Pastor Wayman Mitchell: A Legacy Spanning 50 Years Featured

Pastor Wayman Mitchell, 91, died on September 21. He was the founder of the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship Ministries.

Big Idea

  • Pastor Wayman Mitchell died last week. He was 91.
  • He was the Pastor of the Potter’s House in Prescott
  • He graduated from Prescott High School
  • When he came to Prescott in 1970, there were just 22 people in the church congregation
  •

Wayman Mitchell's Legacy Spanned 50 Years

On September 21, 2020, at 10:10 AM, Pastor Wayman Othel Mitchell, 91, went home to his reward. He had been preaching for 60 years!

In 1970, Pastor Mitchell came back to Prescott, the home of his youth, to assume the pastorate of a broken Foursquare Gospel church. In the 50 years since that day, by the preaching of the Word and through the principals of evangelism, discipleship and church planting, The Potter’s House Christian Fellowship Ministries (CFM) has grown to almost 3000 churches in over 125 nations with numerous regional conferences on all seven continents, many Island nations and regular local attendance of over 500.

The following is taken from a live interview by Kerrie Cutter with Brother Mitchell in October 2009:

Wayman Mitchell was born October 9, 1929, the youngest of five, in Mitchell, Arkansas; a town named for his family of share-croppers. His father moved the family to Prescott, Arizona’s Forbing Park area in 1933 during the Great Depression. He attended Miller Valley School, then Lincoln Elementary when they moved to Park Avenue.

In 1935, when Wayman was six, his mother left his father. The combination of a broken home and being ridiculed as an “Arkie” by other children, because of his abject poverty, wore heavily on the boy. At the age of sixteen he found his father dying of a heart attack. Shortly afterward, in 1945, Mitchell and his two brothers were sent to Phoenix to live with his mother and her third husband. He attended Phoenix Union HS for a short while, but conditions were unbearable as the boys were forced to live in a shack during the summer months.

Through a school friend, he found his way back to Prescott where he worked at the A.J. Head Hotel as a bellboy with an agreement for a free room. It was at this point that Mitchell confessed to becoming “a two-bit hoodlum who never got caught,” gambling with hotel ne’er-do-wells and smoking “grape vines and cedar bark”.

Finishing out his senior year at Prescott High School, Mitchell bounced between Flagstaff and Baghdad before finally joining the U.S. Air Force, “just to survive.” He become a Flight Line Electrician on the Island of Guam. While there, the Korean Conflict broke out and Mitchell was then tasked with outfitting a squadron of B29 Bombers with bomb racks and rose from E2 Airman to E5 Staff Sergeant. After rejecting an offer to become an Air Force officer, he returned to Phoenix on September 29, 1952, where he later worked on aircraft for the Air Force as a civilian at Luke Air Force Base.

It was at the Riverside Ballroom that Nelda Sue Henderson caught Wayman’s eye. Having known her at twelve, she had become a beautiful, yet “tough” little gal of 19 years. In six weeks they were married, honeymooning at Prescott’s Mission Inn. It was the loss of their first daughter that shook the couple to the point where they sought spiritual help from his oldest brother, George. In 1954, they gave their lives to Christ, beginning a series of events that would impact the nations of the Earth for the next sixty-six years and beyond!

After graduating from Life Bible College, Mitchell would preach wherever there was a group that would listen; from the Hualapai Reservation to Canada, through five pastorates. In 1970 he accepted a broken little congregation of twenty-two in Prescott, Arizona.


At that time, the “Jesus People” movement was seeing thousands of young hippies being saved and delivered across America, and Mitchell, now 41, wanted to reach them, too. Through a series of outreaches and revivals beginning at the Boy’s Club, The Armory and a small building on Lincoln Street in Prescott, many youth began pouring in, presenting Pastor Mitchell with the question; What do I do with these raw young street people? It was at this point that he began discipling them to become ministers in their own right.

The question arose, "What now?" Thus he began to send these young couples into cities first in Arizona, then New Mexico, then a door opened in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, then Australia and Holland and he never looked back. Mitchell credits praying for the sick and seeing demonstrable miracles with imbuing him with a dynamic energy that kept him going from continent to continent almost on a monthly basis for over 40 years.


After battling the mainstream church, the local school district, the city, the county and even some international entities for the right to freely minister the Gospel while enduring what Mitchell felt were, “betrayals, assaults, disappointments and deep discouragements," Mitchell was asked how he was able to keep going.

“You have to decide that you’re going to do what God calls you to do. This is nothing new,” Mitchell replied. Having almost lost hope himself numerous times, he distinctly remembers God telling him to just, “Do what I’ve told you to do.” For thousands of desperate souls across the nations, he was the instrument God used to transform their lives through the simple preaching of the Good News. Mitchell would admonish, “Just preach Jesus!”

The Potter’s House Christian Fellowship Ministries is now in the very capable hands of Wayman’s son, Pastor Greg Mitchell, and a staff of 3 other pastors. No longer meeting in the old tents seen every six months in January and July during their semi-annual conference, the new 88,000sf conference center will be filled this coming Friday, October 2nd, as Brother Mitchell’s memorial service will be held there. If you choose to honor this great man’s legacy with your attendance, you will see with your own eyes what became of that small broken church of twenty-two faithful saints who chose to cast their destinies with that spirit-filled couple and their five children some 50 years ago.

Editor’s note: Peter Walter is a member of the Prescott Potter’s House Church, and has known Wayman Mitchell for over 40 years.

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Last modified on Sunday, 27 September 2020 18:49
Peter Walter

Pete Walter is a former Marine who served during the Vietnam War. Now retired, he also leads music at his church and is always looking for opportunities to serve the Veterans community.


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