By Susan LeDoux
Jamie Fischer, Director of LeTourneau Christian Center, told The Good News Psalm 90:17 was the prayer of his heart for the ministry at LeTourneau (located on the east shore of Canandaigua Lake in Rushville, New York).
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands.” (Psalm 90: 17)
After 30 years under the stewardship of Family Life Ministries, Fischer said the deed and control of the vision of this ministry passed to LeTourneau’s staff and Board of Directors in November 2015. Since then, “the primary ‘work of our hands,’ and the heartbeat of this ministry, has been to build up the Kingdom of God,” Fischer said.
According to their vision, “building the Kingdom” means building up God’s people as they partner 100% with local churches and Christian organizations, hosting Gospel centered events, providing children’s ministries, and building a vibrant youth and young adults discipleship ministry.
The Good News talked with Fischer about current and new programs as well as plans going forward. He described three main conduits for LeTourneau’s kingdom building.
- The gift of hospitality, through hosting Christian churches and organizations, allows LeTourneau to partner with each group to help build up their ministries. “A substantial amount of prayer goes into each group’s time with us. (We hope) to provide things that will be a blessing to them.”
For the last two years, staff has renovated buildings, updated decor, and built additions, so guests will enjoy their stay at LeTourneau. However, Fischer was very clear it is about God’s property, not LeTourneau’s.
“We are not in it for the recognition or the building up of LeTourneau Christian Center. We are investing all our resources into maximizing our potential to build God’s Kingdom for His glory and the joy of His people.”
With Bob Anderson on board as project manager, they hope to start construction on a recreation park. The first stage will be an obstacle course and paintball field, with other elements, like low and high rope courses, later.
- With 20 years experience in youth ministry, Fischer is passionate about LeTourneau’s two new discipleship programs for youth and young adults.
The first program, “The Way Summer Discipleship Program focuses on bringing God’s Word to bear upon young peoples’ lives. We want young people to see God and His glory through the Word, and respond in total commitment to the call of God upon their lives. (We desire each one) to have an encounter with God as Isaiah did in Chapter 6 of the Book of Isaiah. We believe every believer must have a moment when they repent and humbly surrender to God’s call.” Fischer hopes they will respond as Isaiah did: “Here I am! Send me!”
For eight to ten weeks in the summer, participants attend Bible classes, grow in daily accountability, and encounter valuable mentoring from the staff and godly volunteers.
The second program, “The Way School of Discipleship,” is a one-year program designed for students who have encountered the Lord and committed their lives to Him. We desire to give students a foundation in God’s Word, a confidence in bringing that Word to the surrounding culture, and to provide them with godly mentors during this stage of life.”
Students are high school graduates up to age 24. Most devote the year between high school and college or the year prior to entering the work force. They attend classes on Old and New Testaments, theology, studies in church history, hermeneutics, Biblical counseling, worldview, apologetics, and spiritual formation. The program will give them a foundation in Christian ministry and the ability to take the Gospel wherever God may lead them. Graduates will be equipped in a professional sense as well by participating in various jobs such as landscaping, grounds maintenance, and culinary arts, while engaging in missional activities focusing mostly on children’s and youth outreach.
- LeTourneau creates Gospel centered impact events for the community and local believers. They have six weeks of children’s day camps in the summer to introduce the youngsters to God and Jesus Christ through the Gospel. This year, they hope to add one or two weeks of overnight children’s camps and a three-day family camp to do even more for the community.
According to Fischer, the day camp for children has grown from about 50-60 three summers ago, to nearly 200 served last year. The camps are based on themes such as cooking, wilderness, arts, or sports.
They also collaborate with groups from the inner city, often joining other churches to offer free events, or offering programs that support whatever the churches’ current ministries may be. For example, last year, one of their students was a leader in Rochester’s annual Flower City Work Camp where youth help renovate and repair homes in the city, or lead sidewalk Bible studies for city children.
“We hope to add some youth and young adult conferences to our schedule, as well as a pastor/laymen conference in 2018 or 2019.”
Fischer feels God has showered LeTourneau with tremendous resources. He speaks glowingly of the dedicated staff and volunteers.
“Our staff is missional. They understand their calling and are willing to make sacrifices to be obedient to the Lord. They serve with joyful hearts despite modest pay and even more modest housing arrangements. As I often say, the staff is the bones of this ministry, and the volunteers are the muscles that make us move, he said.”
“We invest every resource into the churches that the Lord is bringing to us to serve, to benefit the local community for the Gospel, and to be a blessing to those we can disciple. We’re not a business. We’re ministry, vested 100% in the church, for God’s glory and their joy.”
For more information, visit http://www.letourneau.org