Teen Mania Ministries & Acquire the Fire Headquarters Moving to Dallas
Teen Mania International was founded by Ron Luce and his wife Katie founded in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1986. It has since grown into one of the largest youth programs in America.
The primary program they are know for now are their "Acquire the Fire" events that are held in over 30 cities across the United States and Canada each year. These conferences consist of Christian teachings, full-length stage dramas, worship via song, and live concerts. In past years, ATF / Battle Cry producers had adopted a militaristic tone, with frequent use of words such as "battle," "enemy," "soldier," "foes" and "warfare," accompanied by the display of military imagery and, at one such event, the use of simulated weapons. Recent events however have focused on Christ's call to sacrificial love, and having an encounter with God.
The ministry focuses much of its energy towards its domestic and overseas mission trips, operated under the title "Global Expeditions". Teen Mania also operates a one-year-long residential leadership training program on its campus, titled the Honor Academy, aimed towards high school graduates, and college students. Teen Mania's media branch of the organization works as a separate unit, titled the "Center for Creative Media", which provides a two-year internship for students desiring to work in live events, new media, television, and audio fields of the media industry. In the May 2014 issue of Solutions Magazine, Teen Mania Ministries announced that it would be expanding it's work to include overseas churches.
The ministry has faced criticism for its use of overtly militaristic symbolism, as well as techniques that have been compared as similar to military training. It has also been criticized by some former interns and employees for what they characterize as spiritual abuse and financial mismanagement.
In month of February 2014 it changed its name from "Teen Mania Ministries" as part of a move from Garden Valley to Dallas after defaulting on the mortgage on their campus. Founder Ron Luce called the management team to share the big news that Teen Mania would abandon the 472 acres and move to a still-undetermined site in Dallas. Luce framed the decision as one that would allow the ministry to have a global reach, and unveiled a press release that did not use the words "default" or "foreclosure" even though that appeared to be what was happening.
Teen Mania's list of endorsers includes Franklin Graham, Josh McDowell, and former President George W. Bush, who named Luce in 2002 to the White House Advisory Commission on Drug-Free Communities. The four-man Teen Mania President's Council is made up of televangelist James Robison, Pentecostal pastor Jack Hayford, best-selling author John Maxwell, and Paul Nelson, a former president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).
Ron and Katie Luce claim they do not receive royalties for any product that is sold through the ministry or used for fundraising or other promotional purposes by Teen Mania. Luce has been more forthcoming recently about some of his failings as a leader, but hopes to get this once strong ministry back on the right track.