The Church’s beginnings are linked to the ministry of Pastor James McKeown (1900-1989), an Irish missionary sent by the Apostolic Church, Bradford, UK to the then Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1937 to help a group of believers of the Apostolic Faith in Asamankese.
In June 1937, Rev. James McKeown was seriously ill with malaria and was kept in his room at Asamankese for some days without medication in accordance with the rules, beliefs and practices of the Apostolic Faith. The District Commissioner took McKeown to the European Hospital – currently, Ridge Hospital – in Accra where he fully recovered. On his return to Asamankese, he was confronted by the leaders for having violated the rules and principles of the church by seeking for medical attention at a hospital instead of depending on faith healing.
In June 1938, a general meeting was held by all members from the country to discuss the situation but the leaders at Asamankese refused and condemned McKeown for lack of faith in prayers for healing. Due to doctrinal differences based on divine healing, the group split in 1939 into the Christ Apostolic Church and the Apostolic Church, Gold Coast. The latter saw great expansion under McKeown. In 1953, a constitutional crisis led to the founding of the Gold Coast Apostolic Church led by McKeown. After independence of Ghana in 1957 the Gold Coast Apostolic Church was renamed the Ghana Apostolic Church. The split in 1953 did not end the crisis. New conflicts compelled the then President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, to advise the leadership of the Ghana Apostolic Church, to adopt a new name. Therefore, on August 1, 1962, the new name, The Church of Pentecost, legally replaced the Ghana Apostolic Church. The Church of Pentecost is the fastest growing church in Ghana.
The highest decision-making body of the Church is the General Council, which heads a five-tier administrative mechanism. The General Council consists of all confirmed ministers of the Church, Regional/Area executive committee members, national deacons, trustees, chairmen of boards and Committees and Movement Directors.
The Executive Council, headed by the Chairman of the Church, sees to the day-to-day administration of the Church. While the General Council elects members of the International Executive Council, all other officers of the Church are appointed by The Executive Council with the approval of the General Council.
Below the General Council and the International Executive Council, we have the Area administrative structure. The Area is headed by the Area Head, who is either an apostle or an experienced senior pastor. He is assisted by a six-member Area Executive Committee in the day-to-day running of the Area with the Area Presbytery as the highest policy-making body in the Area.
The Area is further divided into districts, each of which is headed by a District Pastor who administers his district with the support of a six-member executive committee, which depends on the District Presbytery as the highest decision-making body.
Finally, the district has a number of local congregations headed by presiding elders who implement decisions of the District Presbytery with the assistance of their local presbyteries.
The two principal financial sources of the Church are tithes and offerings. As and when necessary, special funds are raised at all levels of the Church’s administrative structure to meet very crucial financial commitments.