One Church is an Elim Pentecostal Church. Elim is a growing movement of more than 550 congregations in the UK and Ireland with around 70,000 people in attendance on Sundays.
Elim was founded in 1915 by George Jeffreys, a young Christian from Maesteg in South Wales. Jeffreys and a group of friends, known as the Elim Evangelistic Band, preached, started churches and witnessed a move of God that was characterised by miraculous healings and an explosion in the number of people becoming Christians.
The founders wanted the name of their new movement to express their vision and values, and so chose ‘Elim’, the name of an oasis in the Bible that the people of Israel discovered as they wandered through the desert. It provided shade and refreshment to all who encountered it. In a world that can feel like a desert, our 21st century churches today seek to be a place of spiritual resource within their communities.
A Brief History of Elim
The year was 1915. It could hardly have been a less promising time - the full horrors of the First World War were being realised. But in Monaghan, Ireland, a new fellowship of Christians was springing up.
A young Christian from Maesteg in South Wales, George Jeffreys, was welcomed into the area and here Elim began, as a small group called the Elim Evangelistic Band. The band preached, founded churches, spreading first through the north of Ireland and then to England in the Essex area and London.
Things were moving steadily, but not spectacularly, when suddenly God answered the prayers of those early pioneers in a big way. Miraculous healings became almost commonplace instead of occasional, and the number of people becoming Christians exploded. The meetings hit the headlines, and from 1924 to 1934 Principal George Jeffreys (as he became known) and his team became household names as they toured the country.
When, for instance, George Jeffreys went to Cardiff, there were only a dozen people in his first meeting in a large public hall. But two were healed of cancer, the news spread, and from then on it was difficult to control the crowds who wanted to get into the hall! Cardiff City Temple, the Elim church that resulted from that campaign, is still a flourishing Elim church today.
So why did this happen? Well, the Elim leaders held the same beliefs as other Christians, but with one important difference. They believed that God’s promises in the Bible about the Holy Spirit and healing were for Christians today. In other words, miracles didn’t stop after the Bible was written. The Elim pioneers had rediscovered God’s power, promised in the Bible to all who would completely commit their lives to following Jesus. It was a ‘re-discovery’, not a discovery because it was nothing new. God had worked in power through different Christians throughout the centuries, right back to the dramatic miracles of the early Church so frequently mentioned in the Bible.
The foursquare teaching of highlighted this rediscovery: it stated that Jesus is the Saviour, the Healer, the Baptiser in the Holy Spirit and the Coming King.
Such ‘Pentecostal’ beliefs raised a lot of opposition from some traditional church leaders at the time because miracles are always controversial. But the pioneers were just getting back to what Jesus had taught in the first place - after all, Jesus himself healed many people and had promised the Holy Spirit to his followers.
Elim took God at his Word and so God honoured that by delivering on His promises in the Bible. And He is still doing the same today!
But the vision wasn’t confined to this country. Today, Elim comprises over 550 churches in the UK and Ireland and 4300 overseas. Elim is also in co-operative fellowship with thousands of Pentecostal churches around the world and has missions work in over 40 countries.
It is our belief that Elim has a significant part to play in the world today, and we are confidently looking forward to what God will do in the future.
For more information about Elim, see www.elim.org.uk.