Dr. Stephen R. Phinney
Dr. Phinney is the Founder and Ministry Host of the Institute Of Ministry (IOM America) and founder to the Exchanged Life Global Initiative, as well as the International Fellowship of Exchanged Life (IFEL). Stephen is also the co-founder of the Men Mapping Outreach Ministries, a ministry dedicated to equipping men to be protectors of women, children, community, and nation.Stephen has authored multiple books/teaching series on spiritual growth (click here) and has published over 280 online articles/booklets assisting others in obtaining a Transformational Biblical Worldview. Even though he does NOT put much stock in these degrees, he holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology, Masters in Counseling Psychology, and a Doctorate in Ministry. He also holds the status of Doctor of Philosophy Candidate at Oxford Graduate School.
Phinney’s primary objective is to equip individuals for the purpose of building up the Body of Christ and assist in empowering men, women, children, and family units to have a generational impact on the communities they serve. This is accomplished by providing training, mentorship, and counseling by making use of the believer's identity in Christ.
Stephen & Jane have been married for over 35 years and have three grown children: Abigail (husband, Quintin Eason), Elizabeth (husband, Nathan Ford) and Jessica. Jane & Steve have also been blessed with seven grandchildren. They are dedicated to the institution of marriage, multigenerational family development, and local multigenerational family church development. They are conference speakers on topics relating to core marriage, multigenerational family, leadership values, and the Exchanged Life (Not I, but Christ).
Stephen grew up in what the world classifies as a “dysfunctional home”. His father was the son of a great man of God and preacher who was used to reform the church. Rumor has it that his father was named after his grandfather’s role model, Charles Finney. Because of growing up in a spiritual environment that was ever so public, Stephen's father decided to go the opposite direction of his calling. Therefore, his father did not allow Christianity to be talked about in their home. His sins were extensive and his calling was replaced by becoming a career man for the United States government. Bitterness and fear ruled their home.
Out of a family of six children, Stephen was the one God chose, for some reason, to start the process of restoring the family back to the pathway of the Cross. Stephen accepted Christ as his Savior at age of 16. It was a “radical” conversion and transformation. Because of it, he was rejected severely by his father and siblings. He was labeled a “Jesus Freak” and considered to be on drugs due to the level of passion of his conversion. These rejections ultimately led to his own father committing to “never” acknowledging his conversion or service unto the Lord until shortly before his death.
As a result of his conversion, God began to use Stephen's “zealous” heart to minister to each family member. Salvation followed for his mother, supposedly for four of his siblings, and yes, ultimately his father several years before his death. Keith Fredrickson, Stephen's Grace Fellowship International (GFI) intern supervisor, was used by God to resolve his bitterness and hatred toward his father and others. One significant intern assignment was given for him to pack his bags, travel back to northwest Iowa, sit down with his father, and seek his forgiveness for the sins that he (Stephen) committed against him. This act of the Cross is what started the process of his father being lead back to the Cross and life of Jesus Christ. He uses this service act in his counseling & corporate consulting to this very day.Phinney was introduced to Dr. Charles Solomon in the late 1970's. A friend and coworker placed a book on his desk that he obtained from his sister while visiting in Denver - The Handbook to Happiness. Just seeing the graphics on the cover created a "wanting" to read it, but he had a problem - Stephen was functionally illiterate. Here he was, 21 years of age, keeping this secret and faking his way through life. After confessing his problem to his soon-to-be wife, Jane, she began to teach him how to read by using the Word of God. Knowing that this "exchanged life" book contained his answer as the liberating key to unlocking his secret struggle, he pressed on to find a way to read the book. This was the first book he had ever completed, start to finish! That was in 1979 and little did he realize how Dr. Solomon's book would be used by Christ to change the course of his entire life! After having his life changed by the Holy Spirit through this book, Stephen packed up his family in 1981, moved to Denver, Colorado (from Iowa), completed the GFI intern training program, and joined the GFI staff.
After a few years of being on staff at GFI in Denver, Stephen and Jane were given a challenge to start an Exchanged Life Retreat Center in the mountains of Colorado, which ultimately led the two of them to start their own Exchanged Life ministry.
After years of ministering the Exchanged Life, God opened the door to kindle afresh his relationship with Dr. Solomon. God puts Dr. Solomon and Stephen together to discuss the idea of uniting Exchange Life workers worldwide. That being an obvious decision, the two ministries immediately began to explore an idea initially given Steve while working on the White House Faith-based Initiative.During his correspondence with Dr. Solomon, Stephen was struck down with a virus that went to his heart, throwing him into heart failure. Two years later, the cardiologist gave him such a positive report that it appeared he would be "bouncing back." This opened negotiations between the two of them once again. Soon afterwards, he began working with GFI and developing a strategic ministry plan to unite Exchanged Life workers throughout the world. The plan came like a river of life and to his joy, the leadership of GFI and IOM America embraced it - resulting in his present development of the Exchanged Life Global Initiative and the International Fellowship of Exchanged Life (IFEL). It was during this time, God reminded Stephen that the plan He had given me during his previous stint in politics was actually for His Church. Since June of 2011, he has been actively building the necessary elements to carry out the Exchanged Life Global Initiative under the ministry care of IOM America.
Teachers of Influence: Jack Taylor, John Woodward, Major Ian Thomas, A. W. Tozer, Charles Trumbull, Henry Blackaby, David Jeremiah, J. Mark Fox, Emily Edwards, Hudson Taylor, John MacArthur, Voddie Baucham Jr., John Piper, Beth Moore, Randy Alcorn, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Bill Gillham, and James MacDonald.
Stephen's ministry is grounded in and influenced by the life and overflow of the Holy Spirit. His joy and excitement in the New Covenant Life of Christ is contagious; his overwhelming love for his husband, Jesus, is obvious; and his style of speaking and writing is direct, to the point, and highly motivational.His dedication to restoring the hearts of fathers to their children and children to their fathers is unmoving (see Malachi 4:6). His life is filled with the love of his wife, children, and now, grandchildren. Stephen’s passion is His promise.