You’ve heard of Gunner Payne, right?? Just kidding…..I’d almost be willing to bet the whole ranch that you’ve never heard of him. But Gunner Payne changed the world in an extremely profound way. Gunner was a Quaker; You actually have heard of the Quakers, but if you’re like me you don’t know much about them.
Gunner had a regular Bible study, in the early ’60s, in his hometown of Yorba Linda, California. It was in ’62 that Dick Heying, a professional drummer, took his bandleader and his wife to Gunner’s Bible study. Not too long after that (early ’63) both were saved. They became very faithful as Gunner took them ‘under his wing’ as a mentor and father in the Lord. It wasn’t long before John and Carol were winning people to the Lord themselves. John, a professional musician, was the person who put The Righteous Brothers together. Over the next few years, literally, hundreds came to know Jesus in a personal way. John later said that he just mimicked Gunner’s behavior and attitude.
Gunner’s life wasn’t without some major obstacles; his little 4-year-old daughter was kidnapped by a migrant farm worker from a neighboring community who raped and murdered her. The incident brought about a lot of national media attention that went on for months. It was obviously a tragedy of epic proportions. The fascinating part of the story to me is what happened next; Gunner Payne went to the prison where the murderer was incarcerated at least once a month….until he finally won his little girl’s killer to the Lord!
Oh….and that John and Carol we were talking about…..that’s the Wimber’s. And while John Wimber didn’t initiate the Vineyard Movement, he’s the one that the Lord used to bring it to worldwide prominence and influence. (Now over 1500 churches worldwide) And, if you’re in church today and not singing from a denominational hymnal…..you’re singing songs that were directly influenced by Wimber and the Vineyard Movement. It brought a new style of worship to the forefront, worldwide, and spawned great worship leaders across the globe. John was a huge proponent of ‘signs and wonders’ and his ministry was marked with miracles of every kind. Hundreds of thousands have come to know the Lord because of the ministry of John Wimber.
You just never know what might happen with the people that you’re willing to invest in!
And that’s how Gunner Payne changed the world!