United Pentecostal Church International

Overview of the United Pentecostal Church

United Pentecostal Church International Logo. Courtesy of the United Pentecostal Church International

The United Pentecostal Church believes in the oneness of God instead of the Trinity. This view, along with the "second work of grace" in salvation, and disagreement over the formula for baptism, led to the church's founding.

Number of Worldwide Members:

The UPCI has 4,358 churches in North America, 9,085 ministers, and Sunday School attendance of 646,304. Worldwide, the organization counts a total membership of over 4 million.

Founding of the United Pentecostal Church:

In 1916, 156 ministers split from the Assemblies of God over conflicting views on the oneness of God and water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. The UPCI was formed by the merger of the Pentecostal Church Inc. and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ, in 1945.

Prominent United Pentecostal Church Founders:

Robert Edward McAlister, Harry Branding, Oliver F. Fauss.


The United Pentecostal Church is active in 175 countries throughout the world, with headquarters in Hazelwood, Missouri, USA.

United Pentecostal Church Governing Body:

A congregational structure makes up the government of the UPCI. Local churches are independent, electing their pastor and leaders, owning their property, and setting their budget and membership.

The central organization of the church follows a modified presbyterian system, with ministers meeting in sectional-district and general conferences, where they elect officials and see to the church's business.

Sacred or Distinguishing Text:

Concerning the Bible, UPCI teaches, "The Bible is the Word of God, and therefore inerrant and infallible. The UPCI rejects all extrabiblical revelations and writings, and views church creeds and articles of faith only as the thinking of men."

Notable United Pentecostal Church Ministers and Members:

Kenneth Haney, General Superintendent; Paul Mooney, Nathaniel A. Urshan, David Bernard, Anthony Mangun.

United Pentecostal Church Beliefs and Practices:

The distinguishing belief of the United Pentecostal Church is its doctrine of the oneness of God, the opposite of the Trinity. Oneness means that instead of three distinct persons (Father, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit), God is one, Jehovah, who manifests himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. A comparison would be a male who is, himself, a husband, a son, and a father all at the same time. UPCI also believes in baptism by immersion, in the name of Jesus, and speaking in tongues as a sign of receiving the Holy Spirit.

Worship services in the UPCI involve members praying aloud, raising their hands in praise, clapping, shouting, singing, testifying, and dancing for the Lord. Other elements include divine healing and showing spiritual gifts. They practice the Lord's Supper and foot washing.

United Pentecostal churches tell members to refrain from movies, dancing, and public swimming. Female members are told not to wear slacks or have bare arms, not to cut their hair or wear makeup or jewelry, to wear dresses below the knee, and to cover their heads. Men are discouraged from wearing long hair that touches the collar of the shirt or covers the tops of their ears. All these are considered signs of immodesty.

To learn more about United Pentecostal Church beliefs, visit UPCI Beliefs and Practices.

(Sources: upci.org, jonathanmohr.com, ReligiousMovements.org, and ChristianityToday.com)