Christian Fellowship Churches

A global network of Pentecostal churches emphasizing evangelism, church planting, and discipleship.

Christian Fellowship Ministries, commonly identified with The Potter’s House, The Door, and Victory Chapel churches, represents a global network of Pentecostal congregations that originated from a significant shift within the Foursquare Church in 1983. This movement, led by Wayman Mitchell, evolved into an independent fellowship after Mitchell and his followers severed ties with Foursquare due to disagreements and complaints lodged against Mitchell’s leadership at the Foursquare convention.

The fellowship experienced further division in the 1990s and early 2000s, with significant groups of churches leaving the network, citing restrictions and disagreements with the overarching leadership. Despite these splits, Christian Fellowship Ministries has continued to grow, boasting over 3,460 churches worldwide as of July 2023. The organization is known for its extensive reach, with churches and conference centers spread across continents including Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, and South America.

Core to the doctrine and practice of Christian Fellowship Churches is a strong emphasis on Pentecostal beliefs such as salvation by faith, the infallibility of the Bible, faith healing, and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Evangelism and church planting are central to the movement’s mission, often realized through street evangelism, music concerts, movie nights, and revival meetings aimed at converting individuals and expanding church membership. Pastors receive in-house training through a discipleship model rather than formal theological education, focusing on mentorship and on-the-job training over a three-year period before they are sent out to start new churches.

The fellowship also holds faith healing meetings open to the public, promoting the belief that physical ailments can be cured through spiritual means, including forgiveness and conversion to Christianity. Financially, the organization relies on tithing from its members and has a pyramid-like structure for the distribution of finances among its churches, with contributions flowing upward toward the mother church and the head church in Prescott, Arizona.

Despite its growth and widespread presence, Christian Fellowship Ministries has faced criticism and controversy, particularly regarding its leadership practices, the intense level of commitment demanded from members, and the treatment of those who leave the church. Allegations of controlling behavior, psychological and emotional pressure, and the shunning of former members have led to the labeling of the fellowship by some as a cult. Critics argue that the church employs fear tactics and manipulates members into compliance and unwavering loyalty to the church and its leadership, often equating dissent with spiritual rebellion​​​​.

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