Foursquare’s Ignite Academy celebrated two major achievements at a recent event in Christiansburg, Va., that was attended by Foursquare President Glenn Burris Jr.; Ignite Academy President Mike Larkin, Ph.D.; Life Pacific College President Dr. Robert Flores; Vice President of Corporate Affairs/Chief Operating Officer Sterling Brackett; and 200 leaders and Ignite students.

At the same time that a new group of Ignite students are moving into dorms on their new campus at CrossPointe, the program is also celebrating its recent accreditation to operate as an extension campus of Life Pacific College (LPC, also called LIFE Bible College).

“I couldn't be more pleased with the formal move of the Ignite Academy to the campus of CrossPointe,” Glenn affirms. “This immersion discipleship model will have a significant impact on our recruiting, training and releasing of emerging leaders.”

On July 19, 2011, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) voted unanimously to approve of Ignite operating as an extension campus of LPC. This means that the college classes offered at Ignite will be governed by LPC and taught by adjunct faculty who are accredited through LPC.

In addition, the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), which is the accrediting arm for Christian schools, has approved LPC to offer the Ignite extension campus in Virginia; also, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accrediting Commission will be initiating a site visit to the Ignite Academy during the upcoming school year.

In the past three years, through an articulation agreement with LPC, Ignite students have been able to receive limited transferable college credits. But the new accreditation ensures transferability of college credits to any college institution.

Mike Larkin affirms the importance of the relationship between the Foursquare denomination and Ignite, which was incorporated as a subsidiary of Foursquare instead of as a separate non-profit organization.

“I recognize the historical value of LPC within our movement,” the president of Ignite Academy notes. “It behooves Ignite to be linked with our heritage. The investment of Foursquare into Ignite has been invaluable, and I am committed to raising up leaders within our denomination.”

Ignite’s new status results in important benefits for students, parents and the school. Mike notes that the first question parents ask when inquiring about Ignite is if the academics are accredited. The young people who come to Ignite are going to be discipled to discover their “life mission,” but parents also want assurance that the extra years of schooling will set their children on the right track if they chose to transfer for further education.

Additionally, in the current economic times, more and more students are having trouble raising funds for continuing education. With accreditation, Ignite will qualify for Title IV government funding, which will help students pay their way. Receiving financial aid will increase enrollment and make more room for students who might not be able to pay on their own.

Academics is part of what Ignite does, but the thrust of the program is its focus on making biblical education practical, and putting “hands on” to theological biblical training. Many young people today don’t want to merely sit in a sterile classroom; they want involvement.

Ignite combines the academic with the practical in one program. For example, students go on missions trips as well as write papers about their ministry experiences.

Ignite consists of four 3-1/2 month semesters. In addition to classes, students spend 15 to 20 hours a week serving the surrounding community, local churches and various outreach ministries. During the fall semester, students travel two different times for seven days on urban mission teams on the East Coast. Following the spring semester, students travel to one of three designated global mission stations for at least 20 days.

“The bottom line.” Mike asserts, “is that we want our students to be knowledgeable about the Word of God, familiar with the voice of the Lord, walk with an uncompromising walk, and serve the Lord with passion and compassion.”

For more information on Ignite Academy, visit www.getignited.org.

By: Amy Swanson, a pastor’s wife and director of women’s ministry at New Life Church, a Foursquare church in Santa Barbara, Calif.