The United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) has been among the fastest growing denominations in North America since it was formed in 1945 by the merger of the Pentecostal Church, Incorporated (PCI), and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ (PAJC). From 617 churches listed in 1946, the UPCI in North America (United States and Canada) today lists 4,142 churches, 8,801 ministers, and reports a Sunday School attendance of 498,903. Moreover, it is also located in 170 other nations with 22,881 licensed ministers, 28,351 churches and meeting places, 571 missionaries, and a foreign constituency of over 1.5 million, yielding a total worldwide constituency of more than 2 million. The UPCI is one of the largest Oneness Pentecostal church organizations in existence.
The UPCI emerged out of the Pentecostal movement that began in Topeka, Kansas in 1901. It traces its organizational roots to October 1916, when a large group of ministers withdrew from the Assemblies of God over the doctrinal issues of the oneness of God and water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ.
The basic governmental structure of the UPCI is congregational with local churches being autonomous: the congregation elects its pastor and its leaders, owns its property, decides its budget, establishes its membership, and conducts all necessary business.
The central organization embraces a modified presbyterian system in that ministers meet in sectional, district, and general conferences to elect officials and to conduct business of the organization.
The UPCI headquarters building, located in Hazelwood, Missouri, houses offices for its general officials, the Pentecostal Publishing House, and a Christian bookstore. Among its endorsed institutions are seven Bible colleges, a children’s home, a residency for troubled young men, ministries to those addicted to alcohol and other drugs, a chaplaincy for prisoners, and it endorses chaplains to the military.