Vineyard USA does not own any local church buildings.
No. Vineyard USA’s trademark agreement requires that only churches in good standing with the Vineyard use the name Vineyard.
We realize that there will be many people in and around Anaheim who, after hearing this announcement, will be looking for a Vineyard church to call home. If this is you, and you would like some help, please reach out by email to . Our team will be glad to support you in finding a church home in the Vineyard.
We encourage you to continue to process this announcement with Vineyard USA leaders around you, specifically your Area Leaders, Regional Leaders, and the National Team. If there are substantive questions or changes to the information that we have shared with you, we will update these FAQs or send out communication directly from Vineyard USA.