Martyn and Linda have been in full time ministry since the early 1980's. Part of that time was spent working in two Anglican Churches where they saw exciting times of charismatic renewal and outreach. In 1987 God spoke to them about the importance of reaching the lost through church planting and so, after a time on the staff of the Vineyard in Fort Collins, Colorado, they planted Manchester Vineyard in September 1989.
For the next ten years they helped to pioneer the Vineyard in the UK as well as hosting training and equipping conferences in Manchester. They developed a close relationship with John Wimber in the last ten years of his life and are thankful to the Lord for all that John invested in them personally and as a church.
Manchester Vineyard grew from a small group of 11 people to a large church with a multi-faceted ministry base. Crucial to the development of the church has been its emphasis on small-group development. An important aspect of the church as it has evolved has been the development of strategic training tracks - including the Kingdom Life Academy - which offers training for all aspects of leadership, church planting and pastoral ministry in the church.
They have also been responsible for planting a number of other churches and are active in developing relationships and networking with other leaders in the Greater Manchester area. Manchester Vineyard was renamed Vinelife Church Manchester at the beginning of 2008 and is associated with Vinelife UK - which includes an informal network of churches relating together for support and encouragement.
In keeping with the Lord's direction that they should actively raise up an emerging generation of leaders in the church, in September 2008 Martyn and Linda handed over the leadership of the church to their son and daughter-in-law, Phil & Sarah Smith. This has released them to develop Vinelife UK and care for the leaders, network with other leaders in the Manchester area, focus on leadership and church planting training and travelling to train and equip believers in this country and abroad.
Martyn and Linda's strength is training and releasing God's people to hear his word and do his works in order to find healing and purpose in life. Their goal is to build a strong team of men and women to equip others to touch cities and nations for Jesus. Their heart-cry in this season of time is for the Lord to use them to "prepare God's people for the harvest" - a crucial task for the church of God to focus on in the current climate.
They have travelled to many nations to fulfil this vision including the USA, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Faroe Islands, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, the Czech Republic, Uganda, the Ukraine and Russia.
They both have a background of Theological training - Martyn studied Theology and Pastoral Ministry in London before being ordained in the Church of England in the early 1980's; Linda has completed post-graduate Theological studies in Manchester.
They have been married since 1975 and have three grown-up children - Phil (married to Sarah), Jo (married to Tim) and Becci (married to Michael) and an ever-increasing number of grandchildren!
Ekklesia in History
In the 1600’s the early Quakers applied this format to their meetings (based on the practises of a group of dissenters called the ‘Westmoreland Seekers’). This started a spiritual awakening in England which spread all over the world. They met in silence and waited on the Lord - only speaking when prompted by the Holy Spirit. This carried on until the late 1900’s when they adopted a more traditional church format.
Then in the 18th Century the early Methodists…Continue
These are rife at the moment - accusations back and forth about who's done this, that or the other. What we're seeing as we look at church history is that there's been a different kind of conspiracy taking place and it goes right back to the Third Century when Constantine adopted Christianity as the state religion. By making it the state religion he imposed a structure on the church that it was never supposed to come under. He knew that he was never going to…Continue
What should a disciple look like? We know we’re all called to persevere, to continue in the word - all the important things Jesus said to his followers. But there seems to be one element that we ignore to our peril. In John 13, Jesus states in no uncertain terms what he’s looking for:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one…Continue
We read in Zephaniah 3:17:
"The Lord . . . will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
I wanted to tell you about an incident that happened the morning after the AzusaNow event in Los Angeles. I was driving to pick up a friend for breakfast before going together to the Anaheim Vineyard Church. It was about a 45-minute drive and I wasn't entirely sure where his hotel was so I had set my SatNav to take me there.…