High school senior Breana Berry of The Worship Center (South Boston Foursquare Church) in Virginia called Foursquare Ignite Academy’s upcoming East Coast move “awesome.” She has been accepted into the program and can’t wait to participate in Ignite when it opens in its new location on the campus of CrossPointe Conference Center in Christiansburg, Va., in fall 2011.

Ignite was launched on the campus of Life Pacific College (LPC) in San Dimas, Calif., in 2008 and has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with LPC for the past three years. Enrollment has been at capacity for four semesters, with a total of 218 students participating in the program since its inception.

From the beginning, Ignite leaders knew they would eventually need to find a permanent home for the training program. Ignite founder and director Mike Larkin, Ph.D., says CrossPointe Conference Center has always been a consideration.

“The key was not to simply relocate a California ministry to the East Coast,” Mike says, “but to develop a comprehensive East Coast experience.”

Ignite students will be introduced to travel and ministry outreach opportunities in New York, North Carolina, Washington, D.C. and other urban centers in the East. Students will also participate in semester-ending global missions trips.

“Ignite is very appealing to young people graduating from high school,” Mike asserts. Ignite, he explains, is a “reproducible, hands-on ministry where discipleship, academics, global ministry and local community outreach are all synchronized together.”

Several East Coast pastors and leaders expressed support for the move, and prospective students and their families also provided valuable input as the discussion gained momentum.

Hillary Jones of Amelia, Va., was excited to learn that Ignite is coming to her state. The 18-year old student is making plans to be in the inaugural class at the CrossPointe campus.

“To have a training institution strategically located in the East gives us the opportunity to involve young leaders in a process of training and discipleship early as they are seeking God’s full direction for their lives,” says Farrell Lemings, senior pastor of Grace Covenant (Cornelius Foursquare Church) in North Carolina. Grace Covenant leaders have offered to provide service opportunities for Ignite students.

Bill Gross, senior pastor of Hope Chapel (Apex Foursquare Church) in North Carolina, echoes Pastor Farrell’s sentiments. In a letter to the Foursquare board of directors, he said his church will provide two full scholarships for the first wave of emerging leaders who attend Ignite in Virginia.

Developing Ignite on the East Coast is a tangible expression of a commitment expressed by Foursquare board members and executives to young leaders in the East.

“We see Ignite as the first step in developing innovative educational programs at CrossPointe to serve the Eastern districts and churches,” says Dan Hedges, D.Min., Foursquare’s national director of education and leadership development.

Foursquare supervisors from the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Heartland, Gateway and MidSouth districts expressed unanimous support for bringing Ignite to Virginia. In a letter to the board of directors and General Supervisor Tammy Dunahoo, these supervisors wrote: “We believe this relocation reflects the original prophetic vision in the 1990s of Christiansburg being an eastern-based Foursquare educational hub.”

The board agreed with the supervisors and, in November 2010, approved the move with a vision to provide significant educational opportunities for leadership training in the eastern United States. Ignite leaders believe the move will open the door for even more young leaders from throughout the U.S. to take advantage of the hands-on ministry training and spiritual formation Ignite offers.

Mike Larkin says the three-year incubation period of Ignite on the West Coast campus of LPC has been invaluable. The partnership was especially important as the leadership team developed the educational framework of the Ignite program.

Dan Hedges believes that Ignite has been beneficial to LPC, as well, and says the dynamics of the West Coast Ignite program will be integrated into the LPC curriculum.

“Life Pacific College will continue to serve as an educational partner to Ignite,” Dan adds. In fact, through an articulation agreement with LPC, Ignite students can receive transferable college credit toward future training, if they so desire.

Foursquare is considering adding its first Ignite satellite program in late 2012 on the River of Refuge campus in Kansas City, Mo., in partnership with Pastor John Wiley and River Christian Fellowship (Kansas City East Foursquare Church) in Raytown, Mo.

Mike Larkin believes Ignite is a highly reproducible program that can fit well in other locations around the country and the world. Ignite’s move to Christiansburg could well be just the beginning.

Applications are now being accepted online, and additional information is available at www.getignited.org.

By: Rod Light, an ordained Foursquare minister and educator in Los Angeles