Ron Luce, the co-founder and president of Teen Mania International has announced the end of the 30-year-old organization.
The evangelical Christian youth organization located in Dallas, Texas, established Acquire the Fire in 1991. Acquire the Fire used high-tech and high-impact worship and teaching seminars to reach teens and young adults.
Over three million teens attended Acquire the Fire events over the last three decades. The 27-hour youth conference has toured across North America for 25 years, serving the primary purpose to instill a “fresh fire from God.”
More than 100,000 North American youth pastors partnered with the ministry as it worked alongside churches and national leaders in other countries.
ORU alumna Nikki Trohoski was among the millions of teens reached. She attended Honor Academy, a branch of Teen Mania Ministries, from 2008 to 2009 as a part of the internship program.
“To hear an organization you devoted so much time, energy and money to, and that you credit for so many of your current accomplishments, is closing– it’s heartbreaking and frustrating,” Trohoski said.
The ministry focused on dying to themselves and trusting in God’s purpose for each of their lives.
“It’s hard to say what my most meaningful takeaway from Teen Mania Ministries was. I found that I could do far more than I ever thought possible,” Trohoski said. “Some walked away feeling more frustrated than they were entering. Others, and I think the majority, had an experience similar to mine. It was life-changing and helped pave the way for their lives, where they are now and wouldn’t change the course if they had the opportunity.”
After years of success, the ministry began to face financial decline in 2008 when total revenue dropped from $35.6 million to $23.1 million over the course of a single year.
The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability repealed Teen Mania’s membership following the foreclosure of its 472-acre property in 2015.
The ministry then faced a $174,000 lawsuit from Compassion International in October. Teen Mania also lost half of its independent board members during this time.
Luce declined to comment, but the Acquire the Fire website released a statement before it was recently shut down.
“Katie and I feel this chapter coming to a close and are grateful to the Lord for all that He has done through those who have rallied around this vision over the years,” Luce said. “Together we have taken many risks, climbed many mountains and slayed many giants.”
According to a second statement, the ministry will be attending bankruptcy court and liquidating all assets of the ministry in an attempt to satisfy vendors.
“As Teen Mania began in Oklahoma, in order to assure an orderly process and to centralize the liquidation, it has been decided to proceed through the Northen District of Oklahoma Bankruptcy Court,” the statement said.
Luce remains hopeful for the future, despite the ministry’s closure.
“We feel like this season has come to a close this chapter is done,” Luce said. “To speak with biblical reference, this wine skin is done being used. It’s time for a new wine skin.”