Well, I have some big news. Some of you may already know, and some of you may not, so that’s why I’m writing! As many of you know, I spend my summers in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, working at Youth Haven Bible Camp. Well, this summer, when I go, I’ll be staying!
Now, relax. That doesn’t mean I’m not doing music. Not at all. In fact, I think I’ll be able to be more effective in the ministry. I’m going to be a missionary intern with KMM (Kentucky Mountain Mission), the ministry that oversees the camp. I’ll still be touring, Lord willing, and when I do, I’ll get to share about KMM, which is, of course, very near and dear to my heart! When not on the road, I’ll be helping out with the ministry of KMM there in our local communities. I am really excited about this!
I’ll be helping out with the music at camp, as well as counseling this summer. I also teach Archery! I’ll have to tell you about some of my responsibilities during the school year later, but for now, I can say that I will probably be helping out with some Bible studies and reaching out to the college age, 20’s and 30’s in our area. When not travelling, I will have the privilege of leading worship at New Prospect Baptist Church, in Manchester, Ky.
So, a lot went into this decision, and I want to share a little of it with you. Over the years, my mentor, Michael Card, has said that there has to be a better way to do Christian Music than the current industry model. I’ve admired artists who had their road ministry, but were also on staff at a local church, serving in that community. I began to think about the possibility of relocating from Franklin, TN to Beattyville, Ky to work with Camp. I could still tour, but that could be the base of operations. I didn’t have to stay in my dearly beloved (and missed!) Franklin, TN. My friends, Troy and Sara Groves and Jason Gray had shown that one could live outside the Nashville area and still have a thriving music ministry. So had Rich Mullins. Right before I left for summer camp last year, my home group had been reading his biography. I shared my thoughts with my dear friend, Ron Davis, Mike Card’s Road Manger all my years on the road with him, and he was very encouraging of the idea. Soon, pastor and missionary friends of mine began to talk to me about this very idea, sometimes without my bringing it up! I had asked for the Lord’s leading and I didn’t want to be dense! I could live in Ky. and still make trips to TN. for ministry business, discipleship with Mike, and catching up with dear friends.
Along this journey, there were two other influences that I should mention. One was my friend, Andrew Peterson and the Captains Courageous. I am amazed at how Andrew and the Captains take what God has given them and accomplish so much. What I mean is, they may not always get to travel as comfortably as bands that have their own buses all the time and have huge lighting rigs, etc., but they get the work done, and much is accomplished for the Kingdom of God. Going into a camp situation, this was very encouraging. Also, my friend Josh MacLeod, of Watermelon Ministries was an influence. Over and over again, Josh speaks of helping the poor, which is one of the fundamental things we are called to do as Christians. (See Galations 2:10) One day, as I was driving through Franklin, listening to a Sara Groves song about helping the poor, I thought, “Lord, what can I do?” Just then, one of the teens from camp flashed through my mind, an orphan from our area. I may not have a ton of money I can give, but I could go and serve.
So, here we are. I should mention that, as an intern, I am required to raise my own missionary support, since we are not affiliated with any denomination. (We serve and serve along with various denominational and independent churches.) Single interns are required to raise $1,600 a month in support. Living on missionary support is not an easy way to live, but one of the things that excites me about the idea is that once my support is raised, when a church wants to have me come and have me play, it doesn’t matter if it’s a church of 6,000 or 16, I should be able to go, as long as they can afford the gas to get me there, so to speak. If you pray about it and would be interested in supporting me as a missionary, please make your check out to “Kentucky Mountain Mission,” and send it to: KMM, PO Box 588, Beattyville, KY 41311. Just inclde a note that says it’s for me and they’ll put it in my account. They’ll also send you a receipt and another envelope in case you would like to give on a monthly basis, or just send another gift. I would also, of course, greatly appreciate your prayers!
In closing, let me say, “thank you” for taking the time to read this. I greatly appreciate your time! I would greatly appreciate your prayers as we move into the sumer camps. During the Spring retreats, eleven boys from my cabins accepted the Lord! That never gets old. As always, if your church, school, or Bible study would like me to come and speak and/or play, just shoot me an e-mail or give me a call! Thanks so much!