Letter from Earnest – August 2013
For 32 years, I’ve had the privilege of serving this community in ministry. In those years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many wonderful and profound people. One of those individuals- who has since gone on to glory- was that person of Jeff Wenzel, who revolutionized my way of thinking about ministry. I had been flying around the world, making great money and felt like God wanted me to change directions. Jeff was a young kid who I had met from North High School. He had a heart for God, and over the years became a significant part of the ministry of Youth Horizons. In the early days, I would give a portion of what I generated at concerts, to the ministry of Youth Horizons. As the work would grow, I became increasing concerned about how we would make ends meet.
One day Jeff suggested to me that I give my whole check to Youth Horizons and set a budget for a salary. He recommended, “Pick a salary that’s fair – that will meet your needs and that of your family, (referring to my mother and my younger brothers and sisters), and everything over and above that – give to Youth Horizons. I think people would give more if they knew they were giving to a cause beyond Earnest Alexander.”
At first, I thought he was crazy and he was asking me to make a tremendous sacrifice, because I was making a great living. In discussing it with him, he pointed out that for the ministry to grow to God’s capacity, it had to grow beyond my abilities and that whatever I would personally invest, God would personally take care of me and the many children He wanted us to serve. So I put myself on a modest budget of $30,000 a year and everything over and above that went to Youth Horizons. For almost 20 years, my salary was $30,000 to $33,000 a year. The ministry grew beyond my wildest imagination. Today, my salary is a little more than $60,000 a year. To some people, that seems excessive, but I am happy to tell you that the Youth Horizons budget is close to a million dollars a year and most of the monies generated to meet that budget come from sources other than my concerts.
If God has called you to ministry, you must be the first to invest in it. You cannot in good conscience ask others to underwrite something that you personally won’t put your capital behind. See if you can out-give God. Thank you to all of you for helping us. We need your help and we need your prayers.