An Open Door - The History of the Potter's House Christian Fellowship
This book is a Pentecostal classic. A real modern day book of Acts. The story of the Potter's House Christian Fellowship is about God using plain, ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Inside An Open Door, you will find out how the Potter's House Christian Fellowship started, about the distinctive traits of the Church in radical evangelism and outreaches, and the reason for the unique unity that is in the fellowship as a whole. The Potter's House is a continuation of the revival that sprung up out of the Jesus People Movement of the late 1960's early 70's. If this revival had happened in a more respectable denominational setting this book would be on par with other books like "The Cross and the Switchblade" by David Wilkerson or "Fresh Wind Fresh Fire" by Jim Cymbala. But this movement has always been, and still is, primarily a grass roots movement, made up of ordinary people, and is the type of thing that gets up lukewarm Christians noses who love the gloss of high flyers and TV evangelists.
Many of the people mentioned in the book are now grandfathers of the faith and have seen the type of revival that happened in Prescott multiplied and successfully duplicated in many nations of the world. Sadly others mentioned have moved on and diverted from the fundamental "Book of Acts" vision or are no lobger serving Jesus at all. But after almost 40 years the Potter's House Christian Fellowship is still seeing the untouchables touched, drug addicts saved, alcoholics delivered, mentally ill restored, sick healed, the same vision the church was initially birthed in.
Wayman Mitchell is still preaching, doing the same things he always has, and although the head of a huge international fellowship, he is still the type of guy who would street preach in the local supermarket parking lot, hand out tracts at the mall, or challenge a new believer to get a job. Many times throughout this book Mitchell is described as a man of common sense. With all the rubbish that has been called Christianity in the past century, one thing is for sure, Mitchell will go down in history as a true "repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in". Like Wesley, Whitfield, Finney, Moody, Booth and others, if Jesus tarries Mitchell will go down in history as one of these fathers of the faith, whose reward is great in heaven - souls. People like Mitchell are either loved or hated, accepted or rejected, like any true minister of the gospel he has has his fair share of persecution. But this has never seemed to bother him and only makes him more determined to see people saved and grow in their Christian walk.
Over the years The Potter's House has remained distinctly Pentecostal and shunned Charismatic extremes, seeing them as distractions from the fundamental biblical vision of the great commission. Under the steady hand of Mitchell's Guidence, the fellowship (fellow "ship") is sailing smoothly into destiny. And this is realy only the beginning, the best is still yet to come! This book was written 20 years ago in 1986 when there was 250 churches in CFM. Since then many new works have been planted, and as of 2007 there are about 1400 churches in over 100 countries. It is encouraging to read this book in retrospect knowing that the Potter's House Church is still focused on three basic fundamental things; evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. The church still refuses to be involved in "church" fads like the so called Toronto Blessing or Pensacola outpouring or bow to popular opinion. It remains a sore thumb amoungst an ever compromising church world.
The validity of Wayman Mitchell's Apostolic vision has been demonstrated by the fruit produced, revealing to us that it was never Mitchell's vision or idea but a vision from the Father in heaven. Many people have been saved in the Potter's House who will do even greater works than Mitchell, Warner, Campbell, Aulson etc, a people who desire to know about nothing else but Jesus Christ and souls saved, who have the advantage of on fire senior men to help and guide them. In the following pages you will notice that Mitchell is just simply being obedient to God, not understanding where the outcome will fall, but trusting God's direction. His love for souls is evident, as is his disgust in christian traditions that nullify the Word of God. The outcome of His obedience to God is shown in the fruit of thousands who are saved and have a burning vision to see the world won to Jesus Christ. But not just that, the lay people are not just pew warming but have zeal to see others discipled and taught in the things of God. Mitchell is producing multipliers!
Many churches have been obedient to the vision of evangelism in the past -
Matt 28:19-20 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."
but soon the vision dies out when another generation rises up who doesn't know God. This is evident with the Salivation Army, which once shook the world but has now mostly fizzled out. Many comment that the Potter's House is filled with young people, this is because of zealous evangelism, but also because other people are taking discipleship seriously and training them to be strong believers who can in turn teach others. In the Potter's House it is not just minister who are "called" but all people, called to be an examle and a shining light to the lost and to other believers. This causes an atmosphere of accountability, reverence, and holiness.
2 Tim 2:2 "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
There are 4 generations in this scripture, Paul - Timothy - Faithful men - others also. If Mitchell didn't grasp onto the vision of discipleship and multiplication, the revival would have fizzled out like many revivals have in the past. Instead Mitchell fanned the flames that God gave him causing it to be the world wide flaming inferno it is today. The vision is not so much taught in a bible school or a textbook, but it is caught when others see a clear demonstration of what to do for God in the life of another. It is 95% exampleship.
Mitchell stresses exampleship which is basically a life of service for others. Also the church has grown to understand that just seeing people say a sinners prayer is just not enough. Yes God can use TV, radio, mass evangelism and crusades but ultimately people need a local church with a couple whom they are in touch with to be an example to them, to grow and mature in the things of God. You don't get that from TV evangelism or radio teachings. Much like the US troops in Iraq have discovered, it is not enough to be involved from a distance. They have learned that there is a need for foot soldiers in any conflict. It is not enough to stay and pray but we need to go and show. This need has prompted hundreds, many of whom have testimonies from broken homes, prison, drug and alcohol abuse etc, to go to the ends of the earth to pastor churches.
This book is truely awesome.
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