Foundation in a Local Church
In the 1980s David Pytches (then vicar of St Andrew's, Chorleywood) longed to see ‘the spontaneous expansion’ of the Church in this country. He had seen this happen in Chile, while Bishop there. Through a growing friendship with John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard Church in the USA, he realised that one of the keys is the equipping of ordinary Christians for ministry through the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit.
John visited David’s church, and held public conferences which stirred up great hunger and interest from churches across the nation. David began a series of one-day conferences in St Andrew's for church leaders, and in 1987/8 residential mid-week conferences at Swanwick.
Church leaders looked to David for leadership, and to St Andrew's as an example of a local church joyfully transformed by the Holy Spirit and engaging in effective mission in a contemporary way.
New Wine's first Summer Conference
This was attended by about 2,400 people at the Royal Bath & West Showground in 1989. The name 'New Wine' was chosen as a good biblical description of the new life in the Spirit being offered.
Leaders brought their church families to attend the conference for a week; a full programme of worship, Bible teaching, seminars, and entertainment was offered to adults, youth and children alike. Each year more churches brought more people and by 1993 the youth work had grown so greatly under Mike Pilavachi’s leadership that it became a separate movement, Soul Survivor.
Leadership and Network Development
In 1990 Teddy and Margaret Saunders came to Chorleywood to help David to equip leaders more effectively. Originally known as ‘Hensol’ Retreats, these New Wine Leaders' Retreats have now been run in many different countries.
In 1998 the Church Leaders Network was formed to gather leaders into local network groups so that they could receive mutual personal support, leadership training, and encouragement in the ministry of the Spirit throughout the year. An annual national leaders’ conference was started in 1999.
Through identifying with others with the same vision and values a ‘family’ of churches has developed which transcends denominational differences. The growth of the summer conferences has accelerated in part because of the formation of the network.
When David retired from Chorleywood in 1996 he asked a number of church leaders who had established New Wine values in their churches to join him in a leadership team. They and their churches are now the driving force behind New Wine. During the 1990s many leaders from abroad attended New Wine leaders' retreats in the UK.
As a result of what they saw and experienced of the Holy Spirit, they were given a similar vision to see God change lives and churches in their own countries.
New Wine International was launched in 1995 and has been expanding ever since. Activities extend far beyond the borders of England, and have spread not only to Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but to ten other countries across four continents.