Fellowship history: CFM Was Not Started in 1970
Something that keeps coming up is this little blurb about how the fellowship was started. Sounding like the mythology that it is, it goes something like, "In 1970 Wayman O. took a small congregation of people in Prescott, Arizona, and thus the mighty Christian Fellowship Ministries was birthed......."
What really happened was that Foursquare gave Wayman O. a small church in Prescott, Arizona. As I recall, the church had just had a major split due to the fact that the pastor ran off with the piano player, and the pastor's son ran off with the piano players daughter. It had been running about 70 people and was now running about 35 people.
First off, these were dedicated people to have stayed after a situation like this. Very little is said about that fact. So, Wayman O. came into a small, but dedicated group of Foursquare people.
Wayman O. himself admitted that up until this point he was not a success. Could his success been vitally linked to this small group of people? And what of Foursquare? In spite of his past lack of success, Foursquare leadership was willing to give Wayman O. another shot at pastoring. Wayman had even sat out of ministry for a year and a half. I wonder why?
Wayman O. did not have to rent a storefront, but had a Foursquare building. He had legal covering from Foursquare. He was a graduate of their Bible school. He was a licensed Foursquare minister.
Wayman O. tapped into the Jesus people movement which was largely a movement that converted hippies to Jesus. He copied several things from other ministries. Reading the book, The Master Plan of Evangelism, he decided to disciple his own men as opposed to sending them to Bible school. I firmly believe that the motivation behind this decision was to keep control of the couples in his church. Sending them to Bible school would put them squarely under the leadership of Foursquare. This was the beginning of the undermining of Foursquare leadership in Wayman's "ministry".
Wayman preached in such a way as to make every young man and woman in his church feel called to preach. Marriages abounded as the church grew and soon there were dozens of young couples eager to be sent out.
The first couple to be sent out was Harold and Mona Warner to Kearny, Arizona. They took a small congregation there, and Foursquare consented to try Mitch's plan of sending out his own men. The people in the church did not like Harold and asked Foursquare for another pastor. On the way back from Kearny, Harold was driving with Ron Jones. He hit an oil slick on the road, rolled the car, and although Jones escaped with minor injuries, Harold was paralyzed from the waist down.
People in the Prescott Foursquare Chruch began to think that maybe God was not into this church planting thing, but Mitch got up and preached that they were not going to let the Devil stop them. Ron Burrell was sent out next, with Harold being sent out again a short time later, this time to Tucson, Arizona.
When I came into the Door, Foursquare Gospel Church, in December of 1975, there were about five churches in what was being called, The Arizona Fellowship, and the only conference was Prescott conference. Tucson did their first conference in April of 1976.
Almost immediately upon coming into the Door I heard how messed up the denomination that we were a part of really was. I heard this preached. Bible school was ridiculed, as was just about every other church in existence. We were IT. We were what God was doing in the last days, and these were surely the last days.
We sometimes panicked, thinking that Jesus would come back before we had a chance to get sent out. For those of us who were single, we were desperate to get married so that we could be eligible to be sent out. How romantic!
In order to fulfill this call to be sent out we were willing to do anything it took. This turned out to be anything it took to please the pastor, for he alone, and not God, held the power to send us out or pass over us.
The church planting took off. Soon we had thirty or so churches, and all the serious disciples were biting at the bit to be sent out. At one point Wayman O. went to Australia. He came back besides himself with glee. He said in a service in Tucson that we could take the top 15 disciples from the Tucson church and rapidly plant churches in West Australia. This was one of the first times that a real call was being given to go outside the U.S. At least it seemed real. I don't know if to this day, more 25 years later, if there is a single Tucson disciple in Australia pastoring.
But the fuel to the fire of passion for getting sent out was constantly stoked. Getting sent out was the ultimate. As we ventured outside the Southwest Foursquare District a new issue arose. We were taught to be loyal to our pastors who sent us out, and Wayman O. We were taught that these were our true headship from God. However, Foursquare saw it differently.
Foursquare allowed Wayman O. to bypass their Bible college. However, they expected that as the Arizona Fellowship planted churches outside the Southwest District, that these men would have proper relationship with Foursquare area leadership. This was an abomination to Wayman O.
Wayman O. began to preach passionately on the sovereignty of the local church. The local church was God's plan to evangelize the world. Any force that would interfere with the sovereignty of the local church was Satanic. Thus Foursquare was even more painted as the instrument of Satan to stop revival.
Men who were sent out were told to just play along with Foursquare leadership. I was one of those who would go to Foursquare meetings and be pleasant. But we were told on no uncertain terms that Foursquare leaders were merely figure heads. Our real leadership was our pastor, and Wayman O.
I have gone over the break up with Foursquare before on other posts. To be brief, at one point Wayman O. decided to leave Prescott, with Greg Johnson as pastor, and become the pastor of the Perth, West Australia, Potter's House. During that period, January 1981, to January, 1982, Greg Johnson and Harold Warner got really chummy with Foursquare leadership. Upon hearing this, Wayman O. hightailed it to the January 1982 conference and preached every night. It was apparent that he was gunning for Foursquare.
Shortly thereafter, Mitch returned to Prescott, ousting the disfavored Johnson, and created more tension. He started planting non Foursquare churches out of Prescott. That is when Foursquare leadership drew a line in the sand. Mitch was to get in line or get out. He decided to leave.
After years of sowing dischord with Foursquare amongst those of us who were pastoring, Mitch had no problem getting us all to condemn the wicked denomination and leave. Mitch made a real stink about Foursquare property, making the Foursquare leaders out as those who steal the houses of God. Ron Jones took an offering at Prescott conference to buy back the Prescott church's building. The money came in. Others lost their buildings, but had the peace of mind knowing that Mitch had been spared.
Circa 1983, Christian Fellowship Ministries was formed. We had no legal covering. We were left to flounder for the first couple of years concerning licensing and other legal issues. But Mitch sent out a document. In it he declared that all of our churches would be sovereign local churches which could determine their own destiny. At this point, all I can say is, "Animal Farm". (If you are not familiar with the book, it is a great book to read, especially for current and ex fellowship members. By George Orwell.)
In the end, we were given no real legal covering. Although we were required to constantly pay the tithing pyramid, there was no reciprical legal structure. We were on our own as far as our needs went, but he had better make sure that we paid our church tithes and offerings besides.
Mitch had appointed leaders of the Arizona Fellowship in the past. After the break, the leaders included Ron Jones, Harold Warner, Hank Houghton, Bill Coolidge, Harry Hills, Mike Mastin, Rudy Van Dierman, Jack Harris, Greg Johnson, Mike Nevelle, Larry Nevelle, and a few others. What? They weren't preaching the last Prescott conference? Really? What happened?
Christian Fellowship Ministries was founded on a lie. The local churches were anything but sovereign. It wasn't founded in 1970. What was the name of Wayman O.'s church until 1983? It was the Prescott Foursquare Gospel Church. Not the Potter's House. Not the Door. Not Victory Chapel. The Prescott Foursquare Gospel Church. There was no CFM. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
A mere 7 years after this was the first major break. Now let's review this, and let's be fair. OK? Ron Jones was given a church by Foursquare, not by Mitch, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was a church of 35 people, just like the Prescott, Foursquare Church was when Mitch took it. Ron built that church up to 700 people. Ron did not leave Foursquare right away when the break came, but after a year of Mitch pressuring him, he broke off and had to pay for or leave his building. In late 1989, Ron asked to be released to be his own fellowship. He was flatly refused by Mitch.
Now wait a minute. Mitch always said, "If you do what I do, you can have what I have." Another lie. When Ron tried to do that, he was branded a rebel, and Mitch did everything that he could to destroy Ron Jones. This is not second hand information. I spoke at length with Ron Jones in 1994 when I left the fellowship.
Does hypocrisy come to mind? Does, "Whatever a man sows he will reap", come to mind? How any thinking person who looks at the facts can justify that religious parasite in Prescott is beyond me. Ah, but that is the key. Looking at the facts. Facts really bother some people. They perfer myths. The problem is that those who wrote the epic tales of, Mitch, the Legendary Journeys, have also been cast out of the fellowship. As one man would say, "So sad."
Christian Fellowship Ministries, aka, CFM, has been around only a bit over 20 years. In that time they have had two major splits. All the original leaders are gone except one, and even he is not on the new and improved board of elders any more. Thousands of people have been seriously ripped off by this lying religious organization. Still, people who are currently trapped in it won't listen to those of us who have been thus abused.
So, please spare me the mythology. I was there. Those who compare Wayman O. to Moses, or David, or one of the prophets, or Jesus, or God, are woefully deceived. He is the opposite. If you want a Biblical charater to compare Wayman O. to then look to Diotrephes, in 3 John. Wayman loves to be first.
3 John 9-10
I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.