~ The Geftakys Ministry at a Glance ~

The Beginning

George Geftakys began his Assembly ministry in 1970 with the idea of more authentic gatherings of God's people--"This is God's true vision for the Church." He began travelling in the USA and Europe, speaking at home Bible studies. Small Assemblies began springing up, united under the umbrella of George's ministry, which he called 'The Work'.

The ministry came apart in 2003 when George's serious moral failures were exposed, and cultic aberrations throughout the whole system became evident.

The following snapshots are a quick birds-eye view of the Geftakys Assembly ministry. The articles The Geftakys Assemblies - an Overview and Irons' History of the Geftakys Assembly Ministry give more in-depth coverage.

Background

George and Betty combined strands from several sources and modified them to suit their purposes in shaping the Assembly:

‣ The appealing emphasis on "simple gathering" from the Plymouth Brethren
‣ The pious appearance of Betty's fundamentalist Bob Jones College background
‣ The superior claim of Higher-Life "identification and position truth" based on Watchman Nee
‣ The youth and enthusiasm of the Jesus Movement

Read more about the background of the Assembly.

Development of the Geftakys Assembly Ministry

Within a few years cultic tendencies began to appear--isolation from main-stream Christianity, increasing control from top-down leadership, lots of rules and pressure to perform, and skewed doctrine that motivated people by fear. Read more about problems with the teaching and practices.

Social Structure of the Assembly

‣ A charismatic, persuasive leader
‣ Apparent approval of the greater Christian community
‣ No leadership accountability
‣ Relatively untaught, devoted followers
‣ Extremely high degree of leader oversight of followers
‣ High level of congregational involvement
‣ Intense and frequent community outreach

Read more about the lifestyle of the Assembly.

Assembly Meeting Style

‣ 'Open platform', ostensibly no paid pastor
‣ Semi-circle seating
‣ Women wearing head coverings
‣ Acapella congregational singing of traditional hymns
‣ Extemporaneous congregational prayers

2003 Implosion of the Geftakys Ministry

In January, 2003, George Geftakys was excommunicated from the Fullerton Assembly following revelations on this website of a decades-long cover-up of his son David's domestic violence, and his own immoral relations with several Assembly women. Most of the Assemblies disbanded that year, but a few still continue to meet. They do not reveal their origin in the Geftakys ministry.

Read more about the final weeks of the Geftakys ministry.

Former Assembly Members Face Challenges

The spiritual betrayal was devastating, topping off what, for many members, had been years of spiritual abuse. To borrow a quote from Eugene Peterson:

The sheer quantity of wreckage around us is appalling...wrecked marriages, wrecked careers, wrecked plans, wrecked families, wrecked alliances, wrecked friendships, wrecked prosperity.

We avert our eyes. We try not to dwell on it. We whistle in the dark. We wake up in the morning hoping for health and love, justice and success, we build quick mental and emotional defenses...Are there any promises, any hopes that are exempt from the general carnage?
— Eugene Peterson, "Working the Angles"

The description is tragically apt. Wrecked or wounded faith can be added to the list. A memoir, "The Girl at the end of the World: My Escape from Fundamentalism in Search of a Faith with a Future", told by a Geftakys granddaughter, paints a graphic picture from inside the heart of the group. Read more about the challenges faced by former members.

Lingering Concerns

Continuing Assemblies

Most of the former Geftakys Assemblies have disbanded. Those that are still meeting no longer identify themselves with the Geftakys ministry. It is disturbing that these groups are actively hiding their Assembly past and are dishonestly presenting themselves as groups of simple Christians with no Geftakys Assembly history. Pilgrims Provision Ministries, run by former Assembly leaders, is one public example of this. Deeply held Assembly beliefs and practices do not change without rigorous examination. Check here for updates and more information.

Former Assembly Leaders

Certain former leaders are developing their own ministries, or have become involved in leadership in other churches. They were trained exclusively in "the schoolroom of the believer", i.e. trained by George Geftakys in his beliefs and practices. The question is, have they perceived the cultic structure of the system they led. They may be expected to bring their hidden Geftakys baggage over into a another context, unless they have publicly acknowledged and apologized for their errors and abuses. Read more about former leaders.


Assembly Background  »
Assembly Lifestyle  »
Problems with Assembly Teaching & Practice  »
Definition of an Abusive Group  »
Past & Present Assembly Locations & Outreaches  »