Currently, I provide some level of counsel ranging on a variety of subjects to a minimum, of 5 to as many as 27 each day. On average we provide some level of counseling to individuals on a variety of subjects, from wrestling to marriage problems, and from drug addictions to homelessness on an average of 12 per day. That does not take into consideration just being friends and communicating with people. The Virtual Pew has provided financial assistance to individuals as well, although not as much as we would like due to the lack of income over the last year. There is also an application process we require before providing assistance and there have been several requesting assistance that didn't apply, along with some who didn't because at the time of their request, we just didn't have money available. None of that though, even with some of the minimum disappointments can take away from the work and progress we have seen.
Now as to why I consider the work done here, as being done by us/we, instead of me. I say that because I am aware of those who have supported The Virtual Pew from a financial perspective, and the many others that have supported it with prayer. There are the referrals that have been made to individual ministries and individuals as well as even some of the bands like Benny Logos and others that have given their music to be used by The Virtual Pew in our worship boards and web site at www.thevirtualpew.com . The truth is, from forum moderators at our message boards where we now have over 100 members, and literally close to 1,000,000 hits and the Hollywood Jesus and Virtual Pew Blog pages where we have had literally millions of visits over the last year, those things don't happen with me, they happen with we.
The objective was to have the majority of kinks worked out by the end of the first year, we are going to obtain that goal. The goal of reaching the number of people, with real ministry, has already been exceeded for the first year. In fact, the ministry of helping, serving, caring and loving, The Lost, The Last, and The Least has far exceeded our first year expectations. The future in regards to ministry looks incredible. It looks incredible because the ministry we do, is to individuals who have either felt or have been neglected by the "typical" church. In fact, there has been tremendous ministry to those who have no church affiliation, and those who have neglected church teachings and belief. Our hope was to be a light in a dark world, and for some we have shone brightly. I could not be more pleased at how God has used this ministry to help others.
On the other hand, we have had disappointments. The largest disappointment has been in the number of churches willing support The Virtual Pew. I would love to see The Virtual Pew earn its way. In order to do that, I have to get into churches and businesses to speak. I still need, someone to book me for those speaking opportunities. The references, the feedback from churches and businesses where I have spoken have been tremendous. Some have complimented my ability to communicate via these boards, but I must tell you, I have far more confidence and belief in my ability via the spoken word, in live situations. Again the feedback and recommendations have given verification to that point.
I have been a little surprised at the lack of financial giving from individuals accessing The Virtual Pew. It is not that I am disappointed in those individuals, it is that my calculations were off because a lack of understanding of the financial status of those we are providing ministry to. The overwhelming majority of individuals we provide some level of ministry to, just don't have the finances to support our work. The other truth though, is some who do, for whatever reason hasn't. Bottom line, is that a major reassessment of financial needs will have to be taken into consideration over the course of the next year. As a part of that consideration will be my own need to bring in outside dollars from additional jobs until we can get financially stable enough to continue this full-time unless serious contributions and engagments come in before the end of the year. The Virtual Pew has been a full-time effort for close to 7 months. We expected it to take about a year to get to the place where the income needed would start to come in. In that process I didn't figure in the need to get someone booking me, and the financial status of those we minister to. for that reason it has made the financial end of things difficult to say the least.
The other disappointment was the promise, and then pulling away regarding the editing and promotion of my book. I realize the need to have someone who cherishes this ministry enough to help support it, including scheduling of speaking opportunities, and helping shop the book. Many have stated that the book is the key to some of the speaking opportunities. If half of the expectations are true about the book, as expressed by others, it will be the single thing that opens up this ministry. I do have an editor willing to do the edit on the book for $1,000 but need a backer or bakers to finance that expense.
In some ways, the difficulties present a catch 22. I need one thing in order to get the other. I realize the importance of the mechanics. I also realize the need of counseling and help of those in need. For me to take additional time to address one need, I find myself having to take time away from people who need the help, advice and counsel. Just yesterday, I spent about 3 hours with an individual going to Iraq in January. He is concerned about his wife leaving him, taking his children and the suicidal tendencies of one of his children because of their own inability to get along with their mother. I have offered services to the family, and even offered to be a landing place for the child who may need a place to live in the next months. I have to evaluate, what is more important, the many individuals similar to this man requesting help on a daily basis, or the need to constantly book myself out for pay. I understand now, more than ever, Paul's own need to balance his tent making, (job) alongside his ministry, (evangelism, planting churches). I also realize that Paul had people supporting what he was doing. I also realize the need for a ministry like The Virtual Pew, to have individuals supporting it in that way as well. We need supporters to help with the work, financial supporters to help allow a time for ministry, and some dedicated individuals willing to work on the booking and promotion end of the ministry. Those helps will allow the ministry that is currently exisiting to grow, and expand even larger and more effective than it presently is.
How has the time over the last months been? Incredible! Are there any regrets? Not really. When balancing out ministry with money, I'll take ministry every time. I wll take ministry, because ministry to The Virtual Pew involves people who do not see that kind of help and love from the church and/or majority of Christians. I am unapologetic that our desire is to love people into relationship with Jesus Christ. I am sure there is value in the hard core preachers who preach the hell fire message and the churches who do the work they do. I will not question the methods God uses with who ever he chooses. I can only question and search the methods God desires for me. In that regard, I know The Virtual Pew has been used by God in the last year. What is in store for tomorrow, and the next year? I do not know! I do know I will be seeking God's direction at making sure that what we do, grows, and maintains its effectiveness. I will make sure we continue to reach out via acts of love, service, and help, for The Lost, The Last, The Least, which include the ones often feeling neglected by the church, the homeless person sleeping in an alley, and the drug addict who has lost their family, among others. Why will we do this? Because I know God has honored my prayer of years ago, that if given the opportunity, I wanted to make sure I had the chance to minister to people who were just like I was before I was a follower of Jesus. I have given up the "American Dream" of notoriety, income, wealth, and respect to do this. I am poor again, now have almost nothing again. I know I could go back to my life of wealth and recognition tomorrow. That being said, I would rather be known as the person who followed their dreams of loving the unlovable, and making a difference in the lives of those they came into contact with. I would rather be obedient to God's call, than have all the wealth on this planet. Why? Because my treasures are not here, my treasures are in Heaven. I get a glimpse of those treasures by being involved in the lives of those I have the joy, honor and privilege of meeting on MySpace, The Virtual Pew, and other places where a friend should be more than just a picture in a profile. For many, you know that for me this concept is true.
Blessings and thanks for helping The Virtual Pew and taking part in the MySpace page milestones. We still have about 3 months to go to hit our 1 year anniversary on MySpace, and about 5 months to go to get to the 1 year anniversary of full-time service with The Virtual Pew. I can tell , the ride has been great and is only going to get better. Get on board and see the impact you can have. It is a great ride.
Contact and Giving Information
Oh Yea, here is that contact information again.
The Virtual Pew
P.O. Box 17731
Wichita, KS 67217
Or you van give on line via Pay Pal at: http://www.furches.org/donations/index.html
To become a part of The Virtual Pew, visit, http://www.thevirtualpew.com/
To learn more about me visit http://www.furches.org/ I am also active on MySpace at: http://www.myspace.com/mikefurches I have another blog at http://blog.myspace.com/mikefurches To visit the Hollywood Jesus group at MySpace with membership by numerous Hollywood Jesus reviewers visit: http://groups.myspace.com/hollywoodjesus For a more in depth weekly study and conversation you an visit: http://virtualpewsermon.blogspot.com/ where you can access deeper teaching and ultimately videos for viewing and teaching. You can also subscribe to the newsletter at www.thevirtualpew.com or see the newsletter on line at http://thevirtualpewnews.blogspot.com/ You can also sign up for the free newsletter from The Virtual Pew by visiting the main page for The Virtual Pew, or you can see the newsletters online by visiting this web site: http://thevirtualpewnews.blogspot.com/ You can contact me via email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org For those interested in knowing more about my own story, contact me for a free e-copy of my book The Keystone Kid in pre-edit form.