Raising an Army of ‘Goers’
At first glance, the Teen Mania campus north of Interstate 20 between Dallas and Shreveport, Louisiana, looks more like a youth resort than a spiritual boot camp. It is equipped with four dormitories; an auditorium; a cafeteria, gymnasium, swimming pool and weight room; as well as football and soccer fields, and more. But make no mistake about it—the 700-plus kids who reside here have learned that training to do God’s work is no easy task.
They come from all across the country to be interns at the Acquire the Fire Honor Academy, where they commit at least one year of their lives to the academy immediately after high school. They either postpone or forgo traditional career paths to train for missions, evangelism and other areas of ministry.
Charity works with her father at some Acquire the Fire and Battle Cry events, leading worship and helping in other areas, and sees the needs of her peers. “I want to be the hands and feet of ... Christ. I know many of the people who attend the events are hurting, and I’m called to help hurting people.”
The Honor Academy offers classes in character development, leadership, men’s and women’s development, and more. Interns undergo hands-on training designed to challenge them physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and to prepare them for life-transforming events, such as working in the regions of the world least influenced by the gospel. Ron says the preparation can be challenging at times, and sometimes interns discover they are not cut out for the job.
But intern Jenny Hull remained at the academy and eventually helped a young person named Beth find freedom from depression. “I began praying and fasting for her on a regular basis, talking to her through e-mail almost weekly.
“At times, deliverance and freedom seemed very distant, but I knew that the Lord was hearing my prayers. By the time I met Beth months after I began communicating with her, she had experienced healing and freedom from the depression she’d struggled with for so long. It is exciting to see God use me to minister to my own generation.”
At the campus’ huge call center, some 300 interns work to organize Acquire the Fire and BattleCry events all across the country. Interns put in 31 hours a week at one of several ministry areas. Each one takes a career test to help determine the area of ministry he or she is best suited for.
Some interns enroll in the academy’s Center for Creative Media, which provides hands-on education in film and television, including production, acting and production management. Others register to attend the School of Worship or Global Expeditions, which prepares interns for foreign missions and evangelism. The BattleCry Event is designed to establish a support structure for local youth groups across the country to help them grow.
Because the Luces believe the church must be involved in the future of America’s youth they offer, through Teen Mania, training to churches and youth pastors at the grass-roots level. Their resources provide instruction in evangelism and discipleship; directing youth groups, global expeditions and Extreme Camps; and more.
“We must show teenagers the way to the truth and train them to be leaders who will share this truth with their generation and the world,” Ron says. “With the battle for their hearts and minds more fierce than ever before, this generation is at a crossroads moment that will shape the future of our country.”
The church, parents—and young people themselves—have a huge responsibility, say Ron and Katie, to raise up a generation of goers—teenagers who will confront the culture, be witnesses for Jesus, and bring God glory.
Valerie G. Lowe is associate editor of Charisma. She traveled to Garden Valley, Texas, to file this report.
Hear Ron and Katie Luce elaborate on their family and ministry here.
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