The Pentecostal Mission (TPM), formerly known as Ceylon Pentecostal Mission (CPM), is a pentecostal denomination which originated in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka. The international headquarters is now situated in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the biggest Pentecostal denominations.
The mission was founded in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1923., by a Hindu convert, Ramankutty - later known as Pastor Paul. It now has churches (or Faith Homes) in every continent with close to 9.6 million believers worldwide. The church has spread to many parts of Sri Lanka, as well as India, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, England, France, Europe, Africa, Caribbean Islands, and the Middle East, and is continuing to expand.
In the United States, The Pentecostal Mission is known as New Testament Church (NTC) and is headquartered in Newark, New Jersey. In the United Kingdom it is known as Universal Pentecostal Church (UPC) and is headquartered in Brixton, London. In other parts of the world, the church is known by the following names:
According to historian, Somaratna, "The Ceylon Pentecostal Mission owes its origin to the ministry of Walter Clifford." The church was founded by Pastor Paul along with Pastor Alwin R. de Alwis. Pastor Paul was born to Hindu parents in the district of Trichur in Kerala, India. While in Sri Lanka, at the age of 18, he became a Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ. Later, he felt a strong call from the Lord for his life and began to preach and share the gospel in various parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. In the initial stages, he had worked with other evangelists. Pastor Paul served as the founder chief pastor of this church. The CPM espoused an ascetic approach to spirituality. The church also instituted indigenous (or innate) forms of worship.
This Church stands out among the Pentecostal churches because of its exclusivist teachings and organization structure. Some of the distinctives are that fulltime ministers were expected to practice an ascetic life-style including celibacy, obedience to the elder pastors, communal living (including disposal of private possessions) in faith homes.
The TPM churches are run by full-time ministers who are celibate and predominantly single. Married couples who enter full-time ministry are also expected to become celibate, and may be sent to different locations by the TPM leadership. These full-time ministers are required to forsake the world, its attractions, and even their own families to become a ministers or worker or servant of God for full-time, consecrated ministry. They are expected to be dedicated to the ministry of the church, their calling, to prepare themselves for Jesus' return and to lead others to Christ.
At dawn, every servant of God across the globe must awake early to praise God and to pray for every member in the church. They are to fast and pray often. They assert that all of the sermons preached are through prayer and waiting on the Lord. These sermons are deemed to be extremely deep in the truths of the Holy Bible. According to the church members, the ministers do not seek offering and live by faith. The church’s one mission is to prepare each and every believer to be ready for Jesus' second coming (rapture).
The worldwide TPM is led by a Chief Pastor. Chief Pastors are generally appointed for life, and leadership is passed down after death to the next in seniority. The current Chief Pastor, Wilson Joseph, succeeded the late Pastor T.U. Thomas (died on 6 November 2006) as the Chief Pastor and Pastors Wesley and Joy Fitch as Deputy/Associate Pastors. Chief Pastor previously served as Pastor to the Singapore Pentecostal Mission. In America most of church work was pioneered by one named Pastor Don M Spiers. Pastor Don was eventually working with Oral Roberts ministries . Later he joined NTC (New Testament Church) know as TPM and pioneered in establishing church in most parts of USA and in the west.
The doctrines of the church include: Trinity, New Birth, Water Baptism, Baptism of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in unknown tongues, Separation, Divine Healing, Entire Sanctification (of the Body, Soul and Spirit), Overcoming Life, Consecrated Ministry, Rapture, Tribulation and Great Tribulation, Resurrection, The Millennial Reign, The Great White Throne Judgement, and Eternity.
As per the church the doctrines are
Further, they do not believe in wearing jewellery, and encourage divine healing rather than depending on medicine. The full time workers in the church would generally believe this to the point of not going to hospitals or doctors. They discourage watching television or visiting the cinemas. They believe that their rules and regulations prevent the believer from being trapped in the world. They preach and teach separation from the world, to prepare themselves for the Second_Coming.
The international convention is held at Irumbuliyur in Chennai, India, every year in the month of March/April as well as at Kottarakara in Kerala, India, every year in the month of February. It is one of the largest Pentecostal conventions in India where a crowd of over 100,000 worshipers from all over the country and the world participate. All the people who come can make use of the basic amenities like food and accommodation which are provided by the church, free of cost, for 5 days. It is also said that there is well arranged order while food is being given out for almost 1,00,000 people.
Every year in the month of November an International Youth Camp is held at the same place. Young people converge in this place from different parts of the world.
The main convention in North America is held at Virginia in the USA every year on the first week of July, and the largest convention in Europe is the London convention, which is held on the last week of August every year.
The Service of Song (Service or worship rendered to God by singing) is given a very high priority in the mission. Though the church couldn't boast of great learned people, yet ageless, immortal hymns and songs that have stood the test of time have been churned out of this mission. The service of song is considered a ministry in itself, rather than being a part of the ministry.
Ever since the inception of the mission, songs were regularly composed by the brothers and sisters of the mission who fasted and prayed for the divine touch in all their compositions. Releasing new songs every year for various occasions set aside the church from other churches. The songs of the mission have a unique style - with praising being the opening lines and the glrious hope of Zion and the advent being the closing lines.
Songs were originally composed in five languages namely Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi and English. Of late songs are also released in various lanuguages such as Kannada,Punjabi,Tulu, Bengali, Marathi etc.
The songs were recorded in the Mission's recording theatre at Adyar and were a great attraction during their release during the Annual International Convention and also were a reason for the saving of many a way-ward soul.
"Train up a child in the way he should go" resounds the theme of the Sunday School Ministry aimed at bringing up children spiritually. Classes are held from L.K.G till Grade 11.A Senior Sunday Class is also conducted where the students can study for three years after completion of Grade 11.
Each class has its own syllabus containing twenty lessons - ten from the Old Testament and ten from the New Testament (in most of the standards). Each lesson is accompanied by a moral and memory verse (except in some higher grades). The syllabus covers the entire Bible and the children become proficient in the Scriptures once they are through the Sunday school.
Deeper doctrines are presented in a very simple and concise way, yet surpassing many of the theological degrees in their content, meaning, beauty and depth. Certain portions of the syllabus like "An Introduction to the Book of Revelation", "The Triune God", "Eternal Habitations", "Sacrifices”, “Divine Healing ", "New Testament Ministry”, “Second Coming", ”Orders of Resurrection”, ”Paul’s Missionary Journeys”,"Tabernacle" have no parallels anywhere in the world in any theological studies. They are the fruits of the revelation of the mysteries and truths of the scriptures by the Holy Spirit to the saints who forsook their all for the sake of the Kingdom of God.
The Sunday School organization is unique in many ways. Notable among them are
Examinations are held matching the standards of Government examinations right from the distribution of question papers, sending invigilators, timing, valuation etc. The competition is for the children among a Centre. In addition to the exams, various competitions like Memory verse reciting, quick Bible reading, Singing etc are conducted for the encouragement of the children and the performers are rewarded well.
Sunday Schools in the branches take one step further in that they reach out to the children in the nearby areas (slums, etc) too often providing them some form of assistance both spiritually and materially. Many families have been saved from the flames of hell by their children who paved the way for their salvation who were in fact rescued by the Sunday School Ministry from the clutches of sin and misery.
The church has a magazine ministry, where magazines in several languages are printed and distributed to subscribers. The English magazine published from India is called Voice of Pentecost. Pilgrim's Journal is another magazine which is published and printed in USA. Email edition of Pilgrim's Journal can be subscribed by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Other English Magazines are: "Pentecostal Messenger" from Malaysia, "The Youth Herald" from Singapore, "Power Divine" from Sri Lanka, "Trumpet of the Lord" from U.K.
Malayalam magazine PENTECOST is one of oldest Pentecostal magazines from Kerala. Hindi edition PENTECOSTIN WANI published from New Delhi is also other landmark in the history of Church to spread the Gospel to northern part of India.
In the year 2002 the church opened an academy known as "New Testament Christian Academy" in Sierra Leone where an experienced teacher and few church believers from the church school in Canada were sent to train teachers to set up the school. The children from the Congo Cross and Wilberforce assemblies of this church attend the school.
Tracts of different kinds and various life issues are also published and printed regularly in different languages (English, French, Spanish, Hindi, Nepali, Sinhala, German, Afrikaans, Swidish, Italian, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Oriya, Bengali, Assamese, Manipuri, Angami, Sema, Lotha, Ao, Khasi etc). These tracts address topics like Peace, Salvation, questions about life and healings.
List of Chief Pastors from Pastor Paul founder of CPM / TPM/ NTC / UPC / NCPC
List of all the chief pastors and other pastors of CPM/TPM or NTC. Chief Pastors
• This article includes material from the biography of Pastor Paul
• The Voice of Pentecost.
• Pilgrims Journal.