In 1983, Contemporary Christian Artist Michael Card released his iconic album, “Known by the Scars.” Named after its profoundly insightful title tune, Card’s multi-layered flagship song explored the mysterious depths of the bond between time and eternity, the unfathomable mortality of the everlasting God in the man, Jesus, and the inscrutable eternality of the Lord’s remaining scars, forever unsealing our understanding of these timeless questions in three modest verses…
Similarly, those wholly given to the “good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12), will, in their own way, forever be known by their own unique scars — be they spiritual, emotional, physical, or otherwise. And among those tender-hearted, battle hardened warriors who continue to press in, engage the enemy, and pay serious dues to take ground for God, is an unassuming force-to-be-reckoned-with named Robert Stearns. Like so many of the Lord’s choicest vessels on the frontlines, Stearns is known by his scars and for good reasons… He talks exactly what he walks, doesn’t move by might or power — but by His Spirit, loves sacrificially with each heartbeat, and puts legs on his prayers as a way of life.
Like anyone who is serious about walking in the burden of the Lord and being used by Him, Stearns’ heart is broken by the things that break the heart of God. And in keeping with the old adage, “love is as love does,” it has moved him to action for years.
A Clarence, New York native, Robert Stearns gave his life to the Lord when he was six or seven years-old at the leading of his Sunday School teachers. Ultimately, he attended the University of Valley Forge, an Assemblies of God Bible school, graduating in 1989. After a couple short term ministry assignments at local churches he found himself in Jerusalem, Israel, in 1992-93. His hiatus in Israel may have been brief but it had a lasting impact on his life.
“I volunteered for a Christian ministry in Jerusalem called, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem,” recalls Stearns. “I volunteered for them and helped lead worship for them and for ministries in Jerusalem including a gentleman named Derek Prince.” He continues, “I went there on a whim — I just felt that it could be a really interesting experience and it completely changed my life, my view of God, the Bible, and Christianity. My interactions in Jerusalem totally transformed me in a permanent way.”
That transformation ultimately led to the spiritual ripening of three soul-deep, guiding principles which in turn resulted in the Lord establishing Stearns’ flagship ministry, Eagles’ Wings.
“After living in Israel, I really became gripped with three different concepts,” he recalls. “First, the unity of the body of Christ… John 17:21 and Psalm 133 became profound verses for me, that God wanted a unified, functional body and that we need to give ourselves to the unity of the body of Christ.”
“Second, the restoration of biblical Christianity vs. Cultural Christianity,” he continues. “There is a huge difference between biblical Christianity and American cultural Christianity. How can we press back into what Jesus and the early Apostles were trying to establish?”
“Finally,” he adds, “I had to ask, was God’s enduring covenant with Israel and the Jewish people?”
While Robert, (as he unassumingly refers to himself, disregarding a number of appropriate titles), has ceremoniously distilled these ideas into formal “values” to guide the ministry their humble creation has led to some pretty grand results. “Those are the three core values that made up the launch of Eagle’s Wings,” he explains. “Eagle’s Wings has a full time staff of about 20 people and we’ve ministered in 40 nations around the world. My books are available in eight languages and we’ve brought about 20,000 people to Israel with us. It’s been an amazing blessing to see that vision walked out as it unfolded.”
And unfolded it has! Eagles’ Wings is referred to as a “global cross-cultural movement,” as opposed to a “ministry” per se — but a “movement” in what way? With Stearns at its helm as founder and executive director (there’s a couple of those titles), it is seen as, “…a global movement of churches, ministries, and leaders that is involved in a variety of strategic projects around the world.”
Robert and the Eagles’ Wings team are dedicated to building unity within the Body of Christ, bringing understanding of the Judeo roots of the Christian faith, and cultivating passionate disciples of Jesus through young adult leadership development. And while he has ministered around the world, Stearns continues to maintain a significant burden for both the United States and for Israel.
In addition, he has consulted and met personally with the current and past two Prime Ministers of Israel concerning Christian relations with the state of Israel. Through his ministry, thousands have discovered the essential significance of Israel over the years, and he has been a keynote speaker, guest artist, and worship leader at several celebrations of the Feast of Tabernacles actually taking place in that nation.
Furthermore, not only has he authored several books, but Robert Stearns is a powerful communicator that has been a featured guest columnist for Charisma magazine as well as a guest editor for Ministry Today magazine. He is also an accomplished recording artist and soloist, with a storied history of performances throughout the United States, Europe, and Israel. Among the more notable venues he has shared his gift through, are the prestigious Carnegie Hall and the renowned St. Patrick’s Cathedral where he was a guest soloist for the FDNY 15th Anniversary 9/11 Memorial Services. Additionally, Robert has appeared on radio and television, including guest spots on the 700 Club, Daystar Network, and Trinity Broadcasting Network.
As a ministry, Eagles’ Wings has established several deeply impacting initiatives both stateside and across the globe. In Israel, for example, their Abraham’s Bread feeding centers in Jerusalem and Tiberias provide hot meals to hundreds who are living in poverty on a daily basis. Reaching out to Jews, Arabs, and Christians, all who find themselves in need share in God’s love as Eagles’ Wings meets these practical needs in Christ’s name.
They also conduct an in-depth nine-month training school called Kairos School of Ministry (KSOM) that awakens lives to the Kingdom of God. KSOM connects young adults to Legacy, Leadership Training, God’s purposes for Jerusalem, and the Tabernacle of David. The school’s curriculum includes classroom teaching and hands on learning, strategic outreach opportunities, discipleship community life, and times of worship and prayer. Through these disciplines, students are given a holistic education and spiritual experiences that equip them to find their purpose and be engaged in the leadership realms God has called them to.
Additionally, Eagles’ Wings has led short-term outreach trips to Honduras, England, Germany, and 35 other nations. These mission-trips have incorporated a variety of activities including, meetings with local leaders, evangelistic outreaches, compassion ministry, practical work projects, open-air public presentations, and ministry in orphanages and prisons.
Eagles’ Wings Teen Missions Camp is a 16-day summer program for high school students combining worship, servant evangelism, outreach opportunities, leadership training, and lots of fun. This mission camp inspires young teens to pursue God with others their age, and develop new friendships that will strengthen them as they seek to live out the Christian life.
With various outreaches to Israel, whether conducting their intensive study tour, a local celebration of the land and our shared values, or an unforgettable, spiritually enriching journey to the Holy Land arranged by Eagles’ Wings Ministry Travel, the group places great importance and emphasis on the land and its significance.
“I don’t think most churches consciously consider their relationship, either with the Jewish people down the street, the synagogue down the street, or the state of Israel across the ocean,” Stearns observes. “There’s prophecy after prophecy after prophecy about the Jewish people being re-gathered and coming home to the land of Israel and those prophecies have been fulfilled in our lifetime. They were dispersed for 2,000 years and returned in our lifetime.” He continues, “This is our 70th year of Israel’s re-birth and in our lifetime, those prophecies are being fulfilled. I believe every local church should have a level of interest and involvement and engagement with the Jewish people and with the land of Israel.” Finally, he stresses, “Every Christian should purpose at least once in their life to go up and worship the Lord in Israel, to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and to worship the Lord on Mt. Zion.”
While he is involved in numerous, highly effective ministry ventures, among the most treasured is The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem, worldwide prayer initiative which is observed annually on the first Sunday of October. Attracting the participation of a whopping 300,000 churches in 175 nations, Robert Stearns and Dr. Jack Hayford serve together as co-chairmen of the mass prayer mobilization, representing the largest prayer movement in history focused exclusively on Jerusalem.
Beginning in 2002 in meetings with leading political and religious leaders from Israel and the United States, The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem has over 1,400 key leaders within the Evangelical Christian world lending their active support. The event’s vision is for sustained, fervent, and informed global intercession for the peace of Jerusalem and all her people to rise from the heart of every believer in every nation on the planet.
“We instituted it 14-years ago, that on the first Sunday of every October churches around the world would pray for the peace of Jerusalem in response to Psalm 122:6,” says Stearns. “The problem is that many Christians, when they read the word, ‘Jerusalem’ in the Bible or they read the word, ‘Zion’ or even ‘Israel,’ they immediately think it means something other than what it means.” He continues emphatically, “If you ask them what it means, they can’t really tell you, because it’s like Israel, Jerusalem, or Zion is a metaphor, or an idea or concept. But, they’re not! They’re real places. Jerusalem is a real city with real people living in it. When God says, ‘Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,’ He means pray for the peace of Jerusalem! That is an eternal biblical mandate. It has been given to all Christians.”
In July of 2013, Robert Stearns became Bishop Stearns when he was appointed as the overseeing bishop of the historic Full Gospel Tabernacle in Orchard Park, NY. Dr. Jack Hayford, Bill Johnson, Bishop Joseph Garlington, Bishop David Thomas, Dr. Ron Burgio, Marilyn Hickey, and dozens of other national leaders were present to affirm the transfer of leadership from Bishop Tommy Reid to Stearns, who is viewed as Bishop Reid’s spiritual son in the faith.
And while the work of Eagles’ Wings may be widespread and varied, Israel seems to be the axis it revolves around as a ministry organism. “The Jewish people have been slaughtered, burned alive, attacked throughout history, often times, at the hands of Christians,” Stearns notes, “all the way up to a generation ago, six-million Jews were fed to Hitler’s ovens in the middle of Christian Europe.” He adds, “We have a huge problem here if we, as Christians, say that we’re grafted into this covenant of God, then how can we allow anti-Semitism to happen on our watch? The Bible says in Romans 11 that God’s covenant with the House of Israel is an enduring covenant. God has not cast off Israel. He’s still working within the people and the land of Israel.”
Continuing he declares passionately, “If we believe that Jesus, a Jewish man, is returning to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, how can you not be involved?! How can you call yourself a Christian and believe that you’re working for the return of Jesus and not be concerned about what’s happening with His family? The Jewish people are the biological relatives of Jesus — Jesus is related to them. We believe that it’s crucial for Christians to speak out against anti-Semitism and to be involved in supporting Israel and God’s heart for the Jewish people.”