Our Pastor

Dr. Robert L. Wilks Jr.

In 1987, at the leading of the Holy Spirit, Dr. Robert L. Wilks, Jr., a former Air Force chaplain with the rank of Major resigned his military commission after 11 years to become the Pastor and Founder of Vine-Life Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA.

Dr. Wilks does not teach anything that he does not walk out in his own life. He’ll tell you that he doesn’t just teach the Word, he lives the Word. One thing that is so unique about his teaching style is that he makes his life transparent to those he teaches. He believes in leading by example.  Dr. Wilks teaches   Partnership with the Man of God, Embracing the Dream of God For Your Life, Righteousness, Tithes & Offerings, and Personal Experience with God. Dr. Wilks doesn’t teach “Partnering with Your Man of God”, because he “…desires a gift: but that fruit may abound to your account.” Philippians 4:17

Wherever Dr. Wilks  goes, he is making an impact and being a blessing not just to the body of Christ, but to all. Dr. Wilks is well known for his generosity- not just in the time he devotes to helping others, but financially as well. He is adamant about his giving.


Prior to his tour of duty in the military, Dr. Wilks completed his education by earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and a Master of Divinity degree from Atlanta University Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Wilks received his Doctorate of Ministry degree from Friends International Christian University in Merced, California.


Dr. Robert L. Wilks, Jr. has been married to his wife, Freda, for over 42 years and has one daughter named Robyn (Smooch) and a son-in-law, Pastor George Echols, Jr.


In addition to his duties as pastor, Dr. Wilks travels across the United States taking the message of worship and prosperity to the Body of Christ. Many appreciate his ‘down-to-earth’ preaching and teaching style. Dr. Wilks has authored the following books:

  • Partnership With My Man of God
  • Seven Reasons Why You Need to Make a Decision Today
  • Changing Your Financial Focus
  • Seven Keys to Trigger Financial Increase
  • The Cry of the Poor and God’s Answer
  • Holiness
  • The One Thing Principle
  • My Identity With Abraham


The life of Dr. Robert L. Wilks, Jr. and the ministry of Vine-Life Christian Fellowship

July 13

Robert L. Wilks, Jr. was born in Dayton, Ohio, to Robert and Evelyn Wilks. He has one sister, Bobbie Jean Shockley.


He was licensed to preach by the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME). Although now a pastor of a non-denominational church, Dr. Wilks will always be extremely grateful to the CME denomination and especially to his Father in the ministry, Bishop Marshall Gilmore. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Central State University and with the help of the CME Church, Dr. Wilks was able to attend and graduate from the Interdenominational Theological Center of Atlanta University in Atlanta, GA.


Received his Master of Divinity Degree and married Freda. Three years later, they had a daughter named Robyn (Smooch).


Dr. Wilks was commissioned by the United States Air Force as a Protestant Chaplain with the rank of Captain, subsequently serving his country at bases in Virginia (Langley), Alaska (Elmendorf) and California (Sunnymead, now Moreno Valley).


With the rank of Major, the burning desire to found his own church led him to resign his commission from the service and establish Vine-Life Christian Fellowship in Riverside, CA.


Chapel 1 at March Air Force Base


Chapel 2 (Gospel service) in Arnold Heights


May 3

First service of Vine-Life Christian Fellowship


Robert Wilks Ministries, Inc. was established


September 22

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new building


The doors of the new building were opened on May 1st. Later this year, Dr. Wilks received his Doctorate of Divinity degree from Friends International University. On that same day, he presented his first book, “The Cry of the Poor and God’s Answer.”