Potter’s House Christian Fellowship

A Pentecostal organization with controversial practices

Religion: Christianity
Denomination: Non-denominational
Founder: Wayman Mitchell
Founded: 1970
Location: Worldwide
Size: Over 2,000 churches and several hundred thousand members
Other Names: The Door Church, Victory Chapel, Christian Fellowship Ministries

The Potter’s House Christian Fellowship, officially known as Christian Fellowship Ministries (CFM), is a Pentecostal Christian organization established in Prescott, Arizona, by Wayman Mitchell in 1970. The movement arose from Mitchell’s departure from the Foursquare Gospel Church due to disagreements over pastoral training methodologies. This led to the formation of a distinct fellowship with a network that, according to the organization’s claims, spans 2,100 churches across 43 states and 114 countries globally, headquartered in Prescott, Arizona. The Potter’s House Christian Fellowship operates under various names in different locations, including “The Door,” “The Lighthouse,” “Living Waters,” “Victory Chapel,” “Crossroads Chapel,” and “La Puerta”​​.

The doctrine of Potter’s House Christian Fellowship aligns closely with that of other Pentecostal movements, particularly the Assemblies of God, in terms of beliefs and practices. A central tenet is the doctrine of a second baptism of the Holy Spirit, which purportedly enhances a believer’s salvation experience. This baptism is evidenced by the manifestation of spiritual “sign gifts,” with a particular emphasis on the gift of tongues. Additionally, the fellowship subscribes to the belief in faith healings, interpreting the atonement of Christ to include physical healing. The organization enforces a hierarchical structure of authority where a head pastor, supported by a board of elders, exercises significant control over both ministry and personal aspects of members’ lives, including educational, career, and marital decisions. This leadership style, along with a legalistic approach to tithing and a strong emphasis on financial giving as a prerequisite for receiving God’s blessings, has been a source of controversy​​.

The fellowship has faced criticism for practices that are perceived as controlling and for a leadership structure that may lack adequate spiritual maturity and discernment due to the young age and limited biblical training of those in positions of authority. Such concerns have been amplified by reports and exposés over the years, highlighting the controlling nature of the leadership, the undue emphasis on financial contributions, and the challenges faced by members who decide to leave the fellowship. Allegations include isolation from families upon joining and ostracization upon departure, alongside the enforcement of tithing as essential for maintaining a right relationship with God. These issues have led some observers and former members to caution against involvement with the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship, citing its deviation from more widely accepted Christian practices and beliefs​​.

Despite the controversies, The Potter’s House Christian Fellowship continues to assert its mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to establish churches globally. It emphasizes the importance of disciple-making, adhering to the biblical command to teach all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The movement encourages the functioning of the nine gifts of the Spirit and seeks to provide a platform for members to find the full expression of their lives in alignment with God’s will. With a focus on reaching out to the unsaved, lost, weary, hurting, and broken, the Potter’s House aims to share God’s love and saving grace, inviting individuals to develop a personal and saving relationship with Jesus Christ​​.

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