A Jesus-First Educational Model – School of Kingdom Writers

When I was a kid, I loved to cook in the kitchen with my mom. I loved to help, to be around her.  It seemed like she could make anything, and cooking with her never felt like work. It felt like play.

She had a big recipe box, packed with scraps of paper and note cards she’d collected over the years. She always told me “If you can read, you can cook.” And she’s right.

The fact is that if you can read, you can do anything.  I once rehabbed a 3,500 square foot house solely by reading.  Plumbing, electrical, roofing, flooring—there’s a book for everything. And if there’s not a book, there’s a website.

In ministry, once we’re connected to the Holy Spirit, the other tools that we need are more or less incidental. Like reading, once we’re working in communion with God, we can do anything.

The School of Kingdom Writers has a three-pronged curriculum: art and craft of writing, industry knowledge and professional development, and spiritual development. The most important of these three is spiritual development.

When we’re connected to the Holy Spirit, He actively directs us, He leads us through our intuition, and He supernaturally imparts skills that we don’t have. In the book of Acts, the apostles speak in languages they do not know, they break out of prison without effort, they speak and convert thousands without writing sermons or planning ahead, they are cared for, rescued, and delivered without any preparations. The list goes on.

God certainly uses training, practice, and apprenticeship to impart skills, and we see that modeled through the book of Acts as well. The other elements of our curriculum are rigorous and practical.

But we do live in the reality that God is awesome and all-powerful. When He calls someone to do a task, it is He who does the equipping. Psalm 127 reads “Unless the Lord builds the house, the workers labor in vain.”

At the School of Kingdom Writers, our top priority is to connect our students with the Holy Spirit. Part of that is teaching spiritual disciplines—things like abundant prayer, fasting, solitude, community, and worship. These disciplines help to put our mind and body in a receptive state to hear God more effectively.

When we’re relying on God and doing out best to hear his voice, our next step is to take risks and make opportunities for God to move in powerful ways.

There is a kinetic act of introduction to the miraculous. I’ve always believed in an active Holy Spirit and a miraculous God. But for most of my life it was an exception to actually see a miracle like a spontaneous healing from sickness or injury.  It wasn’t until I started hanging out with people who were seeing miracles regularly, people who expect that God will do the miracle and regularly see such results, that God in His grace opened up my faith in a new way to practice in the miraculous. I don’t pretend to understand the mechanics of how or why this works, but this type of introduction, of passing the faith from one to the next, seems to be a common story among people who effectively practice the miraculous.

And we expect that as we practice these disciplines, as we introduce students to the Holy Spirit and the miraculous, and as we take risks and make opportunities for students to minister to individuals in need, that our students will grow in their faith, learn to hear God more clearly, and begin to practice their faith in the supernatural realms. I expect that will look different for each student, God will emphasize different gifts and calling for each one, but each will operate in the supernatural.

This is something that makes our program hugely unique.

Most Christian colleges and universities that I’m aware of provide a similar education to any secular liberal arts college, but with some opportunities for theological development and a sort of safe Christian culture and residential environment.  These programs are conventional higher educational models, wrapped in a Christian envelope.

There’s nothing wrong with that. This isn’t a condemnation or judgment of that model.

However, our program is different—the core, the primary function, is spiritual development. We are building Jesus ministers who [do this thing], instead of people educated to do this thing [with a little Jesus].  We are layering practical skills on top of a deep, profound, and productive relationship with Jesus.

We are not creating an education with a little bit of Jesus. We are here for Jesus, all-in, and then we’re going to give our students some skills to take the Jesus they know out to others.

In this case they’ll be trained with a writing and publishing skill set as a mechanism for sharing God’s love.

We’re excited to see what God is going to do. We’re excited to double-down on His promises—to take what He’s said in the Bible at face value. We’re not perfect and we’re not done, but taking God at his word and operating in faith has worked in our lives, and we can’t wait to share that with others.

Learn more about the School of Kingdom Writers at www.SOKW.org.

Dusty School of Kingdom Writers

Introducing the School of Kingdom Writers

I have an amazing life. And I don’t deserve it.

Melissa and I have been on this adventure with God since 2007. We’ve experienced so much.

We’ve traveled the country, we’ve started successful companies, we’ve rehabbed a house in a broken inner-city neighborhood, we’ve been farmers, we’ve owned a restaurant, we’ve published books, and we’ve met and worked with the most amazing people. We’ve also added four of the best human beings to the planet.

Since moving to Zanesville, we’ve seen so many miracles first-hand in our community–lengthening of legs, restoration of hearing, deliverance from seizures, instantaneous release from addiction, financial miracles, healing of so many sicknesses and injuries, families restored, and so much more.

And God has a new adventure for us.

In the spring of 2018 we began to feel a call to full-time ministry.  As that developed, the call became more specific—our mission is to raise up creative writers as full-time ministers in the church. We believe that God is calling Melissa and me to start a program which will prepare creative writers for full-time ministry and equip them with the skills and knowledge to advance the Kingdom of God.

We began to call this the “School of Kingdom Writers.”  Over the past many months, this calling has been confirmed prophetically, and we have spent a lot of time in prayer developing the details. On September 1, I left my position as CEO of my company in order to pursue this mission full-time.

School of Kingdom Writers

The School of Kingdom Writers is a 2-year full-time apprenticeship and discipleship program for individuals who are gifted and called to use creative writing as a vocational ministry. The program will accept 12 students per year, and train them in the art and craft of creative writing, provide publishing industry knowledge and professional development, and develop spiritual disciplines and ministry experience. This program will be ideal for aspiring Christian novelists, essayists, bloggers, and social media content creators.

We want to teach people to rely fully on God, to pray for and see miracles, and, with their hearts totally fixed on Jesus, to craft novels, essays, stories, and social media content that radiates the love of Christ.

We’ve plotted three years for the development of the curriculum, the property, and fundraising. Once it’s up and running, the school will be completely tuition funded.

This mission exists at the confluence of so many things that God has been developing in me over the past many years. I’m so excited to see what God will continue to cultivate in me personally over the next three years while we build this school.

I’m not perfect, nor am I done following hard after Jesus and drawing closer to Him. But I can, in God’s grace and humility, say that Jesus has built me into a writer with a tremendous amount of publishing experience and the heart of a teacher, who practices miracles and casts out demons in His glorious name, and who is passionate about Advancing the Kingdom of God at all costs. I am humbled and excited by the prospect of sharing these things and discipling others on their journey.

You can learn more about the school at www.SOKW.org. Or visit this link to sign up our mailing list.

If you’d like to join our personal prayer team, to pray specifically for Melissa and I as we embark on this, please email us at kingdomwritingschool@gmail.com.

God is doing amazing things in our country and in our culture. We’re thrilled to play our part, and look forward to working hard to bring this mission to fruition.