Choosing the Right U - International House of Prayer
…the world needs people who are encountering God on a meaningful, personal and spiritual basis.

Choosing the Right U

by Fia Curley
4/20/16 Training and Events

When it comes to higher education, different schools attract students for different reasons.

Whether it’s a tour of the campus, conversations with faculty, the focus of the curriculum, or the way the school can provide future opportunities, there’s always that something that draws potential students.

The same is true for those desiring training in ministry. There are hundreds of schools to choose from, but there are certain aspects that draw individuals from all over the world to attend the International House of Prayer University (IHOPU).

The school is working to redefine theological education in the context of night-and-day prayer for those seeking to further strengthen their relationship with God in the environment of 24/7 worship and prayer among fellow believers.

Each program is challenging, but according to the students and faculty, the primary focus of IHOPU is the relationship with Jesus.

“What our world needs nowadays is not young adults that have a lot of knowledge about God, about how to worship, about how to get the message out—the world needs people who are encountering God on a meaningful, personal and spiritual basis—and that’s hard to cultivate,” said Chuck Metteer, vice president of training over faculty and academics and director of IHOPU’s Forerunner School of Ministry.

“Young learners need to honestly and fearlessly ask themselves, ‘What is it I’d like to learn,” Chuck said.  “[Do I want] to have an empowered spirit, to have head knowledge, physical talent, or media know-how, or have the spiritual uneasiness to continue the trek of self-emptying worship and prayer that actually transforms and strengthens the spirit?”

With an enrollment of about 500 students from around the world, IHOPU offers three schools and state-of-the-art technology powered by Google Fiber, faculty who spend hours praying and worshiping the Lord while heading IHOPU’s Forerunner Music Academy, Forerunner School of Ministry, and Forerunner Media Academy.

“I don’t believe at bedrock that we’re here to fashion or develop musicians, worship leaders, pastors, or media messengers, but rather, I believe we are trying to facilitate for each student an encounter with God,” Chuck said. “It’s hard to build an environment to facilitate a transformative encounter with God and yet that’s our objective. Encounters with God are fleeting—few and far between—and yet extremely life-changing, transformative, meaningful beyond words.”

With a master’s degree in divinity and a doctorate in theology, Chuck Metteer endured rigorous seminary training before transitioning to the role of seminary professor. He acknowledges that most institutions promote worship, prayer, and Scripture, which can help facilitate encounter, “and if that is all you’re interested in,  pick an inexpensive, nearby place to go to—don’t cause yourself so many headaches.”

“But if you’re hungering and thirsting for righteousness and if you’re longing for the presence of God Almighty overwhelming your spirit, bringing you to your knees, then quite possibly IHOPU is for you regardless which school you would end up in,” he said.

Although encountering God can happen anywhere, the goal of IHOPU is facilitate those encounters as a normal part of life.

This is an aspect many students have seen firsthand.

Ginny Corbin came to the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (IHOPKC) to participate in the Fire in the Night internship, praying and worshiping from midnight to 6am for six months. It was during this time that the Lord gave her greater view of how He works through prayer and spoke to her about attending IHOPU.

“Part of the reason why I chose to do IHOPU in the first place was because the NightWatch students who were in IHOPU greatly affected me,” said Ginny, now in her junior year. “They just showed such a love and they really knew the Word of God and that’s what provoked me the most, was that I saw these students actually lived out the life of godliness we strived for.”

One of Ginny’s highlights while at IHOPU has been the supportive faculty.

“They really do want us to succeed and they do everything in their power to help equip us for whatever work God has called us to,” she said. There is an academic side to IHOPU, but what they stress more is you growing in your life in God.”

Instead of feeling as if she attends a music school that happens to have a prayer room, Ginny said that despite the challenging curriculum, it feels more like a prayer room that has a music school.

“They really stress growing in God and I think that’s one of the things that sets this school apart from others is the fact that they stress that so much,” she said. “They don’t want us to just learn the material they actually want us to live the material.”

Encounters with God are not just something IHOPU faculty desire for students, but what they personally pursue.

“It is our responsibility to personally make great effort to encounter God so that we may lead others to do the same,” Chuck said. “Faculty is there to help the young heart find God in a deeply meaningful way. What could be worse than having all the lyrics down correctly and all the melodies played perfectly without the Spirit of God permeating those very activities?”

While skills and knowledge are helpful and cultivated, that is not the only goal of each school, according to Metteer. Faculty and students learn together, worship together, and open their hearts before the Lord together in prayer.

Camaraderie is one of the many things Stevetta Dickerson gained while attending IHOPU. Even with a master’s degree and years of work experience, she attended FSM, and received “more understanding that the Bible wasn’t just a bunch of separate stories—that it was one story.”

“Even though no one had said it to me, hearing that it’s a historical book about one small group of people—that it really is history—and setting that history in the midst of church history and setting church history in the midst of world history gave so much context to me,” she said.

That is why she would not hesitate to encourage others to attend IHOPU.

“If you feel like the Lord has called you to go, then go,” Stevetta said. “The reason being that whatever difficulties, hardships, shifts, and changes in thinking and how you feel about your depth and knowledge of the Word, the Bible, and others who are going to be running with you, it’s all going to shift from the day you go in to the time you come out. Whether you go in for six months, a year, or four years, it’s all going to keep on shifting. I would say, for sure go.”

This month IHOPU is offering to waive the application fee for people who desire to pursue the presence of God, learn about Him through Scripture, and pray to Him in an environment that sees an ongoing conversation with God as essential to daily life. The deadline to apply and receive the application fee waiver—as well as being entered for a chance to win a $1,000 scholarship—is April 30.

Chuck Metteer said those who have a desire to pursue encounter with God and be trained in ministry are encouraged to apply.

“We at IHOPU are intent on flipping the order of importance in learning, beginning with prayer, hearing the heart of God, and quieting ourselves that we may see ourselves in Him more properly and respond when He whispers,” Chuck said.

“We hope we are offering faculty that not only have natural talents and well-honed minds, but hearts and souls that still hunger and crave the presence of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit living in their lives day after day,” he said. “If you want to join us on that journey, please come—you’re welcome and we look forward to traveling with you.”


Fia Curley


    Fia Curley served on the NightWatch at IHOPKC for many years, participating in prayer, worship, and intercession from midnight to 6am. Currently attending college in New York, she enjoys blending her passion for prayer, worship, and journalism as she labors with the Lord to see His goodness revealed to families, government leaders, and immigrants from non-Christian nations.

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