The Base, as we know it today, has had a very long and specific journey. The precise forming of God has been difficult, miraculous and a cause for rejoicing all at the same time. No man on earth could have orchestrated the transition from point ‘A’ to where we are today and certainly could not have made it under his own strength. Greg and Julie Crawford were licensed and sent from Blue Ridge Gospel Tabernacle in Rocky Mount, VA in June of 1994. The couple and their three sons had moved from their home state of Iowa to Virginia four years earlier with the intention of becoming full-time, long term missionaries to Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa. However, it became clear that God had other reasons He needed them to come to Virginia. They endured hardship and another stage of His forming to prepare them for this exact moment. This was something neither Greg nor Julie could have predicted when they first packed up for the Blue Ridge Mountains and the missionary training center. God was calling them to be missionaries in a sense, missionaries of the Kingdom of God. They learned a new culture in the inner city of Martinsville, VA. Many life lessons later, they were sent out by their Blue Ridge spiritual covering and returned to their home state and city to begin a work.
Upon returning to Iowa, the Crawfords set up a ministry in the fall of 1994 in a rural meeting facility that the couple had been involved with in the 80’s. The facility had been lying dormant for awhile and it was really nice for the once vibrant location to be serving the Lord again. This ministry originally went by the moniker the facility had in the 80’s because the place was so well known by the works of God that had happened there, it would be impossible for the public to separate the old name from any other the new ministry would try to use. God was still present and immediately began to have such a heavy presence in the meetings. This was the height of the renewal outpouring in Toronto and these meetings experienced heavy doses of this manifestation of God. The ministry was quickly drawing in hungry people who thirsted for a tangible presence of God and He was definitely faithful to show Himself in miraculous ways. There wasn’t anything like this in the area which both frightened and drew people.
A year quickly passed and the couple returned to Blue Ridge to receive their ordination. It was the custom of Blue Ridge to first license the ministers they cover and have them persevere for a year, and then receive full ordination. During the ordination process, God poured out loads of promises and prophecy concerning His heart for the ministry. It was clear that God was birthing something huge. On August 30th 1995, this was further confirmed by a prophecy from Prophet Bill Norton:
“This night the fire is coming. It is consuming you, it is preparing you for the work before you. New intensity, new vision, new freshness. It’s going deep, deeper than you have ever known before for what I have started in your midst shall be BIG,BIG, BIG, BIGGER,BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER than you ever thought. Bigger than you have ever seen. Bigger than you have ever dreamed. Bigger. Bigger than what you are planning for, bigger than what you are able to see now. BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER. Bigger than what you can dream. That is why the fire is going deep into your bones. For this work is to be big, BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER. MUCH BIGGER. IT SHALL BE MUCH BIGGER SAITH THE LORD. MUCH BIGGER THAN WHAT YOU SEE OR EVER HAVE DREAMED.”
God began to press it upon the hearts of the Crawfords that God was doing a new thing and He was prompting them to move the meetings into the city of Fairfield and establish itself with its own identity and a new name. Jubilee Christian Fellowship was officially birthed in June of 1996. The ministry was so determined to start meeting in Fairfield, that while searching for a more permanent home, they decided to gather for the first 3 weeks in the town’s Library meeting room. That is all any group is allowed. God provided warehouse space by the 4th week. The move proved to be exactly what God was requiring and as His presence increased, so did the number of people who came needing Him.
Jubilee grew rapidly and hit the ground running in the city of Fairfield, it quickly became known for deep teaching, dynamic worship and above all, complete freedom. Always yielding to the Spirit of God first and lots of time completely abandoning their own agenda for what God would do in their meetings became a hallmark. God will do amazing things when we get out of the way and wait on Him.
It became evident that God was calling Jubilee to be more than just a church. He soon revealed plans to launch a Bible school.
In the fall of 1998, the first class of Jubilee School of Ministry commenced. JSM soon became a fully accredited school and even offered degrees all the way to the doctorate level. The school had become such a vital part of the identity and an imperative tool for Jubilee to fulfill its call.
The promise that the work would be “bigger, bigger, bigger” was an understatement. Within five years of starting out the only way the couple knew how, a Bible study turned church, Jubilee had enjoyed such a presence of God and had chartered a fully accredited Bible School. God certainly had fulfilled His promise of something “bigger” than their expectations. Or was He just getting started?
Their original passion for the nations found the Crawfords in an opportunity to take the JSM curriculum overseas. This initial opportunity soon exploded and today there are 40 functioning JSM International schools in 8 nations. These schools produce thousands of graduates every year and there is no way to account for the lives that are impacted around the globe. These international contacts began to lead into opportunities for international travel for the Crawfords as well as other leaders in the ministry. Suddenly this small town church was impacting far beyond its local population
of ten thousand, it had the world as its congregation and there was no limit to what God was going to do. Surely THIS was the “bigger” that God was talking about.
It was clear that Jubilee Christian Fellowship was more than a church. It was a ministry, and after much prayer, Jubilee Christian Fellowship became Jubilee International Ministries in February of 2003. The “fellowship” continued to meet on Sunday mornings but the much broader title covered not only the church but also the Bible schools both in the US and overseas. The new identity as a ministry vs. a church took some adjusting but in the end, it allowed Jubilee to really start to function in the way that God had intended. Soon it also became clear that the “fellowship’s” Sunday morning services were not a typical church service. The message that was coming forth and what God was trying to orchestrate was so much deeper and it was not for the local congregation only but for THE CHURCH, the entire Body of Christ in the region.
This led Jubilee to officially move their Sunday morning meetings to Saturday nights in mid 2005. This move helped them to not compete with the local churches but to work alongside them. This would allow leaders, people from other congregations and non-believers alike to come and experience God in a new way and hear the message of the Kingdom and a coming reformation of The Church. They could do all of this and still maintain their leadership role or membership of their local congregation. In fact, Jubilee stressed supporting their local church and to not give their tithe to Jubilee but to their church home.
This concept was so progressive and Kingdom minded that some people still could not wrap their minds around it. But JIM was only applying what the coming reformation of The Church would look like as God was unfolding it to them. This continues to be the philosophy of the ministry as God reveals how He really wants His Body to align with Him and each other. Let us first be obedient to what He has revealed and then proclaim this message of Awakening & Reformation!
As JIM proved to be faithful in every new direction God asked them to take, God would reveal more of His “bigger” plan. In 2006, God promised them that if they would “clean the slate they would change the state”. This meant to completely clean the slate of all they had ever known and how they had functioned. Were they willing to completely change what they had been “doing” for God and move into what He was asking of them in that hour. They answered “Yes!”
In the fall of 2006, the JIM group set themselves apart for an entire weekend in Keosauqua to seek the Lord what this would mean and what the assignment would look like.
This led to the forming of the Iowa Alliance for Reformation comprised of JIM and 4 other ministries who were like-minded. The Alliance first met in Kalona in Feb. 2007 to plan how to proceed. The first Alliance meeting launched that same month in Pella, IA. In April of 2007, while Apostle Greg was ministering out of state in Ohio, he had a chance to go see Charles Finney’s church and stand behind his old pulpit. While standing at the pulpit, God spoke to him that the anointing from that place was available in Iowa to bring reformation. This only further confirmed that JIM and the IAR were in God’s timing and placement.
For the next two years, the Alliance traveled the state of Iowa and conducted ten regional meetings. The idea was to gather key leaders in the state and to proclaim the message of the Kingdom and the Reformation of the Church to finally take its rightful place and become the Ekklesia of God, His ruling and reigning ones.
Halfway through the Alliance meetings, while researching in preparation for the Waterloo alliance meeting in Oct of 2007, J.I.M. discovered something interesting in the history of the state of Iowa. They discovered a group called the Iowa Band that first came to the state of Iowa. The similarities between what they did 150 years prior in the state and what the Iowa Alliance for Reformation was currently doing were completely unbelievable.
The Iowa Band started in Keosauqua which is where J.I.M. first went to seek the Lord for their assignment for the state. The path in which the Iowa Alliance moved through the state mimicked the Iowa Band. People who were previously running a Bible school started both. Both started with five men and finished with two. The anointing of reformation was confirmed at Finney’s pulpit, which is where the Iowa Band was originally prophesied over and sent to Iowa. It looked like the Iowa Alliance for Reformation had unknowingly taken up the mantle of the group known as the Iowa Band. God is so awesome!
The two years proved to be hard tilling and by the end only two of the original five ministries finished the race that was started, J.I.M. and Rev. Gerald Knock representing World Ministry Fellowship in Tiffin, Iowa. The two year span also confirmed to J.I.M. that God was calling them to a state and national level voice in the Reformation message. Towards the end of the Alliance meetings, God began to reveal His plan to Apostle Greg that He was calling the ministry to relocate its headquarters to the state capitol. From this location, God would use them to speak into and bring Reformation to the state of Iowa.
He continued to fervently seek God in prayer and slowly revealed the plan of God to the leadership of J.I.M. Over the course of the next couple months, there were 27 confirmations of God that this was His will, some even occurring from overseas and almost all of them from people who didn’t even know the move was even an idea. They waited until the conclusion of the last Alliance meeting in September of 2008 to announce that J.I.M. would relocate from Southeast Iowa to Des Moines.
About a week before the last Alliance meeting in September of 2008, Dutch Sheets and Robert Henderson from the United States Alliance for Reformation offered the position of the state coordinator for Iowa to Apostle Greg and he accepted.
This newly formed ministry was seeking to do on a national level what the Iowa Alliance had already been doing for the last couple years in the state of Iowa. Its mandate was to organize on a national scale a plan to awaken The Church into its rightful place with the message of Reformation. When the USAR listed what they would be requiring from each of the coordinators and ministries that would be involved, J.I.M. already had everything in place and had been fulfilling those requirements for the last 2-3 years.
This was yet another confirmation that God was doing something “bigger” than they had ever dreamed.
J.I.M. decided that this new opportunity needed a new name. Those involved had already been referring to the ministry facility as “the base” for a number of years. This was short for the Jubilee International Ministries ministry base. It seemed like a fitting name for the work in Des Moines. The Base was to be a gathering place for the entire Body of Christ not tied to a specific name and not for the sake of any one ministry but for the sake of the Kingdom and the state of Iowa and the nation and the world. This was to be a modern day resource center much like the Antioch model in the book of Acts. Its primary function is to usher in the presence of God and be a place where He can inhabit. In that environment, develop and equip people to their greatest potential to then have an impact on the Church and society.
There was no way that as human beings, the ministry could have orchestrated any of the transitions. God carefully and slowly formed The Base for Reformation. The Base held its first public meeting in Des Moines on Oct. 31st, 2009 and the rest of the history is about to be written…