Dutch Sheets is stepping into a new role: director of Christ For The Nations Institute (CFNI). And when Sheets steps into his new role at the end of the 2012 spring term, he will be bring a new vision with him.
The late Gordon Lindsay and his wife, Freda, founded CFNI in 1970. This trans-denominational institute was one of Lindsay's last visions before his home going on April 1, 1973. Gordon envisioned thousands of Spirit-filled believers going forth to do exploits for God around the world. After his passing, Freda followed the vision and the ministry flourished.
Now, Sheets wants to return CFNI to its roots with a vision to bring spiritual awakening to its students, who will be empowered by the Spirit to carry revival all over the world. Charisma News sat down with Sheets to discuss his vision for the institute.
Charisma: How did this assignment come about?
Sheets: I’ve been connected with CFN for many years. I was a student here in '77 and '78. My wife, Ceci, and I were both students here in the late '70s. I worked here leading worship in '79 and '80. Then I taught as an adjunct professor in '80, '86, '87 and '88. CFN had me back in over the years several times to speak to the student body. So I've had a wonderful relationship with Dennis and Ginger Lindsay.
Dennis asked me once before to consider this position but we were pastoring. I really felt like we were right where we needed to be. But this time it was different. I have been in transition for a couple of years. I knew I was in between assignments and didn't know exactly what the Lord was planning next. I've just been travelling and writing extensively.
When this came up about a month ago, I really felt like this might be the Lord because I have such passion for the younger generation. I just burn with passion to see a great awakening come to this nation and other nations. I have focused most of my passion and energy in the last few years trying to sow into the younger generation. There is nothing I've yearned for anymore. But I never saw myself in this position.
I've never seen myself pulling back from travels and writing and so I never envisioned something like this. I will still be traveling on weekends and doing conferences and meetings around the nation. I just can't stop doing what I feel like God has me doing, travelling this nation stirring up prayer and the spirit of awakening in the cities.
Charisma: What is your vision for CFNI?
Sheets: I believe the Lord has given me vision and ideas. I believe He's going to help us turn this into a real hub and voice for awakening. CFNI has strong academics already. They have great, great teachings. CFNI has been a catalyst for the worship movement in the last 30 years. Under Gordon Lindsay, CFNI was one of the leading voices in all the earth and with what God was doing in the charismatic movement and the Jesus movement.
I do believe that this place can become a spear or a point, a place where this message of revival and awakening is trumpeted. That's my heart; that's who I am. If I'm going to do anything here, I'm going to bring that message. I want to make this a place where fires of revival can burn again and I'm fortunate enough to know a lot of people that move in that anointing.
Charisma: Practically speaking, how will you execute that vision?
I will bring voices in here and gifts that can stir the fires of awakening. I will bring them in for conferences, evening services, guest lectures in that 11 a.m. slot Monday through Friday. I believe we're about to move into another great awakening. I believe it's going to be huge what God is about to do here and in other nations.
My desire will be to allow us to be an engine that drives this movement, not the only one. I'm not at all implying that. But one of the places where people are coming in and out of here all the time trumpeting this message of awakening: "Here's what God is saying in the earth."
We have the magazine. We have the facilities. We have the history. CFNI just signed a contract with Integrity Music to distribute worship music. I just feel like we can be a clearing house of information and voices for what God is doing in the earth. We have 309 international students from 40 different nations, so Christ For The Nations touches much of earth.
Charisma: What do you see as the biggest challenge to bringing this vision to past?
Sheets: Although I love to read and I love to study, my heart has been tilted toward the moving of the Spirit. The biggest challenge is to allow the Lord to really awaken the passion in the students to this awakening that’s coming. It's so easy in an academic setting to settle into information and classes and the whole scene of academia. We need to create times and maybe even slots of two or three days in a row where students can get on their face for three or four hours to cry out for revival. So one of the challenges is mixing Spirit and truth.
I think you just have to be intentional. That's what I'm leading up to. I think you have to create opportunities for God to live and go deep in the hearts of these students. You can't just hope it happens in a 25-minute chapel. It might; sometimes God moves sovereignly and everything changes. But I think more importantly we have to be intentional. Maybe I’ll bring in Rick Pino and have him do 50 hours of worship right here. I'm just going to create opportunities for the Spirit of God to hover over this place and release what I believe He wants to do.
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