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It's almost time to light the 'Fire in February': DL preacher's plans taking shape to mobilize community to read Bible's Book of Acts

Barry Schoder of Detroit Lakes with his favorite of the 10 signs he posted on West Lake Drive this past summer, printed with the words to The Lord's Prayer. Vicki Gerdes / Tribune1 / 2
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Twenty-eight chapters. Twenty-eight days. No meetings, no travel required — just you, a Bible, and whomever else you want to invite to take part in this special community reading project...

That's all you need to participate in "Fire in February," a month-long initiative to get as many people as possible to read the Bible's Book of Acts between Feb. 1-28.

Organized by Detroit Lakes resident Barry Schoder, this project is intended to engage people of all races, ethnicities, gender and ages, regardless of their religion — or lack thereof, Schoder says.

"Atheists can participate too," he said. "There are four things I'm anticipating will happen as a result of this city-wide event... People will start to think about God, talk about God, talk to God, and hear from God."

Wait... what was that last one again ?

"You will notice, once you start reading, that God spoke many times, in many ways, throughout the Book of Acts," Schoder said. "That same God speaks to us today, but people don't seem to realize it."

Schoder says that God speaks to people through dreams, through visions, through premonitions, or simply "a feeling" that something is about to happen.

"When God speaks to you, and you realize that it's him, you never forget it," Schoder said.

Though people taking part in the "Fire in February" project can form their own reading and study groups, he added, there will also be some public discussion groups set up during the early part of the month to take a more in-depth look at the Book of Acts.

"There will be twice daily discussions every weekday, Feb. 1-9," Schoder said. "The first one will take place at La Barista from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m., and the second at the Detroit Lakes Public Library, from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m."

And for those who are vision or reading impaired, there will also be a daily podcast available through Leighton Broadcasting's local public access channel, TV-3.

"They've recorded video of 28 different people reading chapters of the Book of Acts," Schoder said. "People can watch, or just or listen to a new video clip each day at The videos will all be archived there through the end of February."

Schoder also noted that since he first announced the project this past fall, interest in participating has grown rapidly.

"The snowball effect is kicking in," he said. "People are not only personally committing to do it themselves, but actively promoting it at their churches, among family and friends, and on social media."

Schoder also noted that over 100 local businesses have signed on to be a part of a public service ad about the project that is scheduled to be published in today's Detroit Lakes Tribune (see pages 6A-7A). "It's a way for them to say that they, as a business or organization, subscribe to biblical principles of operation, and support this project," he added.

Schoder, who is also responsible for organizing the community's annual Bible Reading Marathon, as well as this past summer's project to put up signs with the Lord's Prayer written on them, all along West Lake Drive, and the July 4th "Battle Hymn of the Republic" community sing, says his ultimate vision is "to see Detroit Lakes become a beacon of righteousness."

In other words, he says, he would like to see "such evidence of God's presence in this city that people will be drawn to Detroit Lakes because of it."

Individuals and groups who would like to learn more, or sign up to participate in the "Fire in February" project, are invited to visit the website at, or check out their Facebook page.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

(218) 844-1454