The Assembly (George Geftakys)

A religious group with a vision of New Testament gathering, marred by leadership controversy and cultic dynamics.

The Assembly, founded by George and Betty Geftakys in 1970, began with the objective of reverting to a New Testament pattern of Christian gathering. George Geftakys, a graduate of Talbot Seminary and an ordained Baptist minister, became disillusioned with the Plymouth Brethren’s approach, leading him to establish the Assembly.

Formation and Expansion

The first Assembly originated from weekend seminars held by George Geftakys in his home, attended by about 35 young people, including Christian students involved in the “Jesus movement.” The seminars aimed to inspire a deeper Christian faith and introduce the concept of believers becoming “overcomers” and corporately expressing Christ according to a New Testament pattern. This pattern was Geftakys’s interpretation of what the Plymouth Brethren had failed to achieve.

The Assembly initially conducted weekly Sunday services and Bible studies in Fullerton, California, following a Brethren-like pattern of preaching. George Geftakys was the predominant preacher, especially during the Sunday afternoon sessions and weekly Bible studies. The group also engaged in various gospel outreaches, including campus Bible studies and open-air preaching.

Geographical Spread and Influence

Following a six-month trip by George and Betty Geftakys across the U.S. and Europe, people from various locations began to visit Fullerton for seminars, and assemblies were established in other areas. These smaller assemblies typically had 2 to 5 men designated as “leading brothers,” directly accountable to George Geftakys. The leading brothers in each assembly were expected to have full-time jobs in addition to their church responsibilities, although George Geftakys and some others were supported full-time in the ministry.

Cultic Accusations and Implosion

The Assembly’s ministry came apart in 2003 when George Geftakys’s serious moral failures were exposed, leading to his excommunication from the Fullerton Assembly. The revelations included a cover-up of his son David’s domestic violence and George’s immoral relations with several Assembly women. Following these disclosures, most of the Assemblies disbanded. The situation revealed cultic dynamics such as unaccountable authoritarian leadership, mind-numbing indoctrination, elitism, invasive control, and constant exploitation of time and assets.

Aftermath and Current Status

The betrayal of trust among former members of the Assembly is profound, with deep and enduring emotional, psychological, social, relational, and spiritual damages. As of now, most of the former Assemblies have disbanded. However, some groups continue to meet, distancing themselves from the Geftakys ministry. They are attempting to hide their Assembly past and presenting themselves as groups of simple Christians with no history connected to the Geftakys Assembly.

After George Geftakys’s death in 2014 and Betty Geftakys’s death in 2022, most former Assemblies have disbanded. However, some groups continue to meet, with various degrees of connection to the original Assembly and its practices.