Phil Fischer second from left in Blue with his core worship team at Saturday service March 16th, 2019.
While many are familiar with the ‘Bible Belt” and understand it is a region filled with socially conservative evangelical Protestantism that influences society and politics, with high church attendance, many might not realize that the Seattle area is regarded as the most ‘unchurched’ region in the nation. The reason is simple: It’s a Liberal stronghold.
One Alaskan Seattle transplant is trying to change all of that and is bringing a revival of sorts to an area that is one of the most liberal areas in the nation.
doesn’t have a television show, or an old stadium that seats around 17,000 people. He is not jetting around the country in a private jet, and does not even have a degree in Theology. He is not asking anyone for money, but he is asking that you listen to his version of the gospel which is rapidly gaining an audience in Seattle’s downtown area, and at his Eastside Thursday night ministry.
Phil Fischer has captured the attention of the population with his honest and heartfelt approach to the gospel.
This ministry, Jesuslives.com has not always been filled with members. For six months Fischer preached to an empty roominside a small room at New Hope International Church in Enatai Bellevue but now people arrive to hear Phil’s version of the word.
The ministry saw growth in 2018, and Fischer found that people were taking an interest in the ‘Good Word’ Fischer had to share. From locals in the area to east-side millionaires people are looking for something different and many feel Fischer’s down to earth style in spreading the message is working.
On Saturday evenings Fischer brings the gospel to the homeless in what might be viewed as an old time revival tent. While it might not be the mega church folks have come to expect from evangelical ministry, this gospel that Fischer shares is refreshing and creates an atmosphere of old time religion in the ‘Jesus Tent’.
Fischer says that Jesus Lives is a non-profit organization, a ministry that has one purpose, to spread the word of God and bring forth an ‘end-time revival’. The gathering for Jesus Lives Thursday nights is simple, but provides a place for everyone to meet, has an old school fireplace, and chairs that get set up for those folks to sit and hear the word. The doors are open to anyone and everyone who wants to join this unconventional group of folks looking for enrichment in the ministry. The weekly Bible studies normally last about an hour and a half and after the prayer they gather for Pagliacci’s pizza. While the Thursday gatherings meet regularly in Bellevue, Washington, the Saturday group is not always in the same place. Seattle has provided come challenges in pulling permits or not allowing him to set up in a public park for his ministry. These obstacles have not deterred Fischer or the folks who attend these weekly gatherings.
Phil Fischer has put his ministry focus on Christ and the teaching of Christ instead of following the mega churches lead on traditional religious components. He has earned the nickname ‘revival rebel’ with some of the traditional Christians. While he certainly adheres to Christ’s teaching in a multitude of ways, one of the more unconventional approaches his ministry takes is that no one serving in the group is paid anything. All the members that serve, including Fischer and his team, dedicate their time because of their love of Jesus. While the mega churches pay their pastors, and their worship teams, this ministry is only funded by free will offerings and a faith that dates back to the early church.
Saturday Nights light up the streets of Aurora with old time religion
Setting an example for everyone is what the Jesus Lives ministry is all about. The reward for them is provided in delivering the Gospel in a manner that God intended, and one that folks attending believe is missing from most ministry groups today. The testimony and life that Fischer shares is what people can connect with. He understands the struggles that people are living with, the oppression, and the pain. Fischer is reaching out to the audience he believes Jesus would also be bringing ministry to. This ministry has hopes and plans to move from the tent to a location somewhere in the Aurora corridor, perhaps around Lynnwood by 2019 mid year.
Phil Fischer wants the target demographic for these Saturday night revival gatherings to be anyone wanting guidance and looking for hope, the victimized, the oppressed, the homeless, and what he considers to be the people of God. Fischer has spent every cent he has made on tech funding programs and meetings. He wants to change the world with a ministry that reaches those people that need it the most. He is looking in Aurora for a space that is affordable, but also for one that understands the ministry, one that has a landlord who is open to the church teaching and providing a home for these people. Spreading the word of God is not new in this world, but the manner that Fischer provides is unique and positive. The large churches have lost the positive and addictive passion that comes from the way Jesus ministered and that is what Phil brings back to Seattle.
Many see that Fischer is a born leader, and he has a large and loyal following. However, he believes that it is Christ that fills him and works through him to share the word. Fischer’s message is that when Christ enters your life, you have a unique relationship, one that is a divine connection and one that you have to invest in. Allowing yourself to let go of the past, embrace your relationship with God and find a path for the future is not easy, but it is the only way.
Fischer trades one passion for another, tech for teaching gospel
Where did Phil Fischer come from? Well he is a known tech genius and former lead singer of “The X-Box Boys”, remembered for his 90’s solo album, ‘Wounded Soul’. Retiring from music in 2014 and also winding down his software company and digital marketing firm, Fischer has spent the last few years following his passion and spreading the word of the gospel. His mission and chosen area of Seattle is not an easy choice, but he has made it very clear that this is destiny. Leading street people to Christ is his calling, he knows that it is what Jesus would do. He may have left his music career behind, but he picks up his guitar now and again and plays in the peaceful setting of his home in Bellevue. His garage or jam space is filled with photos and memories of his musical history. His relics include a 1964 Fender blackface twin reverb that was previously owned by Jimi Hendrix, an old Wah-wah peddle that Kurt Cobain used in touring with Nirvana and a purple telecaster that was used by Prince. One of Fischer’s most prized possessions is a 1969 Black Les Paul Custom that Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page used in the song ‘Kashmir’ back in Hampshire, England. While all of these memories are important to Fischer, they sit gathering dust in his garage while he focuses on his ministry.
Raised as a Free Spirit, Surviving and Supporting
Fischer was born in 1968 on a Texas airbase to a mother that was only 13 years old. His childhood was spent in the wilderness of Canada and the Northwest Territories. He lived with a group that traveled in and out of small villages in the Yukon, and Alaska and while he attended many elementary schools he never made it past the eighth grade. He was raised by this ‘wilderness family’ who in essense were a group of hardcore hippies, society throwbacks, and ex-Vietnam veterans. The group survived by building community cabins in the winter and moving village to village finding work and support where they could. At the age of 14, Fischer hitchhiked to Portland and there he was introduced to the internet and found a niche that he would use to launch his career. At the age of 17 he started the world’s first web design firm, site #202 loaded onto the ARCHIE platform. The rest as they say is history.
Jesus Lives and so do you
The world today judges many people on outward appearance and first impressions, which would leave Fischer alone, especially with conventional Christians. He might seem the type person that you cannot connect with, someone who is not easily relatable. However, the folks that attend Jesus Lives are what Phil considers ‘real’ folks, people he does relate to, people looking for a ministry that brings more than smoke and mirrors. Since the Jesus Lives ministry is not mainstream, it is not a surprise that Fischer is not a good fit for the Eastside Christians and their rhetoric that strays from his views. The members of the Jesus Lives board agree with him and Nicole Miller, an original member of the group, and now also a board member says that the majority of people who follow Fischer have the same train of thought.
There is no shortage of evangelists in our world, and people are always looking for someone they can relate to. This end-time harvest brings many spreading the word of God, but not all of these gospel leaders truly can connect with people. Fischer was chosen by God to share his teachings, but what fuels his passion is more than his religious foundation, it is his background, his struggles, his understanding of suffering, his ability to rise from darkness. He is the first to talk about where he has managed to climb up from, and that he wants to provide guidance to others who also seek change. The path to the Lord is paved with challenge, and helping people understand that, putting things in perspective, and standing humbled before God is where he is leading those that follow.
Small in size but large in love
Jesus Lives is a community that is growing, people come to hear the word and find spiritual guidance from Fischer and others in the fellowship. While sometimes the crowd might be small, depending on the night, the group is just encouraging people to come and give it a try. Being in an age of social media Jesus Lives utilizes that to communicate and reach out to others to stop in and visit. The community is not looking for folks who attend church on a regular basis, they do not care if you have never been before, they just want you to come fill up on spiritual calories and share the gospel with them. People who attend have their own reasons for visiting, some are facing a crises, some are looking for answers, and some attend regularly because they believe in the ministry and goals of ushering in the end-time revival.
For those wanting to know what to expect, a typical service consists of worship, sharing, and a half hour sermon that is followed by prayer groups, where men and women separate into two groups for a short session. After the service, the community joins in with Pagliacci Pizza or Thai food, depending on the night and how everyone feels. The members of Jesus Lives are truly passionate about Christ and while they are not always singing in tune, or hiding their emotions, they worship together, and share their love and devotion for Christ and each other. Members want to help spread the word, they want to not only bring revival to Seattle but to the world. The presence of God is needed and everyone in the fellowship wants to share that, and allow it to start with them. Fischer’s group might be small and in infancy being under two years old, but it is real ministry, it is challenging people to take a new look at Jesus, and his teaching, to look at themselves and what purpose they serve. This group is about enrichment, for your soul and for your life.
The services for Jesus Lives are Thursday night at 7:30pm at 10808 SE 28th St., Bellevue, WA, 98004. The website if you are looking for other information is Jesuslives.com. It is never too late, but the time is NOW!