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Entries in Colorado (19)

Monday
Sep222014

Charis's 20th Birthday Celebration

Wendell Parr (left) and Andrew Wommack recount stories from the past as new students listen on in amazement (Click to enlarge) Anticipation and excitement filled every seat as 1,300 students, teachers—former and current, and visitors gathered in The Barn for the 20th anniversary celebration of Charis Bible College. Wow, what a great time of remembrance! The excitement in the room was contagious as we came together in a building that was once only seen through faith. I usually have to tell people when I’m excited, but I was very excited to be standing in a room full of so many world changers. The fruit that we’ve seen from this school is incredible, and I am overjoyed that the Lord has used Charis to transform the lives of so many through His love and grace.

It was such an honor to have some of the original instructors—including Linus and Kay LeFever, Don Krow, Wendell Parr, and Leon Matheney—share stories and recount the journey that has made possible all we are accomplishing today. It was wonderful to have old friends be able to come to our new facility and witness for themselves what God has done. Linus and Kay LeFever stand together as they relate their journey with CBC to the massive crowd before them
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The looks on their faces as they surveyed a campus that accommodates over 600 students, was absolutely priceless. They were really blessed, knowing that they were the ones who helped make this possible. They saw the school in its humble beginnings, and their trailblazing has paid off. The reach of Charis, with its correspondence program, online courses, and over forty international and stateside extension schools is ever growing!

Throughout the celebration, roars of laughter were met by moments of awe-inspired silence as the former instructors went up and shared how this had impacted them. New students listened intently to stories of the faithful men and women who made it possible for them to be sitting in the room that day.

Kay LeFever related how she struggled to leave their dream home after being on the mission field in Russia for many years and coming to start a fledgling school with no guarantee of success. Their first grandbaby was on the way, and they left it all. Her husband, Linus, rehearsed memories of those early days and some of the challenges we faced preparing our first world changers. It gave a perspective of Charis that our current students would not have gotten without these eye-witness accounts.

Don Krow telling the hilarious tales of their fearless leader, Andrew Wommack (Click to enlarge)Wendell Parr, who started the journey with me, shared about how his family left a secure and growing church to be a part of this mission. He continues with me today as one of our venerable instructors. Don Krow, a former instructor, took a different approach, amusing the crowd with stories of me falling off the stage in one of our previous facilities. They’ll probably be laughing about that for weeks.

However, no one captured the hearts of everyone there like Leon Matheney. As he spoke, every eye and every ear tuned in as this seasoned minister of over eighty years old opened up his heart with words of love and encouragement. Trying to hold back tears and remembering the days when he spoke in front of a class of thirty, Leon imparted powerful and memorable words to what was now a sea of students. You can view the whole morning's events online here and here.

Several of our international directors Leon Matheney addressing the largest student body he's ever seen before at Charis (Click to enlarge)came to the celebration with their own news of growth and expansion from all over the world. One was Carrie Pickett, the director of our school in St. Petersburg, Russia: “I graduated with the fourth class in 1999,” she remarks, “so seeing how much it’s grown and the fruit that’s happening is truly an inspiration. It’s been so exciting to see all of my old teachers and the people they’ve ministered to, now ministering to other people. The excitement in the room is overwhelming, and I feel encouraged to go back to Russia and let what’s happening here in Colorado be the inspiration for what we do overseas.”

I am confident that this celebration was more than just a special event. People’s lives were being touched as we took time to remember the things God has done. But the best is still yet to come! If the celebration taught us anything, it’s that the future of Charis is so bright, you have to squint to look at it.

New students capture the moments as they listen to the stories of CBC, most for the first time
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The first twenty years have been amazing, to say the least, but the job of Charis is far from over. We are just getting started on our God-given mandate to make disciples of all nations. If the Lord is speaking to you about Bible college, I encourage you to request an information packet today by emailing info@charisbiblecollege.org. Or, to apply, simply visit www.charisbiblecollege.org. You won’t regret it!

Monday
Feb112013

Chris Bratton's Journey to More

CBC-Colorado graduate and street minister, Chris Bratton.
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One year before Chris Bratton became a student at Charis Bible College, he was employed as a heavy equipment operator near Dalton, Georgia. At the time, Chris led several small groups for youth and young adults at the church he attended, but the prayer in his heart revealed his desire for more. His prayers were those of a thankful man; he was thankful for his job and the ministries the Lord had opened to him. He also prayed with a servant's heart, "If You want me somewhere else, I will go wherever You want me. If there is something else, if there is more...I want more." Today Chris is far from Georgia, living his new life of more, ministering the love of God to the people of Colorado Springs.

Chris has believed in Jesus since he was a young boy, but it wasn't until spending time in jail that he truly received Jesus as his Savior. After being arrested four times in six months, on alcohol and drug related charges, Chris lost his driving privileges for five years and spent a Chris, in 2010, on his way to Colorado to soak in the Word. (Click to enlarge) month-and-a-half in jail. While incarcerated, he turned to Jesus and asked Him to help him overcome his struggles with substance abuse. "Every day since opening my heart and surrendering my life, I know His presence has never left me. He has been with me every moment since that day," said Chris.

After his release from jail, Chris began visiting a local church; there he connected with a young adult small group. His involvement with the group helped him find his place in the Body of Christ and further established his walk with the Lord. Three years later, as Chris' true identity in Christ was revealed to him, his leadership skills began to emerge and he started leading Chris found out who God created him to be by spending time in the Word. (Click to enlarge)the group. Chris' style equipped those within the gathering to step forward and engage their faith; he encouraged them to have a voice and participate in the discipleship process. In addition, he began taking small numbers of people out into the streets of the local area to minister to anyone they encountered.

Through his church Chris also found a mentor, a man well acquainted with Andrew's ministry. This friendship introduced Chris to more of God's true nature. While Chris had been born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit before coming in contact with Andrew's teaching, it was Andrew's message on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that helped him understand what God was doing in, and through him.

With his new revelation, he realized that the desire for something more that had risen in his heart was from God. Chris praying with two boys in a park in Simla, Colorado. (Click to enlarge)He spent significant time praying his prayer, "...if there's more...I want more..." and things began to change. "Things started shifting, and doors that were open, started closing. It was a beautiful thing. I got laid off and pulled out of the ministry I was involved in. I never questioned what the Lord was doing—I knew in my spirit greater things were coming," recalled Chris.

Chris' mentor mentioned CBC, and suggested Chris check out the school's website. The first time he visited the site, he sensed the Lord leading him to attend. Every time he went to the site, the Holy Spirit seemed to flood his body, and he began to consider moving to Colorado. While still contemplating Chris and a friend ministering to a young man in downtown Colorado Springs. (Click to enlarge)the move, Chris and some friends attended Andrew's 2010 Gospel Truth Seminar in Atlanta. At the GTS, one of Chris' friends paid for his registration to attend CBC.

Two years at Charis further solidified Chris' relationship with the Lord and fueled his growing passion for street ministry. "The Word that was planted during my first year amplified the way I was able to communicate with people," said Chris. The Lord used Isaiah 61:1 to quicken Chris' spirit and call him into ministry. "This verse has come alive in me and given me a heart for people. I was a drug addict for ten years, Visible joy. Chris had just finished ministering to the young man in the Heat jersey. (See photo above).
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and I have been released. Now I can release others through lots of love. I get to demonstrate God's love to the world, just like Jesus," he said excitedly.

Since his graduation from CBC, Chris has taken his revelation of God's unconditional love for him, and has begun to minister to any and all who will listen. For the past several years Chris has been ministering late at night, on the weekends, in downtown Colorado Springs. Though he said he usually has a handful of Charis students with him when he heads out at 12:30 am, he will also hit the streets by himself if the Lord leads him to do so. Whether he goes with a team or without, Chris Chris also serves as the Small Group and Outreach Pastor at Pulse. This photo was taken at a Pulse Children's Festival, held in the fall of 2012.
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normally ministers for several hours before calling it a night—or morning. Chris said he and his teams are usually well received by the late-night crowd, and that they see many hearts and bodies healed through their ministry. As he meets people on the street, he is aware that they are not encountering Chris' own intellect, knowledge or opinion, but rather Christ operating in and through him. "They are encountering Jesus, face-to-face, and that's what captures the human heart—it is the love of God that leads them to repentance and relationship."

Chris has also hooked up with a growing body of believers in Colorado Springs called, Pulse, a ministry founded by fellow CBC graduate Justin Knapp. Today, Chris serves as the Chris performing a wedding ceremony. (Click to enlarge)Small Groups and Outreach Pastor for the predominantly twenty-something's gathering. His groups, shaped by his call to street ministry, are preparing to operate as evangelism outreach teams. Chris' vision includes multiple teams serving the community throughout the week, in addition to the late-night out reach currently happening on the weekends.

Chris said, "I used to make money for a living and do ministry on the side. Now my primary focus is meeting with people and sharing the love of Christ. I sow into people, people sow into me and God brings the increase. Thank you CBC for putting God first and for equipping the saints for the ministry the Father has for each of His children."

Monday
Nov192012

Charis Bible College's School of Media

AWM Media Operations Manager and Director of CBC-Colorado's School of Media, Stephen Bransford. He has been with AWM since 2000, and has been in media for 40 years. Stephen has worked with Jim Baker, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, Reinhard Bonnke, and many others. (Click to enlarge)Regular visitors to this site know that we frequently feature the news stories and testimonies of the evangelists, missionaries and pastors that Charis Bible College equips for the work of the ministry. Today's post however, is about the people serving behind the scenes, those who come along side the people on the platform to help deliver the message the Lord has entrusted to the messenger—the media ministers.

In today's tech-driven world, ministries are able to reach more people and advance the Kingdom faster through the effective use of media. Media simply refers to the means by which a message is shared. The ever-expanding list of tools used to spread a minister's message includes email, websites, blogging, social Assistant Directors of the School of Media, Jeff and Autumn Nakkula. According to Jeff, the goal at the school is to equip the students to help other ministries to produce better communications. "I love it when gifted ministers can focus on ministering, and someone can come along side them and help communicate their vision to supporters and partners," he said. (Click to enlarge)media and online video channels, as well as the traditional outlets of print, publishing, TV and radio broadcasting. Not everyone is called to be on the platform, some are called to support and spread the messages through these means. In an effort to equip those called to media as a ministry, a ministry of helps, staff members at AWM and CBC have developed a third-year program aptly called, the School of Media.

The program, directed by AWM's Media Operations Manager, Stephen Bransford, and facilitated by Assistant Directors, Jeff and Autumn Nakkula, has its roots in Stephen's willingness to yield to the Lord's leading to serve as Andrew's television producer 12 years ago. At the time, Stephen was producing a film for Billy Graham; a promotional piece called, Amsterdam 2000. Although he was being productive, it was a tumultuous time in Stephen's life and career. As he sought the Lord's direction in prayer, Stephen submissively Original opening graphics from the early days of Andrew's Gospel Truth program. (Click to enlarge)asked for guidance, and promptly found God's reply buried in his email inbox.

"I had a conversation with God in which I resigned every project I had in motion. I just laid it all down and asked, 'Where would you like me to serve you, Lord?' Andrew’s search for a TV producer had already been sent to me via email, and I had ignored it. I hadn’t taken it seriously. One day, as I was working on the Billy Graham film, I saw the email at the bottom of my inbox. I stopped and asked God, “Am I missing something? Are you trying to give me an answer here?” recalled Stephen.

Critique time! During this class, the students newsletter projects are evaluated for the effectiveness of the design and communication of content.
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Stephen immediately made arrangements to meet with Andrew. The next day, as Stephen entered the ministry's building, then located on Robinson Street in Colorado Springs, he knew he was where God wanted him. Stephen said, "I felt the peace that passes understanding. I saw the classroom with a 15 foot ceiling, where I would one day hang a lighting grid and build the first studio. I saw the office where I would edit the programs—all in the first twenty seconds after entering the building. I hadn’t even met Andrew yet. Everything I saw came true in a matter of months. God did answer my prayer in that email."

Stephen said, "Each student will emerge from Media School with hands-on experience in the basics of website creation, branding, fundraising writing for print and electronic publication, newsletter writing, video production, and some use of social media. They will be trained in the use of a Macbook Pro and Adobe software to accomplish these goals."
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The meeting, in Stephen's words, "Turned out to be a divine appointment." The two spent about an hour together, and Stephen left with a sampling of Andrew's books and teachings. After reviewing the materials, Stephen not only had a good feel for Andrew's ministry, but he had begun a new chapter with the Lord. "Andrew’s teaching on Whose Righteousness really helped me. I was very much a performance driven Christian, and Andrew helped me begin to enjoy my inheritance in Jesus Christ," said Stephen.

"Media communicates a message, and the message we want to send is the Gospel and the good reports from the people who preach the Gospel. We are helping the Gospel be preached through video, print and the Internet, and we are helping the ministers who preach it by fundraising for them," said Autumn.(Click to enlarge)Through the creation of the Gospel Truth TV program and his vision for creating series like Healing Journeys, Stephen's expertise in media communications helped to propel Andrew's ministry around the world. Today the Gospel Truth is available to more than two-billion viewers per day.

Over the years, Stephen's role has broadened to include oversight of all of Andrew's media, and he was also given the opportunity to teach a class at the Bible college. Stephen's days as an instructor began when a student asked him for assistance with a fundraising DVD he had made to raise support for a mission trip. Stephen was able to help him, and A logo design created by current Media School student, Sandra Duarte.
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in the process, realized he had a wealth of experience to share with any student who needed similar help. A short time later, Andrew asked if Stephen would teach an elective on the power of media, and that was the beginning of Stephen's course Ministry, Media and Money.

Two years ago, Stephen was given the opportunity to speak during a student chapel hour. He shared a message called, You’ve Got a Story. Stephen said, "I like to say that everyone has a story. It is the story of Christ in you, and who you are in Christ—a never-ending story with unlimited potential to change lives." Stephen saw something powerful happen as a result of his chapel teaching. The following term, more than 80 students signed up for his elective class. "Suddenly, This is a screen shot of a video production created by Media School graduate, Michael O'Malley. "No one will graduate with equal skills in all areas of communications. We want them to go with the strengths they discover during the year and let others fill out the team where they are weak. Nothing will prevent them from being useful in media ministry immediately upon graduation," Stephen said. (Click to enlarge)students began to believe that media was ministry, as much as any of the five-fold ministries. Andrew then asked that we take that momentum to start a third-year media school," said Stephen.

According to Stephen, the goal of CBC's School of Media is to identify and develop those called to the ministry of media and to see them bless and prosper those ministers they come along side. "Everyone born of God has a ministry, but ministry communicated badly results in discouragement, setbacks and burn out. Most people need help in order to tell their story effectively. Media ministers are those with the training and talent to help someone communicate their ministry effectively. Not everyone is gifted equally in this regard. It is important to focus on the gifts you’ve been given and develop them to excellence," said Stephen.

If you have a passion for media and feel called to share the Gospel through media ministry, or would like more information about Charis Bible College's School of Media, be sure to visit CBC's website to find out how you can become part of this growing segment of ministry.