His Life & Ministry by Connie Dawson
John Wimber (1934–1997) has been called one of the most important and controversial figures in North American evangelicalism in the twentieth century. This sensitive and compelling biography of his life and ministry ultimately tells the story of a man with humble—and, some might say, surprising—beginnings, who is called and moved by God to eventually impact the hearts of millions.
The first book-length biographical treatment of his life, John Wimber: His Life and Ministry takes you from the day of his birth—also the day his father abandons him—through his self-proclaimed “pagan upbringing” and young-adult life, complete with illicit-drug use, heavy drinking, and membership in the well-known Righteous Brothers band. As his journey continues, you get a glimpse into his often humorous but refreshing navigation through life as a newborn Christian, a process that culminates in the definitive Holy Spirit encounter that forms Wimber’s understanding of power healing and evangelism—and ultimately the very foundation of his ministry and career. The book contains a discussion of his doctrine, influences, and critics, along with the controversy; the formation of the Vineyard movement; his famous MC510 Signs and Wonder’s class at Fuller, the birth of revival and the Third Wave; his involvement with the Kansas City Prophets and his reaction to the Toronto Outpouring; rounding out the narrative is his physical decline, death and the celebration of his life and legacy.
Called “historically faithful and theologically insightful,” John Wimber: His Life and Ministry is both moving and well-documented, promising to appeal to the lay reader and theological scholar alike as they become acquainted with one of the twentieth century’s most influential voices in the kingdom of God.
Dr. Connie Dawson has taken on the exhilarating yet challenging task of writing an inspiring and comprehensive biography of a great Christian leader. In his lifetime, Wimber envisioned thousands of pastors and leaders like myself, and now he will inspire you with his life, insights, and teachings.
Founder of International House of Prayer
When I heard that Connie Dawson had written this biography about Wimber, I was overjoyed. She artfully tells the story of Wimber's life with loving accuracy that will appeal to a broad audience. A new generation needs to know about this man who so powerfully impacted the church in the second half of the twentieth century. I encourage everyone to read it, and get ready to be inspired!
Founder and President, Global Awakening
I am so pleased to see Dr. Connie Dawson’s book, John Wimber: His Life and Ministry, enter the public market. It is an important read. Important for those in the Vineyard who did not have the great privilege of knowing Wimber; important for those not in the Vineyard to gain an understanding of this vessel of honor made of clay. For those of you who have wished you could have known him, I encourage you to get to know him by reading this book. Thank you, Dr. Dawson, for the years of work and research you have spent on this labor of love.
John Wimber: His Life & Ministry
Former Pastor, Toronto Airport Vineyard
Vinson Synan Ph.D
Scholar in Residence, Oral Roberts University
Dean Emeritus, Regent University School of Divinity
This excellent biography, John Wimber: His Life and Ministry, seeks to present an objective overview of the major events of Wimber from the perspective of one outside the Vineyard. It also attempts to better understand this man, who has been called one of the most important and controversial figures in North American evangelicalism in the twentieth century. Well written and highly documented, it presents a comprehensive picture of Wimber’s life. It should stand the test of time as the definitive biography of Wimber.
Mark J. Chironna, D.Min.
Mark Chironna Ministries
Church on the Living Edge, Longwood, Florida
In Brooklyn, New York, in the late seventies, my then new wife and I lived in an apartment owned by a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary. This landlord, who was involved in church growth initiatives in the greater New York City area, brought in Peter Wagner, whom he had studied with previously, to address pastors and cell-group leaders. Peter, in turn, had brought someone with him named John Wimber. That night, John slept in the basement bedroom of our three-story apartment. Little did I know how much a part this man would play in what would become known, because of his seminal influence, as the Third Wave movement.
This narrative of John’s journey by Dr. Connie Dawson both draws you in as a reader and gives you a front-row seat to the unfolding of a life that has impacted millions for Christ and the kingdom of God. Connie’s writing brilliance shines as she carefully and faithfully takes the reader from John’s beginnings all the way through his sustained and arduous journey as a pioneer and father in a movement whose impact continues to this day, even after his homegoing. Connie tells the whole story, including the sufferings and challenges John faced both as a preacher of the gospel and as one who saw many healed, while he himself was beleaguered with much physical suffering.
Connie’s work is masterful, historically faithful, and theologically insightful. For the lay reader and the academic scholar alike, there is much here to glean and contemplate. Connie is indeed a scholar, and yet her writing makes this work accessible to all who are hungry and interested in an important part of Pentecostal history. My prayer is that the emerging generation will take time to become acquainted, through the pages of her book, with the life of one of the twentieth century’s most compelling and cogent voices in the kingdom of God.
Bishop Joseph L. Garlington Sr., Ph.D.
Senior Pastor of Covenant Church of Pittsburgh
I met John Wimber in Pasadena, California in 1985, while I was attending Fuller Theological Seminary. In fact, I went to Fuller because of the “Signs and Wonders” course that John initiated at Fuller. A few weeks before my departure from Fuller, John had dinner with Barbara and me and it was an amazing time of encouragement and impartation. It was the last time I would have an encounter with him. I believe biographies of great people should be written by people who love and admire the persons about who they are writing. This does not require unbridled adulation that ignores human flaws, but places them in crucible of life and delivers a sane estimate of the person. My friend, Dr. Connie Dawson has done just the kind of project that gives us the needed perspective of a person who carried a “glorious treasure” in “common clay jars.” (Passion Translation) I needed this book, it answered questions about Wimber, to which I needed answers. The Church needs this book, it will yield insights into Wimber’s life, work and ministry. Dr. Dawson’s work is scholarly, and honoring and I believe it will bring glory through a life that impacted so many for the kingdom.
Former Editor, Charisma magazine
Set My Heart on Fire and other books
The Mordecai Project
Connie Dawson writes with grace and sensitivity—which is the only way I would want anyone to treat Wimber’s exemplary life. This book should be read by anyone who is hungry for more of God’s power. And it should be read especially by leaders who are willing to take the risks associated with spiritual revival.
Rev. Paul W. Lewis, Ph.D.
Associate DeanAssemblies of God Theological Seminary
Few ministers in the last quarter of the twentieth century have had the impact and influence on the North American church like John Wimber. Who was he? Dr. Connie Dawson has delivered a well-research tome that, at last, pulls back the curtain on this man’s life and ministry. This engaging, readable, and inspirational volume on Wimber is well-worth the time and effort to come to a greater understanding and appreciation of the man and his impact on the church domestically and globally.
Caleb J. D. Maskell, Ph.D.
Founder, Society of Vineyard Scholars
Connie Dawson has done a great service in producing the first full-length biographical treatment of the life of John Wimber. Paying close attention to detail without losing track of the bigger story, she introduces readers to the fascinating life of a humble leader who had a profound effect on the western church in the second half of the twentieth century. Students of Wimber’s life and legacy—and any who hunger for ongoing charismatic renewal in the church—will not want to miss this book!
John Wimber’s son
In John Wimber: His Life and Ministry, Dr. Connie Dawson recounts the steps God took my father through and shows him as a man, obediently trusting to see “God’s Ministry” and not build his own. For those who never met my dad this book gives background for a lot of what the Vineyard movement believes and a theology for supernatural ministry.