Monday, March 1, 2010

RTM Goes Full Time

By Michael Durham

Every believer is a minister and every minister has a ministry. We use words and phrases that weaken our views of ministry such as, “bi-vocational,” “part-time,” and “volunteer staff.” Our ministries should be no more than an overflow of our intimate relationship with Christ. And that should be full-time, all the time.

What I mean by Real Truth Matters going full-time is that we have added and are going to add full-time paid staff. Up to this point all that RTM has done has been through the labors of several people volunteering their time and talents. These dear people have been outstanding in their devotion and labor for this ministry. Were it not for them, there would be no Real Truth Matters. I am not exaggerating. RTM is not the product of my mind or heart, but theirs. The truth is I have been quite comfortable being a pastor that also does itinerant ministry. But God disturbed my comfort and raised up young men and women who have seen His glory in the gospel of Jesus Christ. They wanted this ministry. They believed that what I had taught them needed to be communicated beyond these walls. And so RTM began.

Don’t misunderstand; I’m not a reluctant participant. Far from it! But I often feel more like a spectator as I watch the Lord orchestrate things that for years I tried to do but failed. Years ago our church had a media ministry called Living Priorities. Many of the things I see happening now are what I had hoped for that ministry. But at the end of 2004 the Lord put an end to that work. For nine years I struggled trying to get people to help in that ministry. For nine years I tried to encourage people to come alongside of me and help in ways that now I don’t have to encourage. They now come to me. There were some who helped during the years of Living Priorities but it was nothing like it is now.

For example, almost four months ago Joseph Durham, who serves as my administrative assistant, shared with me that he was convinced that God had called him to work full-time with RTM. I responded with great faith and said, “You surely know we don’t have the money to pay you a full-time salary?” He answered with tears pouring out of his eyes, “That doesn’t matter to me. My Heavenly Father told me I was His son and He would take care of me.”

Almost a month later, J. T. Crawford, who has been an instrumental part of RTM from the beginning, also came to me saying that he believed God was calling him to give himself full-time to RTM. He went on to share how in the past few months God had led him and his wife, Kerie, to quit her teaching position at the community college and be a full-time mom, homeschooling their daughters. Here I am faced with a man who, starting in May, will have no visible means of support.

If that wasn’t enough to blow me away, last month Justin and Missy Reed shared with me that they have a burden to give themselves to the work of RTM. Justin’s expertise is in development and audio engineering, while Missy has a degree in journalism and has worked as an editor. In Justin’s case he currently has the means of self-support so that he can give more time and energy to the ministry.

We have not rushed into this. The volunteer staff of RTM meet and covenanted to pray for 60 days as to whether or not this was God or just wonderful, but human, plans. After those 60 days we were unanimous that we believed it was God leading us.

It is also amazing to see the convergence of skills coming together at the same time. Joseph is university trained in web design and desktop publishing. J.T. is a professional photographer and videographer, while Justin is an experienced sound engineer who’s worked with Christian music producers. It would appear that in less than a year the Lord brought all of these abilities to us. For such a time as this? Perhaps.

Therefore, I am announcing that Real Truth Matters is now a ministry with full-time employees who have given themselves to God to live by faith and by the gospel they help broadcast. One of my heroes from whom I have learned much about faith, George Müller, never asked nor made known specific needs concerning his ministry. By prayer and faith he saw God answer the needs of a very extensive ministry. Yet, the Apostle Paul did not seem to be bothered to let people know ministry needs and instruct how they were to give to support those needs. What then should RTM’s policy be? I think somewhere in between.

First, we will never beg or harass people for financial support. RTM will simply express that we are a donation supported ministry. While full-time staff of RTM are members of Oak Grove, a policy that will continue, we are not looking to the church to be our only means of support. RTM is going to be incorporated and will apply for membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability for the means of financial transparency.

Second, we will not become in any way merchandisers of the gospel. In other words, we will, with God’s aid, never make money the issue. The issue is the gospel and its free access to those who need and want to hear it. While we do ask certain donations for resources, these are requests to meet expenses only, and not to build income. Our store policy is as follows:

Real Truth Matters has no desire to make a profit on the truth. We have freely received and we in turn want to freely give. That is why every spoken and most written resources in the store are offered free by means of downloading an MP3, text, or PDF file. We are aware that you may want to have a hard copy. If so we simply ask that you would be willing to help offset our costs. It is our intention to keep our costs as low as possible.

If the suggested donation is beyond your means, then by all means contact us and we will accept what you can afford. If you cannot afford to give anything, then we will accept nothing! Contact us and let us know what you are interested in. All free orders must be under $25.00.

Lastly, we will live by faith that demonstrates the gospel that we love to proclaim. While we will make needs known, that is all we will do. The rest we will leave to our Provider.

In a future blog I will elaborate more on what RTM actual work will look like and ministry burdens. If you want to support Real Truth Matters after prayerfully considering then follow the link below. We will never be able to tell you how appreciative we are. Please pray for us that our faith, when tried as with fire, will not fail.

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