Let me start by saying this may be the most important message in the history of our ministry. It is also at the same time both challenging and exciting. First, the exciting part—while on the phone recently with a regional men’s ministry leader and dear friend, I was sharing some of the difficulties we were facing at OTM. While I am paraphrasing a little here, he said something like this: You know Vince, hardly a day goes by where someone in this area does not come up to me and say, have you seen that last article that Vince sent out? Or, did you watch that new video? Vince, On Target is having more impact today than at any time in your history—you should not be struggling.
When I got off the phone with this dear man—someone I called to coach and encourage—it was obvious he was blessing and encouraging me at a time I needed it most—I actually wept. Then, in the space of less than a week, I had several others say similar things. Also one of our board members encouraged me to find a young person to mentor and possibly pass on the ministry to with the idea that God may want us to prepare for passing the baton rather than just fading into the sunset.
Another leader said that he has never seen a website with as much content as ours, and that the amount of ministry that is already happening as a result is so refreshing. Still others have been indicating the exceptional quality and deep ministry impact of our new video curriculum and leadership training. All these comments and thoughts have touched me deeply. So at this point you might be asking—where is the challenge?
The challenge is the same one that most ministries are facing these days—sustainability. The financial realities for us are making it almost impossible to continue. My sense is that we are experiencing a spiritual battle that is putting us squarely in the enemy’s crosshairs, while at the same time needing to be wise in understanding our future direction at this crossroad season.
If we are following our Lord’s leading here it should not surprise anyone that there is a spiritual battle going on. The enemy has us in his crosshairs and does not like to see men whose lives are being transformed. So, I know there is a spiritual component here and feel confident because we are addressing that before God in prayer. On the other side—the crossroad element is something we need to be wise in understanding and working through as a practical matter.
Let me give you a little back-story here. From 2008 through 2012 we experienced some of the most difficult times in our family and ministry life. Through what we believe was a clear calling from God our ministry, funded primarily through gifts from our family, opened the restaurant and banquet center called The Place. We believed that this important project was going to become a ministry leadership training center funded by a powerful community service business. A year later the financial crunch hit and we literally lost everything including most of our retirement. That was followed by a couple of years of deep trial as we lost Cindy’s mom, one of our closest friends, our dear 15 year old dog, and most severe—the loss of our daughter’s full term baby girl 24 hours before delivery.
On the heels of all that Cindy then contracted the life threatening illness that hospitalized her for five months—most of the time in ICU. You may recall that she was given NO chance to survive yet our gracious Lord chose to save here. That was an incredible journey culminating with an incredible miracle. Then, in 2013 we accepted an invitation from our friend Pastor Danny Carroll, to become Executive Pastor of Water Of Life Church in Fontana California. The thought was to keep the ministry going on a part-time basis while serving in this important assignment.
While we enjoyed the opportunity and being close to our California family, it became evident that God was not through with OTM and we were to move back and re-launch our ministry.
Having rehearsed all of that you now need to hear this very clearly—THERE IS NO DOUBT IN MY MIND THAT GOD WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL OF THIS AND HE HAS USED IT TO STRENGTHEN AND PREPARE US FOR THE BATTLE YET TO COME.
So, here is our reality and dilemma—as I look at the years leading up to 2008 I see a financial support level that was ten times what we are bringing in today. I also recognize that on the flip side we are delivering a depth of life-changing ministry that far exceeds what we were doing then. Let me say here that if it were not for the incredible artistry, support and patience of Pat McGuire, our video producer, and Tony Scialdone, our web designer, we would not be here.
Ok, so here is the take away from all this and how you can help. While I recognize the spiritual battle we are in, I am confident that through prayer we will defeat our enemy. However, there are also some very practical reasons why we find ourselves where we are. With all the struggles we experienced over those years the focus upon the ministry was severely compromised. Not cultivating our donor base and the resulting slow down in traveling and ministry exposure has made it difficult to rebound.
Our biggest need right now is to generate more monthly support. We are several thousand dollars under our needed budget for just basic support. Because of some generous major gifts we have been able to keep the video and web projects going but unable to sustain support for Cindy and me.
WE ARE REQUESTING SERIOUSLY BEFORE THE LORD THAT YOU PLEASE CONSIDER COMMITTING TO HELPING US IN TWO WAYS:
- First, would you consider a monthly donation—no amount is too small—for at least one year? If you are already giving consider helping us by encouraging others to learn more about OTM by visiting our site and becoming a partner.
- Second, join with us in concerted and sustained prayer to overcome the spiritual battle in which we find ourselves.
Finally, let me say this. I am not a good fundraiser—in fact, I shy away as much as I can—don’t like it. Having said that I can honestly tell you that my reluctance has been completely overcome by the reality of what our ministry efforts are producing in the lives of men, couples and Pastors. I am aware that both CROSShairs and CROSSroads have one thing in common—we can never forget that.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support.
Helping men become Fully Alive—the man God intended,