Greetings, ministry friends!
I have exciting news to share involving one of the big changes coming to SkyWatch TV in the months ahead.
As you know, we launched the SkyWatch Television ministry only a couple of years ago and have experienced phenomenal growth ever since. Our presence on Network Television has grown exponentially (with more opportunities to expand every day), and our YouTube and ROKU channels have exploded as well, receiving hundreds of thousands of monthly views.
While this growth has been incredible, we have also had to throttle components of additional growth (new network affiliations, additional channels, and media outlets) to keep it sustainable, as we face unavoidable limitations on the scope of our operation within the restraints of our current offices, warehouse, and studio facilities. Since our original television launch, we have made several internal changes to our method of operation. As one important example: We have become our own international distributor, shipping items all over the world to avoid paying the astronomical cost of third-party distribution (which involves the incurring product storage fees, shipping multiple times to various warehouses, company commissions, and so forth). When Defender Publishing was a much smaller operation, this was the only option we had, until years of building our own customer base paved the way for expansion—and whereas expansion was a tremendously positive move for us, it required significant start-up investments for what would eventually become a much wiser and more efficient long-term business model down the road.
At present, our studio, warehouse, distribution facility, and customer service department are all located inside the same building, which has (as you can imagine) swelled into many unforeseen and unavoidable problems…
Forklift operators, warehouse staff members, and the entire shipping department are notably reduced in functionality whenever the studio’s recording light is on, because the cross-over noise carries into the programming. Additionally, our cameras and microphones are stationed just on the other side of a thin wall, separating it from the cafeteria/conference room, requiring all non-studio departments to schedule their meetings, events, and personal meals around our taping schedule (a schedule that might change at any moment, since the “news nature” of our station demands that we respond to current events quickly). Because of the awkward layout that we had to work with in this building originally, we have never had a choice but to ask our special guests (the authors, doctors, experts, and media moguls we interview on our programs) to leave the studio entirely and walk through several other departments to the far opposite end of the building to access our restrooms. (The studio originally had a beautiful visitor suite/green room, that was converted into office spaces long ago.) Our offices are uncomfortably crowded, despite every effort to repurpose and reorganize every last inch of what we have in the interest of bringing in new staff. (This personnel list includes customer service representatives to answer phones; warehouse and shipping teams; book and article writers; magazine, book, closed captioning, and video editors; and camera operators. This does not include the youth we bring in each time we have thousands of promotional orders to ship out.)
These issues—and many others—represented less-than-ideal arrangements for us even when our staff numbered just a handful at the start of this incredible journey of growth. Now, because of the massive increases God has so richly blessed our ministry with, the amount of space we have is…well, humorously exceeded, to say the least.
In short: Though we openly acknowledge that the expansion of our Gospel mission up to this point has been nothing less than miraculous—and we are grateful each day for the obvious ways God’s hand can be seen in these growing pains—we are aware of how handicapped our current facility and system of operation is. We feel that in order to both extend and efficiently maintain our Gospel reach, it is painfully obvious that we have an imminent need to BUILD A NEW, BIGGER STUDIO AND ALL NEW MEDIA OFFICES.
One dynamic we really look forward to expanding (which we are unable to do now with our current space) is the number of people that can be on the set at any one time. Because of the number of cameras, audio lines, and the restrictions of physical space at our current tiny news desk, we can only seat a maximum number of four guests. We’ve had no choice but to turn down chances to interview crucially important experts on current and pressing issues, and when we have totaled more than four people in the studio at a time, we’ve had to ask guests to swap in and out of the panel to “take turns” recording content. Our new studio will allow us to seat up to eight guests, literally doubling our opportunity for guests to contribute commentary…and the most exciting part includes space for a live audience! We can’t wait for the day viewers can mark their calendar, fly to location, and participate in a live taping of the SkyWatch TV program!
While Nita and I have poured our life savings into this ministry and the SkyWatch charity, Whispering Ponies Ranch (WPR, where sex-trafficked and abandoned kids are healed at no cost to them or their counselors), we’ve run out of personal resources and are now praying that the Lord will show us how the new studio building will be built in a reasonable period of time. We wish to, as stated, both faithfully maintain what the Lord has done here, as well as reach our goal to dramatically expand our ministry endeavors. Our passion toward this objective is centrally related to two missions: 1) spreading the Gospel as far and wide as we can over broadcast television and social media; and 2) as anyone who knows Nita and I personally will attest, to fund WPR. We were able to host a record number of users in 2018 and wish to include even more user groups and subsidize even more meals, curriculum, amenities, and other costs to increase the number of those who will be eternally touched and healed at the SkyWatch TV therapy camp (Whispering Ponies Ranch).
(Some of you reading this may have been present at our last exclusive WPR Annual Sponsor’s Banquet. If so, you will remember hearing how countless children were deeply moved at our camps last summer. After listening to the president of Royal Family Kids Camps give his testimony—and after showing a video containing footage of children, who had previously been emotionally and socially withdrawn, laughing and smearing our therapy horses with finger paints—everyone present at the banquet could attest that bringing in more children is a top priority for all of us here at SkyWatch TV and Defender Publishing.)
We know God hears our prayers, and recently, out of the blue, an area real estate broker offered to sell us—for pennies on the dollar!—the perfect building with enough space for the new larger studio, as well as multiple office areas for a media department. This miracle alone has saved the ministry hundreds of thousands of dollars. (The offer was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we couldn’t say no, so we took some of the last of our savings and purchased the media complex on faith that God will provide the rest of the monies needed for the studio’s and offices’ inside-remodel construction.)
Now, we’ve already started the construction process and will be updating our ministry partners during December regarding the progress of the new media building, but things are going so much slower than they should be, as we can now only build as cash-flow allows. Again, this is because the retirement funds Nita and I had have run out—yet we absolutely believe God is leading us to continue forward by faith to build a media complex dedicated to bringing a message of hope to the world!
As it stands right now, WE NEED A MIRACLE OF FUNDING, as approximately $175,000 is required to finish the new studio and purchase all the new equipment we will need to become operational once inside: cameras, lighting, audio, seating etc.
As you might expect, all of this has been heavy on my spirit as we’re literally watching the erosion of civilization all around us. People need the life-saving message of Jesus Christ like never before, and my life ministry keeps me acutely aware of every societal shift! Then, while praying the other day, the idea came to me how YOU could be part of this historic opportunity and help us finish this powerhouse broadcasting facility for the Kingdom of God.
September 11th, 2019. The vision is this:
- MINISTRY INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY #1—For every person that makes a one-time donation of $250.00 to the SkyWatch Studio Fund, we will honor your giving to this important project by:
o Including YOUR NAME ON A WALL OF HONOR inside the new studio for generations to see;
o Providing you FREE THE DVD COLLECTION OF THE COMPLETE 2019 BRANSON CONFERENCE ($125.00 retail value)!
- MINISTRY INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY #2—For every person that makes a one-time donation of $500.00 or more to the SkyWatch Studio Fund, we will recognize you in all the ways mentioned above PLUS SEND YOU THE NEW 3-VOLUME STRONGS SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY (150.00 retail value)!
Besides this, we plan to present a short video during the main conference session showing just how you and others like you helped us build the new studio.
Of course, there are people that follow this ministry that could write one check to pay for the new studio or a larger donation for covering the costs of cameras and equipment (and it would be a huge blessing and answer to prayer if that happened!), but we cannot assume that will occur and are moving forward by faith, believing that together, one way or another, we will get this urgently needed, operation-central broadcast facility up and running before summer of the coming year.
Please pray about selecting a donation amount above and partner with us to make this very worthy ministry project come to pass.