Martyn and Linda have been in full time Christian ministry since the early 1980's. Part of that time was spent working in two Anglican Churches in Bolton and Cambridge 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 and leadership & ministry training. An important aspect of the church as it has evolved has been the development of strategic training tracks - including the Kingdom Life Academy - which has the practical focus of hands-on equipping for ministry, leadership, pastoral care and church planting. Martyn and Linda are also available for consultation with current church leaders.
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 and beyond.
The church was profoundly influenced by the world-wide move of the Holy Spirit in 1994, and held many renewal meetings that year, attended by a wide variety of people from all over the north-west. In 1998 we became independent of the Vineyard movement, but we kept the name as we had established momentum in the city and we have never abandoned our Vineyard ‘DNA’. 1998 also saw the start of Reach on Sunday evenings. Into the 21st century we continued to host a number of conference with guest speakers from around the world, including John & Carol Arnott and Rick Joyner.
In 2007 God began to speak to us about changing our name – so on 1st January 2008 we became ‘Vinelife Church Manchester’ – It was a name chosen to reflect our heritage in the Vineyard movement and also to speak of what God is going to do with us as we move forward – new growth, new life!
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 released them to develop Vinelife UK and, subsequently, Kingdom Enterprise. Hence the Vinelife Churches are associated with and relate to Kingdom Enterprise. Through these avenues they care for and network with leaders in the Manchester area and beyond.
Martyn and Linda's focus is on releasing God's people to hear His voice and do his works. 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 in these days.
They have travelled to many nations to fulfil this vision including the USA, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Faroe Islands, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, India, The Czech Republic, Ukraine and Russia - as well as many places in the UK.
studies and ordination
They both have a background of Theological training - Martyn gained a BA in Theology and Pastoral Studies in London before being ordained in the Church of England in the early 1980's; Linda gained an MA in Theology from Manchester University in 2009 after studying at the Nazarene Theological College in Didsbury.
In September 1989 Martyn and Linda were ordained by The Association of Vineyard Churches at The Vineyard Church of the Rockies in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA.
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 9 grandchildren!