Hey Team Punk Monk!
I wanted to start off by saying thank you to everyone for supporting the online Punk Monk Fundraiser in December. Your prayers, likes, shares, encouragement and donations made the fundraiser a big success.
There are a number of new people getting this newsletter this month, so welcome to the team! This newsletter is a place for me to talk about my ministry with GOHOP (Greater Ontario House of Prayer), share prayer requests, and to give fundraising updates (financial accountability is always a good thing).
I won’t always be putting finances at the top of the list but in light of all that has happened in the last few months it’s a good place to start this time.
The Punk Monk Fundraiser Story:
The idea was super simple, I was just going to post selfies online asking for money to help finish my first year with GOHOP on budget. No rewards, no shaving my beard, no song or dance, just an honest ask for help. The very first donation that came in was for $10, with a note that read “Praying God multiplies this!” God absolutely took that first donation and grew it. The goal was to raise $3000 and by Christmas I raised $3655. On top of the online fundraiser an additional $1905 came in from other places, which brings the November & December total up to $5560. I am overwhelmed with the generosity God has shown me through friends, family and strangers.
Fundraising in 2022:
My monthly fundraising goal is $2897. If you would like to see the cost breakdown of my hours and rate of pay, click here.
The most sustainable (and least stressful way) for me to reach that goal is increasing the number of people signed up for a monthly giving plan. Right now I have 13 monthly givers contributing about $1300 in total each month. To reach my monthly goal, I need to raise an additional $1597 each month. With the extra money that came in at the end of 2021, I have now raised enough to be paid in full until the end of February.
Here are some ways you can be praying for my fundraising:
- Pray that more people would sign up for a monthly giving plan. Currently 44% of my monthly goal comes from giving plans. I’m praying that this would increase to 75%.
- Pray that one time and annual donations would continue to make up the monthly difference. Please pray that I wouldn’t have a month this year where I have a shortfall and need to do crisis fundraising.
- Pray that I could connect with potential givers & prayer partners in my wider network or even outside my current network.
Here are a few other practical ways people can be helping:
- Ask your church, small group, or network if they would like me to come speak, sing, or lead a creative prayer activity. I’m happy to connect with groups no matter how large or small. I work hard to always combine stories, learning and practical application into everything I do (whether it is preaching, singing or leading an activity). Here is a participant quote I got after leading an Imaginative Gospel Contemplation workshop at a church planting retreat:
“One of my favourite parts of our New Venture retreat this summer was the Gospel Contemplation hosted by Randall Neudorf. I am familiar with lectio divina but have never really tapped into my imagination the way Randall encouraged us to. I absolutely loved considering the different roles, as though I was reading a screenplay from different perspectives and then as an active participant in the story. It spoke to me deeply and I’m grateful to have another way to immerse myself in the scriptures.” – Christina
- If you gave a donation last year and plan on doing so again this year, consider splitting up your donation into a monthly giving plan. Last year’s$120 or $1200 donation could be this year’s $10 or $100 a month giving plan. I know the math works out the same but the monthly giving plan adds the gift of predictability (and stress reduction) to that number.
- Introduce me to someone who you think would like to be part of the Punk Monk Team. If you know someone who might like to learn more about my work, be part of my prayer team or make a donation, please make the introduction. We all have different networks of people with different gifts and strengths. I’m always happy to meet and connect with new people.
- If you would like to make an Online donation to support my work with GOHOP you can do that here: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/53164 (to donate by cheque click here)
TrueCity 24-7 Prayer Room:
This year I’m leading the planning team for the TrueCity Prayer Room that is part of the annual TrueCity Conference. The conference is happening on April 29th & 30th and the prayer room will run 24-7 for two weeks after that. I’m very excited to be given the opportunity to lead this team. This prayer room has always had an emphasis on connecting people to creative forms of prayer and building bridges between churches, which are two things I’m very passionate about. If you are in the Hamilton area and would like to help create an indoor (or outdoor) prayer station, please let me know. We will also be approaching local churches and challenging them to fill a 24 hour time slot as part of their TrueCity journey. 24 hours might sound like a long time but all it takes is 24 people each praying for 1 hour to make that happen. It is amazing how fast an hour goes by in the prayer room.
Here is how you can be praying for the Prayer Room and the planning team:
- Pray for flexibility. We are going to need to hold all our ideas and plans very loosely, as we wait to see what the COVID regulations look like in the spring.
- Pray for safety & creativity. We will absolutely be following all the health and safety guidelines, and we will be working hard at finding creative ways to host a prayer room that is both meaningful and safe. My goal is to always look for the idea that feels like a “get to” and not just a “have to.” The way to find those “get to” ideas is to allow safety challenges to push us into creative solutions
- Pray that we can connect with the right volunteers, churches and individuals to be part of the prayer room. Last year the prayer room was online and it took a much smaller volunteer base to make that happen. Pray that we will have a strong group of volunteers and participants to re-engage with this annual expression of prayer and church unity.
Art Journal and my Personal Journey:
When I was out Christmas shopping I ran into a stranger at an art supply store who really surprised me. They said, “Hey, Randell, you don’t know me but I follow you online. I really appreciate your art journal posts, especially the ones on pain. They are so important because so many people don’t know what it feels like to live with chronic pain.” A couple weeks before that I got a message with a donation that said “Your art is truly a ministry. I’m thankful that you are spreading God’s love through this thought provoking medium. Many blessings to you!” Both of these surprise compliments have encouraged me to keep being really open and honest with my online art journal posts. In that spirit of openness I wanted to share a little bit about my latest Art Journal post.
Christmas is a really hard time at my house and that proved to be true again this year. Christmas day I had a panic attack and it came and went over the next 3 days. Sometimes it would even hit me in the middle of the night and I would be in panic mode for a couple hours. The best way I can describe these episodes is that it feels like everything is buzzing in a bad way (like a swarm of bees rather than a strong cup of coffee). In my latest Art Journal post I talked about my panic attacks and some of the things that helped me get through them. The response to these drawings and stories continues to be very positive. I know this isn’t the main part of my job but it really feels like an important part of my ministry.
You can see all my Art Journal stories here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10164895225245179&type=3
Here are a few personal prayer requests:
- Pray for my mental health and my chronic pain. I am in the process of seeing a counselor but that is just starting. I also have a spiritual director and a physiotherapist, so I’m working on my mind, body and soul. My pain has been under control better lately and I feel like I’m getting stronger. I have even been able to play guitar more recently, which is very helpful (sometimes my pain interferes with my hands)
- Pray for my family. I know everyone has experienced hard times during the pandemic but we have definitely found that it exacerbates our unique dynamics.
- Pray for my art journal posts, that God would continue to use them. Pray that the right people would see them. Pray that I would continue to find creative outlets that are life giving.
For 5 years I have been writing articles for Leader Magazine (a Mennonite publication). It has been a great opportunity to talk about where I have been seeing God show up in my neighbourhood and ministry. In my latest article I got to highlight a resource I created called “A Visual Guide To Prayer Walking.” The guide is a series of drawings and prayer prompts intended to inspire people to try out prayer walking. Every few years the magazine switches up their contributors to hear from new voices. My prayer walking article was my last piece. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to share so many of my stories with people all across Canada and the United States.
Connecting with Pastors & Leaders:
GOHOP’s Pastors & Leaders prayer time is going really well. As the interim coordinator, I have consistently been able to book in a really diverse group of leaders for our listening prayer ministry. We have prayed with pastors, chaplains, denominational leaders, church planters, leadership teams and students. I have also been able to attend a number of networking events for pastors. This has helped me to connect with a number of leaders I hadn’t met before from a wider range of denominations. At one event, I was giving my listening prayer spiel to some pastors who were new to Hamilton when a bunch of other Pastors in the room jumped in and said “You need to go and pray with GOHOP!” It was amazing to realize that half the pastors in the room had already been prayed for by GOHOP in the last year.
Pray for my work with pastors & leaders:
- Pray that I would be able to continue to book in a diverse group of pastors and leaders.
- Pray that we would continue to practice listening prayer in a safe and supportive way. My prayer is that our prayer time would open up the idea of listening prayer to leaders that have never experienced listening prayer before.
- Pray that we would be able to pray for more denominational leaders. I would love for them to feel confident to refer their pastors to GOHOP for prayer.
Thanks so much for following along with my journey.
Grace & Peace,