What is the potter's house?
What is the Potter's House?
The Potter’s House Christian Fellowship is a non-denominational church based in the United States of America. It was established in Prescott, Arizona in 1970 by Wayman Mitchell. Originally a part of the Foursquare church, Mitchell split the church away in 1983 and established an independent fellowship. Since then, the church itself has undergone a number of splits. The church has been criticised in a number of areas including high levels of control, extreme commitment requirements, and the mistreatment of former members. It has been labelled by many ex-members as a cult.
In 1969, Wayman Mitchell asked for a ministerial position and was appointed to serve as the minister of the Foursquare church in Prescott, Arizona. Mitchell promoted personal witnessing which saw much church growth, primarily from the youth of the hippie movement and resulted in an overflowing church by the early seventies. Mitchell began to establish new churches which were originally called The Door (and later, these churches were called the Potter’s House), first within Arizona and interstate, then overseas. Mitchell discouraged his disciples from attending bible schools due to his own negative experiences in them so the men who he sent out did not receive full ordinations from Foursquare. According to Nathaniel Van Cleave, Mitchell permitted only his own style of primitive and militant evangelism, isolated his disciples from other Foursquare ministers and as a group, they walked out of conference meetings that they disagreed with. Although Mitchell was the state superintendent, he only focused on his own churches, excluding all other Foursquare churches that were under his care. Over time, this caused resentment among the excluded congregations and at least one church left the denomination as a result.
At the 1983 Foursquare convention, a large number of pastors brought complaints against Mitchell to the executive council meeting. Mitchell made no attempt to respond to the complaints. Instead, he and his followers left the conference. A special meeting was later held with Mitchell in an attempt to establish understanding and continued fellowship but this attempt was unsuccessful. Within weeks, Mitchell and the churches which he had planted severed their ties with Foursquare and became an independent fellowship.
In 1990, approximately 100 churches split from the Potter’s House. The split was partially due to restrictions which prevented them from maturing and enlarging their expressions of faith.
In 2001, a second split occurred with around 160 churches leaving the fellowship due to disagreements with the direction the fellowship was heading in.
As of November 2021 the church has over 2,900 churches worldwide.
Mitchell died on September 21, 2020 in Prescott, Arizona.