Beloved Pastor John C. McClure passes to his reward

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By Mark Ellis

John and Margie McClure
John and Margie McClure

One of the founding pastors of the Vineyard movement, John C. McClure, passed into the loving arms of his Savior Friday night due to complications of an ATV accident he suffered last month. He was 70 years old.

McClure lost control of the ATV July 19th during an outing with his brothers and cousin in the mountains near Pagosa Springs, Colorado. He hit a tree, which resulted in fractures to his head, all his ribs on one side, and a small break in his lower spinal column.

After the accident he was airlifted to a hospital in New Mexico and was able to take his first steps a week after the tragic incident, prior to his return to Orange County, California.

Only a week ago, doctors reported he was recovering well, according to his son-in-law, Mark Ostgaard. But on Friday night he complained of weakness and difficulty breathing and was taken to Hoag Hospital Irvine in the early hours of August 8th, where he was pronounced dead.

“It came as an absolute shock,” Ostgaard says. “Before the accident he was strong, healthy and vibrant.”

Through his close association and friendship with John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard movement, both men started churches in their homes that grew into thriving churches. With McClure at the helm of the Newport Beach Vineyard, the church grew to about 2500 active members.

“He lived his life for the glory of God,” says Dr. George Wood. “He was a good friend a lover of Jesus,” Wood says.

Remarkably, McClure heard a call to ministry even before he became a follower of Jesus at age 10. In the early 60s he led Navigator Bible studies on campus at Cal Poly Pomona.

He also led the College Department at Lake Avenue Congregational Church in Pasadena, serving on the staff under Pastor Ray Ortlund, who became his father-in-law after his marriage to Margie Ortlund.

In 1963 he experienced an “outpouring of the Spirit” at a Navigator conference in Glen Erie, Colorado. Peter Wagner introduced him to John Wimber in 1973, and Wimber invited him to become his assistant at Fuller Evangelistic Association.

John holding his daughter Lisa, 1969
John holding his daughter Lisa, 1969

McClure became a founding member of the Board of the Association of Vineyard Churches.

“Our Lord’s gracious signs, wonders, healings and miracles that followed almost daily thereafter are well documented in several books—everything from the blind receiving their sight, to demons being cast out, to the dead literally being raised in Jesus’ Name,” McClure recounted in an on-line biography about this stirring season in his life.

Until Wimber passed away in 1997, they traveled worldwide, addressing thousands in training conferences, with teaching about healing, power evangelism, signs and wonders, spiritual warfare, the gifts of the Spirit, worship, prayer, and church growth.

They also started The Word and the Spirit weekday radio broadcast in 1995, which continued through 2002.

McClure family
McClure family

While he lived for the glory of God, he shared some of the highs, lows, pain and disappointment of some of the greatest men of Scripture. In July, 2009 he had open-heart surgery, the same year Margie was found to have cancer and endured a year of treatments.

“God was with us and also gave us miracles, extending both our lives,” he noted later.

A memorial service for John will be held Saturday, August 15th at 1:00 p.m. at the Vineyard Church of Anaheim, located at 5340 E. La Palma Avenue, Anaheim.

6 COMMENTS

  1. What a surprise! Pastor John and I, over the past couple of years, have walked through difficulties together. We would have lunch together and talk about what the Lord has been doing in our lives and what we are looking for Him to do in the future. He would always ask, “Is there anything I can pray for you about?” Of which I would respond……and he would immediately say, “Let’s pray about that right now”. I will miss him so much because he was a solid man in Christ, I looked up to as my example, and I felt really safe opening up my heart completely when ever we talked.

    I cannot wait to see him sitting with Jesus at the “Head of the Class” where he belongs for sharing his life with so many. He will be missed…..

  2. Before Vineyard, Pastor John was pastor of Calvary Chapel of Whittier. This is where I was saved. Soon after, a group of us went with the McClures to Israel. And there we were baptized in the river Jordan by Pastor John. I will never forget you and your family. GB!

  3. Pastor John McClure is the reason that I attended a Sunday morning worship service at the
    Vineyard Newport in Costa Mesa, CA. during Febr., 2006. Although having accepted Jesus
    as my Lord and Savior in 1980 I had not been to a Christian church service in fifteen years
    prior to that Sunday.
    That day in ’06 began an eight year journey that can only be described as “blessed”.
    What an experience! So many great moments; so many wonderful people.
    Pastor John McClure exemplified “O good and faithful servant”.
    For me; it was an honor and a blessing. This man was a man of God.

  4. I remember you both from Lake Avenue youth group, and John was the kindest and most caring person, even in high school. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Margie.

  5. John was my Big Brother when I entered Fuller Seminary in 1967. He and Patty and I and Margie
    exchanged dinners once a week for Fellowship and Prayer. We both worked on the College Staff at Lake Ave. We also had churches near each other in Whittier and La Habra, and exchanged pulpits. We lost track after we moved to pastor a church in Carmel.
    Patty and I are so sad to hear of Johns death.He was a true man of God
    We will keep Margie in our prayers.
    Jon and Patty Wilson

  6. MY FONDEST MEMORY OF PASTOR JOHN~

    WHILE IN CHINA, HE WAS DEEPLY MOVED BY THE MINISTRY OF JACKIE PULINGERS OUTREACHED. MOVED TO TEARS.

    THIS MADE A PROFOUND IMPRESSION ON ME AND BROUGHT A SENSE OF REAL RESPECT FOR PASTOR JOHN.

    LOVE AND PRAYERS GO OUT TO MARGIE.

    BROTHER PAUL CAIN

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