The Elim Movement was founded by George Jeffreys, a young Welshman from Maesteg. Under his leadership a small group of people known as ‘The Elim Evangelistic Band’ was formed in Monaghan, Ireland in 1915. Following small beginnings in Ireland, Essex and London, God so demonstrated His power through His servant that George Jeffreys became a household name in Britain between 1924 and 1934. Holding Divine Healing Crusades throughout the country, thousands attended and many were miraculously healed. As a result of these Crusades, churches were started in a large number of towns and cities to care for those who had committed their lives to Christ. The teaching of Elim in those early days was well publicised under the heading’The Foursquare Gospel’, highlighting the Lord Jesus Christ as the Saviour, the Healer of the body, the Baptiser in the Holy Spirit, and the coming King. Our commitment to those truths has not changed, and Elim is legally known as the ‘Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance’.
There are over 600 Elim Churches in the United Kingdom and thousands of affiliated Churches throughout the world. Elim is working especially in Belgium, Brazil, Burundi, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Kenya, Malaysia, Mozambique, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Much of the work in these countries is being carried out under the direction of our International Missions Department who are based at our Headquarters in Malvern. The Elim Relief Association has been set up to swiftly respond to some to some of the desperate needs that have been created, especially by wars and natural disasters. Elim also has its own full-time training institution also based in Malvern Headquarters and a housing association which exists as a social service to provide rented accommodation for those in need.
When just a few people meet together for worship things can remain very simple, but when numbers increase, the need for a certain amount of organisation becomes necessary. For example, the government are happy to recognise Churches as a Charity but they must be registered. As a congregation grows, the need for a building often becomes apparent, and a trust has to be set up to own the property. Consequently as the Movement grew, it was soon obvious it would have to be registered and a Deed Poll and Constitution drawn up. In 1934 the Executive Council signed the Deed Poll and over the years the working arrangements have evolved. Each year the Annual Conference, consisting of the Minister and a lay representative from each church, meet to consider any additions or amendments. This document, which contains the Fundamental beliefs of our Movement, is narrow enough to keep all our churches doctrinally sound. However, the regulations are simple enough and wide enough to embrace a wide spectrum of style of worship and Church government. It has proved flexible enough for the Movement to develop even when Church structures are being re-examined. While keeping firmly grounded in our fundamental beliefs we are ever alert to the need for new wineskins.
The objectives of Elim are to spread and propagate the full Gospel of Jesus Christ and the fundamental truths. Some of the means set out for the achievement of these objects are the training and sending out of leaders, the establishment of Churches and the issue of Christian publications.
GOVERNMENT AND STRUCTURE
Conference — The Governing Body is the Conference, which meets annually and is comprised of a Representative and a Ministerial Session. The Representative Session consists of an equal number of Ministers and Lay Reps. from the Churches. The Ministerial Session, which consists of Ministers only, deals with all ministerial and pastoral subjects. All other matters, including the making of General Rules and Working Arrangements, are exclusively within the province of the Representative Session. The National Leadership Team — The National Leadership Team is made up of the General Superintendent, 4 Regional Leaders and 6 other elected ministers nominated by the G.S. and endorsed by the Conference. Its purpose is to give effect to decisions of the Conference, and for the management of matters arising between assemblies of the Conference and in the course of administration of the affairs of the Alliance (Elim). Region — The UK is divided into 10 different geographical areas known as Regions. Each region has a full -time Regional Superintendent who works with a Regional Leadership Team and together they are responsible for the oversight of the churches and development of the Elim Church within their region.
The name ‘Elim’ is taken from the book of Exodus, where we read that the Israelites ‘came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees; and they camped there by the waters’ (Exodus 15:27). This oasis in the wilderness is a fitting symbol for a Church which communicates a message of rest and refreshing, salvation and healing for body, soul and spirit in the wilderness of this world.