Mark

Crossroads

 

BIG changes lie on the horizon for this ministry of evangelization which began nearly 13 years ago (if you are not familiar with my evangelization outreach, go to my official website: www.markmallett.com).

Recently, the Lord laid a powerful vision on my heart to broaden the "net", to catch more fish, using the medium of radio, television, and the internet. I believe God wants to prepare the Church for the dramatic changes which are near, and He wants to prepare them through the voice of His prophets. Those voices need the medium of our day in order to be heard.

Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secrets to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7) 

 

VISION

At the same time the Lord has given this vision, we find our ministry at a crossroads. For the past 13 years, we have poured everything we can into this ministry. We have tried to provide the best production on my CD’s that we can afford, good sound quality and production in my concerts, and professional pamphlets and printing etc. Yes, we have tried to give our best to the Lord because He has given all to us. 

And so, we have no savings, no college funds, no retirement plans. We barely take any holidays. We drive a 10 year old van, and a small car which was donated to us. We took whatever we had from a concert tour a couple years ago, and made a down-payment on a used RV so that we could broaden our ministry to the United States, and keep our family together when we travel. That has enabled us to evangelize thousands of Catholics throughout America and the far reaches of Canada.

We are now selling many of our possessions, including our home, and moving our family of nine to a small town and into a smaller house. We are fighting, trying to keep this ministry alive, trying to respond to the call of John Paul II to "re-evangelize" Catholic families using "new means and new methods" in the "new evangelization."

But we are losing.

 

REALITY CHECK

As my regular readers know, I have gone out of my way not to beg for money. I have rarely sent out letters with a plea for help so that you may receive the word of the Lord without any attachments, without any cost. But this does not mean that there are no costs! In fact, our ministry expenses in the last three years alone have been nearly half a million dollars! Less than a sixth of that has been covered through donations, and most of it has come from one person. The bulk of it we have simply financed ourselves through the bank.

On our last concert tour, we encountered three breakdowns. We shared this with the audience at one of our last concerts after having driven 18 hours, barely making it there. The average donation for the free-will offering was $4-5. 

It’s not so much the small donations, but often the few souls in attendance that is most troubling. I have been in several parishes with over 3000 families on the roster, and less than 50 people show up. Lay ministry is not relevant to the vast majority of Catholics, and yet, it is more necessary than ever.

As Pope John Paul II said,

At the beginning of the third millennium God is calling believers, and the laity in particular, to a renewed missionary outreach. Apostolic Journey of His Holiness to Croatia, June 7th, 2003

And again,

Now is above all the hour of the lay faithful, who, by their specific vocation to shape the secular world in accordance with the Gospel, are called to carry forward the Church’s prophetic mission by evangelizing the various spheres of family, social, professional and cultural life.Address of John Paul II to the Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee on their "Ad Limina" visit, May 28th, 2004

Yet, this is a vision which is rarely grasped by the greater Church. Consistently, our largest donations in this ministry come from priests! They write a cheque from their own pockets in addition to covering our fuel expenses. One bishop took from his own salary to have me come to his diocese! Next to clergy, it is usually large families, or other Catholics in ministry who donate… that is, those who can least afford it.

And we are not the only ministry hurting. I know of at least two other Catholic lay ministries, both international in scope, and they are living, like us, off their credit cards. One of them had their natural gas cut off last winter.

I have been asked to give concerts for several World Youth Day fundraisers. I was shocked and ashamed to see so little support from parishes, the concert organizers barely breaking even, and the youth, left with a pittance.

 

PURIFICATION

I believe that all of this is another sign of the times. The Church has fallen asleep in North America. In our wealth and comfort, we have not needed to rely as much on the Lord’s providence (so it seems.) We have fallen into a deadly rhythm of keeping the status quo, doing the bare minimum, fulfilling our day of obligation. We have ceased to evangelize… and now, many Catholics don’t even know what that word means.

The fruit of this is empty pews. Several of the churches where we ministered on this last tour were either shutting down, or part of a merger. At one church, parishioners were picketing the closure outside my concert. Perhaps if they had spent as much energy evangelizing, their parish might have stayed open!

Without a vision for the need to evangelize—to preach the Good News of reconciliation through Jesus Christ—most Catholics do not even see the need for Catholic ministries, and if they do, they expect them to "volunteer." As such, many Catholic ministries cannot operate, or if they do manage to keep the lights on, the vision of what they feel called to do cannot reach the daylight without the resources they need.

In the meantime, their Evangelical counterparts down the street are building mega-churches, hiring multiple pastors, and sending missionary teams overseas—expenses paid by donations. And for two reasons:

  • They preach the Gospel of repentance which brings conviction and zeal to new believers to support Christ and His ministers.
  • Evangelicals teach their congregations the biblical principal of tithing: giving 10 percent of one’s income toward charitable purposes.

Interesting it is that this teaching on tithing comes in part from Malachi, the prophetic book which speaks, I believe, of the coming events which I have written about here:

Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me; And suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek… But who will endure the day of his coming?

…Dare a man rob God? Yet you are robbing me! And you say, "How do we rob you?" In tithes and in offerings! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try me in this, says the LORD of hosts: Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven, to pour down blessing upon you without measure? (Mal 3:1-10) 

As I wrote in Eclipse of the Sun, a purification is coming, and is already here, which has begun with the Church:

For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God… (1 Peter 4:17)

The partial eclipse we see now is the neutering of Catholic ministries. If there is no money, eventually, there is no ministry. And where there is no ministry, there is a decline in morality.

Where there is no prophecy, the people cast off restraint. (Prov 29:18)

St. Paul was clear about this the need:

For the scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it is threshing," and, "A worker deserves his pay." (1 Tim 5:17)

Without pay, "the ox," that is, the evangelists, prophets, and spiritual teachers of our times are being muzzled.

 

CROSSROADS

And so, we are at a crossroads, with our credit spent, and our ministry expenses rolling in like a steam train.

But I have found peace in all of this. For perhaps it is the will of God that we lose everything, like Paul, who was shipwrecked on the rocks when He sailed for Rome from Alexandria. Everyone onboard the ship survived, but the vessel was lost. In fact, I was inspired to name our tour bus "The Alexandria," based on this story. If Christ should see fit that our lives and ministry will be more fruitful this way, then so be it.

For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him… (Phil 3:8-9)

However, should I fail to preach the Gospel because I failed to appeal on His behalf, then it is I who will be held accountable.

To further reduce our costs, we may have to discontinue this email service soon which now costs about $60/month due to our large subscriber base. My next CD of songs is now on hold indefinitely. And the radio and television vision on my heart will simply remain on paper until and if we find financial backers. We need all kinds of donations, but particularly, we need those Christians who are in a good financial position, and who believe in what we’re doing, to get behind us to cover some significant costs ahead of us. 

Lastly, I want to say, I am grateful to all those who have supported our ministry through prayer and donations. Recently, someone sent us a donation for $8.06. I knew this person had given everything they could. I was deeply moved, deeply blessed, as I know that person will be too, in this life, and the life to come.

I wish I did not have to write this letter. But we cannot continue to operate this international ministry on our own. I have written this, also, on behalf of other Catholic ministries. Many of us are at a crossroads, and need the support of the Body of Christ. This will be the last letter of this sort for awhile. The Lord has many things He is putting on my heart to write, and this is an unfortunate detour. 

If you wish to support this ministry, you can donate with a credit card on my website:

http://www.markmallett.com/MakeaDonation.html

Or can mail a cheque to:

Nail It Records
Box 505
Vegreville, AB
Canada
T9C 1R6

Thank you, and please pray for us!

 

Published in: | on August 1st, 2007 | Comments Off Print This Post Print This Post