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The True history. {What the fellowship doesn't tell you}

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  • naboth675
    Most long term fellowship members will have come across the basic statement of the churches history and vision. However like most things in live it stands as
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 24, 2005
      Most long term fellowship members will have come across the basic
      statement of the churches history and vision. However like most
      things in live it stands as an advertisement rather than something
      bringing objective informative facts. While we would normaly expect
      this from busineses ect, it seems we disengage our critical
      faculties when the propaganda comes from a church. The following
      information may help to put the fellowship statement in a more
      acurate context.

      In 1970 Pastor Wayman O Mitchell {an ordained minister with the
      International church of the Foursquare gospel} took up the pastorate
      of a church in Prescott Arizona after having resigned his position
      in two previous Foursquare churches. Around that time there was a
      large scale revival movement affot which was in particular affecting
      the hippie population of the United States. Many churches and groups
      have benefitted from this movement. Pastor Mitchell encouraged many
      of these people to join him in Prescott by convincing them that
      their destiny lay in that particular church.

      Over several years he continualy flouted the rules and regulations
      of his denomination and claimed a divine mandate for doing so. {In
      later years those pastors that flouted his laws would be subject to
      disciplinary procedures and even excommunication with remaining
      members barred from associating with them.}

      Mitchell introduced a number of distinctive elements to his brand of
      Christianity. One of them was a concept of discipleship or
      shepherding which was becoming popular at the time. Another was a
      rigorous evangelism programme which is strongly enforced and
      includes 'impact teams', 'film outreaches', 'concerts' and a number
      of other things.

      Mitchell claims that God himself has given him a pattern for the
      church which Mitchell has for many years fiercely adhered to and
      demanded that others adhere to as well. On many occasions ministers
      from within the fellowship who have tries to work outside of
      this 'fellowship pattern' have come under great pressure to conform.

      The Potters House has claimed to be a superior move of God on the
      earth yet has suffered some remarkable splits over the years. In the
      1980's, the chuches under Wayman Mitchell left the Foursquare
      denomination. Mitchell also took others with him that were not under
      his ministry as well.

      Several years later a large scale split occured in which dozens of
      churches left what was now called cfm {christian fellowship
      ministries}. Many of these were key 'conference' churches. The split
      was very acrimonious and many of these churches were divided by
      those in the Mitchell camp bringing division in the departing
      churches. As a result the numbers in the conference churches
      diminished resulting in an inability financialy for them to support
      the small pioneer works that were linked to them. This caused many
      small churches to close.

      In 2000 another spectacular split occured with many of the leading
      members of the denomination leaving including the fellowship
      president Mike Mastin. Today, of the orginal members of Mitchell's
      central church council, only one man remains and he is no longer has
      a position on the council.

      The growth of the fellowship was rapid at first but has slowed
      dramaticaly. In 1989 it boasted 1,000 churches worldwide. Today
      figures vary and are notoriously inaccurate. The most recent to date
      put the count at 1,600 churches worldwide. {a growth over the last
      16 years of 60% or les than 3% a year}

      While the fellowship boasts that it is touching the world for Jesus
      and many are being saved there is an astonishing fall out rate. It
      is not unusual for a church to be in the possession of several
      hundred convert cards and yet have less than 20 members. The number
      of diciples who eventualy succeed in their goal to become pastors is
      also worryingly small.

      The Potters House do not generaly fellowship or work with other
      denominations. I have often seen this discouraged. On numerous
      occasions I have seen attempts by christians in other churches at
      building bridges rebuffed. Often what chuches get together in a city
      for evangelical purposes the Potters Hosue refuse to be involved.
      The fellowship has developed a dubious reputation among christians
      for it's hostile attitude and separatist mentality. Today the
      fellowship is still active yet despite the massive investment and
      effort put into it's outreach programme the numbers in most of it's
      churches remain stagnant or barely growing.
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