As the student body of FIRE School of Ministry (FSM) embarks on its summer break from classes this is an appropriate time to supply a refresher on who we are and why we exist as a school and a community. This refresher is designed as a reminder to all of us that although we are not together in classes, we are still a New Testament apostolic community, and God expects us to continue to think and act as those who have given all to follow Jesus by life or by death, and to be His vessels to experience the answer to Jesus’ prayer that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Who we are
Using the acronym of FIRE, I want to remind ourselves what FIRE is and why we exist. Before explaining the acronym, I would like to provide a brief history, a knowledge of which will bring a more solid understanding of the unique contribution that FIRE makes to the body of Christ. FIRE was birthed with a vision to transform America and the world. Our nation has turned so decisively against God and toward sin that it is no longer reasonable to think that a local church revival or an increase of evangelism is going to be enough to turn her back to God. What America needs is nothing less than a supernatural, grass-roots “awakening” of hearts to the reality of God that spreads from coast to coast. This means the “revival” that we seek is not to be found within the walls of church buildings on Sunday mornings. It is to be found out in the workplace, in the marketplace, and in homes. When this happens, it will also transform the government, the media, and Hollywood, as well as every other aspect of American life. We at FIRE like to call this the Jesus Revolution.
To be part of FIRE, then, means to live for something bigger than ourselves. It means to have a rather large vision for the transformation of society as an entire nation and the entire world come to know Jesus and to live entirely for Him. How do we live for such a big vision? It is simple, really. First, we pursue God with all our hearts. We love Him deeply and daily endeavor to become more intimate with Him, worshiping Him and always giving Him thanks for everything He has done and is doing in our lives. Second, we become disciples, learning more and more how to live out the Word of God in our daily lives. This includes the study of Scripture to make the Word of God alive in us, the pursuit of holiness to manifest the life of Jesus in us, and active involvement in ministry, to demonstrate Jesus to the world around us. FSM is designed to make disciples in this way.
To understand how FSM trains students for the revolutionary cause of Jesus, a brief look at the acronym, F-I-R-E, will help. The term stands for the Fellowship of International Revival and Evangelism. Let us look at each of these aspects of FIRE.
Fellowship begins with God. As John told the churches in his first epistle: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you may also have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn 1:3). Fellowship with one another, in order for it to be genuine, must be the residual effect of fellowship with God. FIRE is passionate about worshiping God and pursuing a deeper intimacy with him. This is evident in the jubilant praise and tear-filled worship we experience on a weekly basis, and also in the passionate prayers we offer to God both privately and corporately as FIRE endeavors to be a house of prayer for all nations.
FSM is not just a school but a community. The school was birthed to be a community committed to uniting the generations: “turning the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers” (Mal 4:6). The greatest and most threatening attack on America today is the attempt to break apart the family unit, which is the foundational institution of any society. From the feminist movement to the legalization of abortion to gay marriage, there has been a sustained attack on the family in America. Most of the increase of lawlessness and sin in this country is being perpetrated by people who grew up in broken homes. If tomorrow’s godly leaders are going to bring change to their own fatherless generation, they will have to be deeply rooted in the real knowledge of their heavenly Father, who has accepted them by grace without any performance clauses, knowing that He will never leave them. The child may run away from the Father, but the Father will never run away from His child. From the strength and security of this unbreakable spiritual family unit, the next generation of followers of Jesus will be poised to transform their society.
We are not just a local community, but an international one. One of the primary reasons FSM was birthed was because of our commitment to be fathers to our students even after they graduate from the school. Starting FSM was the only way we could ensure this, by developing Fire International (FI), our ordaining and sending arm. All who are ordained through FI have a structured means of continuing their relationship with the leaders of the school. FSM grads live all over the world as missionaries and as ministers in their homelands. FIRE sends teams to many of these locations to deepen relationships with these grads and to assist them in their ministries. Even those who do not get ordained through FI have an open channel to continue in relationship with the leadership of the school and church. As fathers, we cannot let our relationship with you end when you “leave home.” We will always be there for you, praying for you and maintaining our love for you.
Birthed in the fires of revival, FSM is passionate about experiencing God in a deeper way and seeing that experience extend to all those around us. We live every day in anticipation of God doing something profound and impacting in our midst. God has fires stirring in places all over the world where FSM grads are continuing the work of the ministry and preparing hearts for God’s coming. When the Jesus Revolution gathers momentum and God starts moving in ways that remind us of the Great Awakening and the Hebrides and the Welch revivals, these international fires will suddenly burst into flames and we will see the whole world impacted by a great move of God’s Spirit. This is how God will speed the fulfillment of the Great Commission, which leads us to our last point.
FSM is not strictly a Bible College but a training center. We emphasize the study of God’s Word, but we are not satisfied if our students only know the Word in their minds. We only believe we have been successful when we see the Word being lived out in the lives of our students and grads as they bear long-lasting fruit. Reproduction is one of the chief evidences of life. Unless we are reproducing, we are not fully alive and we are not fully representing the life of Jesus in the world around us. Every student at FSM is involved in practical ministry, gaining hands-on experience in the ministry they learn about in the classroom. In this way they have the best opportunity to be effective ministers of the gospel who reproduce Jesus in other people’s lives.
Jesus had a power ministry. He did not just tell people to believe in Him. He demonstrated the power of the kingdom by healing the sick, casting out demons, cleansing lepers, and raising the dead, and He told His disciples to do the same thing (Mat 10:6-8). If we are disciples of Jesus, then we should expect the power of God to attend our ministry. FSM teaches that healing is the promised possession of the saints, and we expect to see those we encounter receive healing as well. This is part of the gospel of the kingdom, and our students are encouraged to minister healing to any afflicted people they come into contact with. One of the greatest blessings of being associated with FIRE is to hear the testimonies of people who got healed in WalMart, the mall, and other public places. These experiences also transform the lives of the students God uses in these ways.
A word of encouragement
However or wherever you spend your summer this year, spend it furthering the kingdom of God. If you are a student of FSM or if you are a disciple of Jesus, then devote yourself to the Lord this summer, spending time in His presence and in His Word. Keep your focus on Jesus and ask Him to live His holy life through you by grace, and go out and be Jesus to others around you. Pray for the sick, and draw people to Jesus by being Christ-like before them. And come back to school this fall with testimonies of what God did in you and through you.