Acquire the Fire?!?!?

October 16, 2007 at 9:04 pm 23 comments


Disclaimer: I confess that I am venting…Enter at your own risk. 🙂


So I just spent 30 minutes talking to a guy from Acquire the Fire. He called and asked if I had a few minutes to discuss a life changing event. Me, being a glutton for punishment and pain decided I would hear him out. He talked and talked about how wonderful this event was. He talked for 15 minutes. Here are some of the highlights.


Ø      “We gotta use the media against the world”


Ø      “The Media isn’t Satan, well not exactly”


Ø      “The person with the loudest voice will be heard” (I have no idea why he said this…)


Ø      “If we don’t give God 100% then we aren’t giving Him everything” (I actually laughed when he said this. I couldn’t hold it in)


Ø      “We gotta start taking back our generation. You want your kids to take back their generation, right?” (I didnt respond to this)


Ø      “If you don’t believe in something you’re willing to die for, then why are you alive?” (This was said with great passion!)


Ø      “If I was a youth pastor, I wouldn’t let my kids miss out on this life changing event.”


After all of this, he made the mistake of asking me what I thought. I began to lovingly tell him about my cynicism in relationship to “life changing large events.” I even told him about my disdain for Christian marketing junk that I receive daily and in large quantities. I told him that it’s my belief that students often come to these events and experience an emotionally charged high, which wears off shortly after they return home. I went on to ask him about his own personal experience with these types of events when he was a teenager. He agreed that he did experience emotional highs that simply didn’t last. (By the way: This guy really did seem to have a good heart. I got the impression that he really did want people to experience life change. He was very honest and open with me, which I respected. I have no problem with him, but perhaps I have issues with his employer. 🙂 )


As most of you know, I have a deep contempt for all this junk. For a while, I’ve been wondering why that is. Initially it was because I don’t like having 30 pieces of mail everyday telling me that I need to send my kids to this life changing event. If I had a dollar for every time an event promised to change a generation, I would retire. What I’ve come to find is the real source of my disdain is the reality that these things don’t work and people are spending a lot of time, effort, and money on them. Acquire the Fire had over 20 events this year. There are countless other events like this that have taken place. It would be a fair estimation to suggest that hundreds of these events have taken place this year. I am unconvinced that the generation is radically different become of them. I could be wrong (and I actually hope I am) but I just don’t see that. 


I think it’s fine to go to Acquire the Fire. Sure, take your kids there. Heck, I may even take my kids there. (It’s highly unlikely) But if you are taking them to one of these events expecting some lasting revolutionary life altering experience, I suggest you will only be right for about a week….


Entry filed under: 1.

Change… Positive Post!

23 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ypguybrit  |  October 16, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    😉 ATF is all over the place now a days. funny that i was talking about it several days ago as well. so did this guy to promote the camp to you?

  • 2. Ryan  |  October 16, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    Noah, How long have you been at PRFBC now?

  • 3. pastornoah  |  October 16, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    SInce January 21st…Why?

    Yes, he was trying to convince me to take my kids…

  • 4. ypguybrit  |  October 16, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    wow thats strange i didn’t know they were doing a form of telemarketing now a days. thats kinda scary. has your church gone ever before?
    as for the voice that speaks the loudest thats a Bill O’reilly concept i would say. i have some great videos of bill and Ron on youtube

  • 5. pastornoah  |  October 16, 2007 at 11:50 pm

    They have gone in the past i believe. I am not absolutely opposed to going, I just don’t share the same intended outcomes. I dont expect my kids to be “forever changed” because of the event….

    Bill O’Reilly? No thanks. Like his show, but dont think i want to be showing Bill O’Reilly videos…

  • 6. ypguybrit  |  October 17, 2007 at 12:17 am

    hahaha its not for showing its just for entertainment on your end

  • 7. Matt  |  October 17, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Fun thoughts. Did I inspire you when I told you about my conversation with ATF?

    I would say as someone who knows you, do not consider ATF. If you are going to spend time and money on something like this, there are better options than ATF.

    I’m still thinking that I’m going to try doing no “large events” (at least for high school) for a couple of years. I’m going to have a blog post on this eventually.

  • 8. pastornoah  |  October 17, 2007 at 8:22 am

    Yes you did matt. I decided to talk to them and tell them why i don’t respond well to them. It was quite therapeutic for me. 🙂

    Looking forward to your post my friend.

  • 9. Ryan  |  October 17, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    Noah, …reading your blog thoughts helps me get to your mind somewhat. I asked the length of service at PRFBC, because I appreciated your choice of words in your blog. You have been here less than a year, and the personal ownership around the building biblical community/local church development area you illustrate through the words “my kids” is, well, sweet action. Have a swell day!

  • 10. Rusty  |  October 17, 2007 at 11:31 pm

    i never said i would make more posts on my blog.

  • 11. Kelly  |  October 19, 2007 at 3:52 am

    I went to ATF in High School (about 11 years ago) and about the only things I remember are this disgusting skit they did and the fact that in the videos we had to watch before hand they kept saying “It’s gonna blow your face off!” None of us exactly knew what that ment.

  • 12. marilyn  |  October 21, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Puhleese. The ticket prices are ridiculous. The “branded hoodie” is $35??? I was stunned.

    And frankly, if Christian music (rock or not) wasn’t so lousy, I’d listen to more of it. I can not believe that God wants us to listen to pablum. Or to ridiculous comments from the stage. Ron Luce made a heck of a lot of money last year that — IF he means he cares about teens — should be invested in drug treatment centers or something where unchurched teens really hang out. Not having kids in his army to run his events for next to nada.

    But what do I know? I’m the mom of 2 Christian teens who happen to like U2 more than Tomlin. (Oh – and I’m a pastor too.)


  • 13. Neo-Youth Ministry Methods: Local and Contextual « Mattopia  |  November 12, 2007 at 5:24 am

    […] Methods: Local and Contextual Posted on November 11, 2007 by Matt My good friend Noah recently recounted a phone conversation he had with an Acquire the Fire representative. I had a similar conversation […]

  • 14. jeff  |  November 27, 2007 at 5:49 am

    A few thoughts…

    You mentioned your disdain for large events which produce an emotional hight. I agree with that and would add that I think those kinds of events leave people with the feeling that if they do not feel spiritually high, then there is something wrong with them and they are a bad Christian….I think they can work AGAINST mature faith.

    Two, the person calling you was probably a 19 year old kid. ATF has kids pay nearly $1000 a month to be telemarketers are their honor academy. They call it a life changing experience but really they are grunts and are almost brainwashed. No joke, I had a kid from my church attend the academy and he said to a friend, “all other Bible colleges teach opinions, we are the only one who teaches the truth.” Not only is that cult-like, but they don’t even take much by way of classes.

    Three, Rolling Stone Mag, which I never read, had an interesting piece up on Teen Mania. You may want to check it out. I think if found it at YSMarko.

    Also there is a web site, acquire the evidence of something like that that collects some pretty interesting stories about ATF.

  • 15. Danielle  |  November 30, 2007 at 8:34 am


    I am the director of the Portland ATF and in reading your comments I am very interested in hearing more of your thoughts. Can I give you a call sometime to talk. I would love to hear what you are doing with your ministry currently and about the ways you think different programs or outreaches would benefit the students. Thank you!

    God Bless,

  • 16. pastornoah  |  November 30, 2007 at 10:47 am

    sure…office: 479-451-8192

  • 17. jeff  |  November 30, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    I would like to revise a comment I made about the Honor Academy being “brainwashing.”

    Brainwashing is, on further reflection, to strong a word to use when classifying what goes on there.

    I got an e-mail from someone at Teen Mania and he was very respectful in his tone despite my poor choice of words.

    I am not a fan of what goes on there or how they go about it, but I should have been more careful in my words. I apologize.

  • 18. Alyssa  |  January 15, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    Umm.. Really, I think ATF is awesome! Being a teenager, I’ll probably get rolled out of this, but I think ATF made an impact in my life. I’ve gone three ATFs, and they seem to get better and better. My youth group has really grown too, and we’re even raising money to make our own event for our city… To tell you the truth I came across your blog while doing research for a report on Acquire the Fire for my English class.. (I better get back to typing it..)
    ~But, we’re entitled to our opinions, so God Bless.~

  • 19. pastornoah  |  January 15, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    thanks for your thoughts. I am glad that this event has meant so much to you and your youth group. I really mean that. Good luck with your paper. It is good for everyone to express their opinions. My blog is and will always be a safe place to do that!
    God Bless!

  • 20. Sherece  |  April 8, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I personally think Aquire the Fire is a great environment for a teen to become excited about thier faith, and listen to their favority rock or rap artists, but that is not what it was only created for. The reason thier prices are so high is because their company is only supporting themselves just like a private school. So i have no problem with their prices. The honor Academy is there not to make you think a certian way its there if you want to center in your whole life on God. Their job is to put teens in a maturity level so that they can carry on the ministry. Not exactly in ATF but the ministry that God has called on thier life. If it is true that they say that they are the only school that knows what they are doing, then they are wrong for that, but incase you havent notice they are human too. I have been to acquire the fire for four years in a row and i do agree that after a while it does get a little boring. But i realized why. I heard God tell me that its my turn to share the gospel and stop being hipped and intertained. they ministry is there for those to see who God is and experience the grace of God, not for christians to constantly gather together and be hipped. Sure, lets be hipped, but lets turn around and excite, minister and share the gospel. And incase anyone who works at ATF reads this i want to let them know that becuase of your hard work, I have become closer to God and i now desire to become a christian modivational speaker and carry on the work you guys started. thanks.

  • 21. Pastor Dave  |  September 9, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    ATF and events like this are spending millions and having kids and youth groups spend millions upon millions (Actually good luck finding out how much money is spent on all of this each year) to continue to tell kids we need to change…

    According to their statistics 4% of this next generation are Christians

    25% of Teens have an STD
    75% of Teens have had sex

    The list goes on and on… and yet, they continue to hold huge rallies “TALKING” about change. I see millions of dollars that surely could be spent “DOING” something about change rather than talking…

    if 4% are Christians… These events are little more than HUGE failures that cost money but surely keep Ron Luce or whomever in the money.

    I have been saying for years that these types of Rallys are about as far from what True Christianity is all about, glad to see a post that at least somewhat agrees that they are a waste of time.

  • 22. Kastang  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:32 pm

    I agree with Big events. I have been to an ATF event in the past. But when do we start fighting for the Gospel and leave the hype out of it. When does it get ltoo egalistic and not about the word of God. I still think there is a need for “Big” events, but it depends on the Youth Leader and what they want out of an event. Is the word of God being spoken clearly and is there a clear Gospel message?? I have been to three dare2share events….I don’t know if you are familiar with that event. It is not as big as ATF, but that is ok with me. It’s about sharing the gospel with your friends, talking about Jesus and what he did. And also growing deep in your faith. How can you be passionate about the gospel if you don’t even own your own faith. But again, it’s not for everyone. As long as we are sharing a clear Gospel message who cares what event people go to.

  • 23. just a thought  |  September 25, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    the reason there is no lasting impact is because the kids are not encouraged to grow once they go back to their Church.
    My life was change by an event, because I am hugery for the truth. If we don’t have faith that change can come, it will never come. If you let the kid know the truth and let them make the choice God can bring change. You forget that just because something is dose not mean it will not happen. God loves to do the imposible.

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Stuff I am reading:

The Ultimate Priority
The Ultimate Priority
John MacArthur

How Soul Change Leads to Social Change
The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change
Brenda Salter Mcneil

The Dangerous Illusion of a Manageable Deity
The Trivialization of God: The Dangerous Illusion of a Manageable Deity
Donald W. McCullough

Books I want to read soon….(In the on deck circle)

Making Disciples a Few at a Time
Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time
Greg Ogden

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