Vineyard Christian Fellowship Study, 1988

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Members or Leaders > Other > Summary


Recently North America has witnessed the rapid growth of a new set of thriving sects, independent churches, and new evangelical churches. This study focuses on the members of one of these movements, the Vineyard Christian Fellowship. Although in relative terms the Vineyard remains somewhat small, it has had a significant impact on the religious landscape. The movement, which originated in Southern California, has spread throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia. Currently there are over 300 Vineyards within the United States alone. The success of the Vineyard raises several important questions. This study attempts to address some of these questions by focusing on the religious background of Vineyard switchers and converts, the reasons for their coming to Vineyard, and the ways in which they express their religiosity. In all, a total of 1,009 surveys were collected from 14 Vineyard congregations in California and Washington.

Data File
Cases: 1,009
Variables: 115
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: Spring 1988
Funded By
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion
Religious Research Association
Collection Procedures
Self-administered survey
Sampling Procedures
The population was composed of members of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship from 14 congregations in three counties in Southern California and three counties in Washington. However, this is not a random sample. These 14 congregations were selected because they (1) represent congregations of varying size and locale, and (2) the pastors in these congregations were interested in participating. In general, an attempt was made to obtain a survey from every member of the congregation. If a membership list existed, and the pastor agreed to allow access to that list, surveys were sent directly through the mail. Several follow-up reminders were sent, along with pulpit reminders from the pastor, ultimately producing response rates of 60%-70%. In cases where membership lists were not made available, the surveys, along with a self-addressed envelope, were handed out during a Sunday morning service. The only reminders came from the pastor. This method produced lower response rates (35%-60%).

The leaders of the Vineyard Anaheim (a very large Vineyard) were unwilling to release a list of members and were unwilling to have surveys handed out during Sunday service. Therefore, these surveys were administered to several worship/Bible study groups in the church. Although the response rate was 100% it is obviously a non-representative convenience sample. Overall, for the 14 congregations sampled, a total of 1,009 surveys were returned, with a response rate of 61%.
Principal Investigators
Robin D. Perrin
Related Publications
Perrin, Robin D., Paul Kennedy, and Don Miller "Examining the Sources of Conservative Church Growth: Where are the New Evangelical Movements Getting their Numbers?" Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Vol 36:1 (1997), 71-80.

Perrin, Robin D. and Armand L. Mauss "Strictly Speaking...:Kelly's Quandary and the Vineyard Christian Fellowship." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion Vol. 32:2(1993), 125-135.

Mauss, Armand L. and Robin D. Perrin "Saints and Seriousness: A Reply to Bibby and Brinkerhoff." Review of Religious Research Vol. 34:2(1992), 176-178.

Perrin, Robin D. and Armand L. Mauss "Saints and Seekers: Sources of Recruitment to the Vineyard Christian Fellowship." Review of Religious Research Vol. 33:2(1991), 97-111.