Not only were the Andrew Wommack Ministries offices and Charis Bible College locations able to stay in operation during lockdown, but the ministry grew in record numbers of students, staff, and in giving!
How would you describe Andrew Wommack Ministries and Charis Bible College during a worldwide pandemic and lockdown?
“No germ can touch me and live,” says Andrew.
“2020 was a disastrous year for many ministries, but for us, it was the best year we’d ever had.”
Many churches and ministries saw a decrease in giving, had to lay off staff, or even had to close their doors.
With each and every decision throughout this challenging year, it was evident that Andrew and the leadership team were leaning into the Holy Spirit and walking in His strength, not in fear.
“The Holy Spirit has guided all of us,” Andrew says. “No one saw this coming, so it is a huge testimony to the Holy Spirit directing us.”
How did we do it?
On March 22, 2020, Andrew held a special live stream with Jesse Duplantis, Duane Sheriff, and John Tesh on a Sunday morning called, “Faith over Fear.” The response to this live stream and the following Tuesday night live stream was unprecedented! People were hungry to know what God was doing during this challenging time, and what our response as believers should be to the pandemic. This led to Andrew’s decision to create a daily, live-stream Bible study.
However, just three days later on March 25, the state of Colorado forced the ministry to shut down in-house operations at AWM headquarters and Charis Bible College by 6:00 a.m. the next day. Most of the staff transitioned to work from home the very next day, as the ministry could only maintain 8 percent of the staff onsite. All of the Helpline employees were able to continue taking calls from home, and we were able to maintain virtually all normal operations for the next twelve months! By November of 2020, we had surpassed 500,000 calls, setting a new record, over 88,000 more calls than 2019.
Then the decision was made to bring all live streams into the studio, on top of all of Andrew’s normal TV programming. Due to the dramatic increase of 130 more live streams to produce, the TV studio was re-equipped with five additional cameras. This led to their biggest year ever, with an estimated additional reach of over 365,000 people through those added live streams. Website viewership increased by 23.8 percent over 2019, going from 7,166,915 visits to 8,872,641!
This increased live, online presence brought in over 83,000 new contacts to the ministry, an increase of 20 percent from 2019! Incredible!
Charis students didn’t miss a beat.
When the ministry was forced to reduce to 8% capacity, it meant that the Charis Woodland Park campus had to move to at-home or digital courses. Thankfully, through our advanced technology, instruction was never interrupted. Since the Distance Education platform was already in place, students were able to watch pre-recorded classes, as well as live teaching from instructors via Zoom.
Despite these challenges, over 709 students completed their requirements to either promote to second year or to graduate in the middle of the pandemic! Regardless of what was going on around the world, discipleship did not stop, nor did the celebration of what students had accomplished. Students were able to have a drive-through graduation event, where they pulled up under the portico, received their diplomas, and took a picture with Andrew, all while remaining in their cars.
Although fall enrollment for in-person classes saw a slight dip, there was 15 percent increase in Distance Education enrollment. Internationally, Charis Bible College grew by over 200 students last year!
In addition, the number of people inquiring about Charis increased dramatically, from approximately 30 inquiries per month to 3,000 inquiries!
Taking on the governor.
As the summer continued, Governor Jared Polis continued extending the executive “Stay-At-Home” orders. However, according to the Colorado state constitution, these orders are limited to thirty days. When the governor continued to extend these orders for several more months, Andrew realized this was an overreach of the government. Andrew sent a letter to the governor, signed by over 700 ministers, saying we would not comply with his executive orders and we have a constitutional right to meet and assemble. The ministry made steps to resume normal operations and held two more events: the Truth & Liberty Coalition Conference and the Summer Family Bible Conference.
At the Summer Family Bible Conference, Andrew hosted a panel discussion with Tony Perkins, Gen. Jerry Boykin, Bishop E.W. Jackson, Janet Boynes, and Bill Federer. Being an election year, they broke down the platforms of both the Democrat and Republican parties and lined each party up against what the Bible says. The next morning the ministry received a cease-and-desist letter from the governor. This legal battle ensued for approximately six months.
Meanwhile, a Supreme Court decision was made regarding a separate case and was in favor of allowing religious institutions to continue to meet. Because of that decision, Andrew’s case was dropped, and since then the ministry has been able to host several more in-person events. Now, all staff have been moved back onsite, without any COVID-19 restrictions or limitations: the ministry is functioning as it did pre-shutdown. Praise God!
We’re just getting started.
This article is just barely scratching the surface of what AWM and Charis accomplished in 2020. However, none of these things could have been accomplished without our partners! In spite of all of the challenges of 2020, there was a significant increase in partnerships! We had 9,035 new partnerships in 2020 alone, which was an increase of 6 percent from 2019. AWM now has over 52,000 partners!
“We want to thank our partners for standing with us and enabling us to do this,” Andrew says. “If we had been strapped financially, we wouldn’t have felt free to take the stand that we did. This was all accomplished thanks to God and our partners.”
There is still tremendous hunger for the Word of God across the globe. Last year, people were experiencing confusion, desperation, physical hunger, and even suicide during lockdown. Some are still in lockdown today.
But thanks to Andrew’s faith, courageous leadership, and radical perseverance, this ministry has been able to thrive and continue to share the Gospel truth. Even at one point, when there was a possibility that Andrew would be arrested, neither he nor Jamie were shaken. They simply made some decisions as to how the ministry would keep going without him.
“2020 is not the end for us,” proclaims Andrew. “We are just getting started!”
Thank God for what He has done to continue this ministry of unconditional love and grace!
To see even more of the great things that God did at Andrew Wommack Ministries and Charis Bible College during 2020, check out this video recap of the Annual Board Meeting for 2020.