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The Vineyard movement began in South Africa in 1982 with the first church plant. Following Jesus originally started in 1988 as Bryanston Vineyard Christian Fellowship, a plant by Costa Mitchell from the first Vineyard. In 1996 Costa invited Alexander Venter to lead the Bryanston Vineyard.
The years that followed saw the church relocating three times and in the process changing its name to Valley Vineyard. Part of this journey was the fulfillment of a plan to grow the church to a place of health and strength and buy a property to build a community center. By God’s grace and the generous giving of the congregation a wonderful eleven-acre property was acquired and the buildings were renovated. In 2006 the debt-free Vineyard Community Center was opened as the new ‘home’ for Valley Vineyard.
At that time Alexander and his wife, Gill, handed leadership of the church to a younger pastor and relocated his ministry-base, but after some years of leadership shifts and instability, Alexander was invited to return in 2012 to help lead the church again. Valley Vineyard was led through a process of healing and re-forming into a new way forward, and in January 2013 the name of the church was changed to Following Jesus, which was officially launched with Alexander as team leader.
In 2018, Alexander began to prepare for a new season of ministry and the church engaged in a process to discern a new senior pastor to lead the church into a new vision and way forward. Paballo Thekiso, who is married to Refilwe Thekiso and their two daughters Atlegang and Rorisang from GodFirst City in Fourways were invited to join the church and the Vineyard movement as the new team leader for Following Jesus. Paballo was officially installed and ordained as Pastor of the church in January 2019.