ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING THE FUTURE OF MICHAEL WAYNE SMITH MUSIC MINISTRY
Some years before Kelley and I launched our ministry in 2009, I worked at a rescue mission called Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM). I worked there for 6 years and loved it so much. In 2004, there were a group of employees that were laid off due to budget cuts and my position was one of those.
As much as it devastated me, it was a blessing in disguise. I ended up being laid off for 6 months but during that time I had the opportunity to go on a life changing mission trip to Nicaragua with my church. It gave me an immense appreciation for the life I had. Even though I was out of work, I was blessed. This was the first time that I saw that God is my true provider. Also during this time was when I decided to pitch one of my songs to a professional gospel singing group. That group was Heirline and the song was “My Home”. I didn’t realize it at the time, but God was planning something greater for me and it started with this song.
Fast forward to today, our ministry turned 14 years old this year. I started in 2009 and quit my full time job at Oak Ridge Housing Authority in 2011 to sing full time. There have been many roads traveled and many lives changed, all for the glory of God.
My schedule is typically a weekend warrior situation, meaning I have some free time during the week, most weeks. Late last summer I decided to look at some part time work that would allow me to still have my weekends and some flexibility during the week. Through a dear friend, I learned that KARM was hiring and could probably work with my busy schedule. I went through the application process, had my interview and was offered employment, and just like that I was a KARM employee again. I started working there in September and I have enjoyed it so much. God has given me the opportunity to serve and love on people in a way MUCH different that when I am on a stage. These are people that the world has thrown away. Some have addictions and / or mental health issues. Some, if not most, have no family to love them. Some of them smell bad. Some are elderly and need help putting socks on their feet or need help putting sheets on the bunk they will be sleeping in that night. Some just need a kind word to get their mind off of the negativity they battle with every day. God has really given me a heart for these dear people that He loves so much and I feel I have grown in the Lord by being given this opportunity.
Fast forward a little more…Many of you know I started having some health issues back in late January. Long story short, I have been diagnosed with Asthma. Up until recently, Kelley and I paid our health insurance out of pocket, one of the disadvantages of being self-employed. This always worked before because we’ve always been very healthy. Now, things have changed a little and has given me a new perspective on things. After much thought and prayer, I have accepted the opportunity to work at KARM on a full time basis starting in August, which will allow me to get health insurance through KARM.
Kelley and I have had many discussions about this over the last few weeks and we both feel this is the right move. God has given us both peace about this.
Now, this does NOT mean that I am canceling any dates that I have booked! I will maintain my 2023 singing schedule although it will be a challenge. My calendar is absolutely full all the way until the end of the year and I will make every one of those scheduled dates.
Moving into 2024 is where things will change. I will be scaling back my singing schedule quite a bit next year so as to not kill myself trying to juggle two full time jobs. As of right now, my plan is to take at least one weekend off every month, which I’ve already blocked off. I would like to take 2 weekends off each month but I’m not sure if that will be possible just yet. However, this is my goal. If I can get you on my calendar for 2024 I will do my best but there is no guarantee.
I know to many, this is disappointing news but I assure you, this is God’s plan. If you know me at all, you know that music is my life. It’s what God has called me to do. I am still going to be doing concerts, and making new music. In fact, I am working on two new albums now. But I have learned recently that He doesn’t always call us to one task. I have been able to serve Him in two ways that are so different from one another. I believe He used my recent health scare to realize this. Otherwise, I would have never seen it.
Mind you, this isn’t just a move because of my health. God has given me a heart and passion to work at KARM and show God’s love to the most broken and the least wanted. God loves them as much as He loves me. Some of them can’t see that love and I want to do my part to open their eyes and hearts to Christ. Blessings!
-Michael and Kelley