Airstream Tour Anniversary Report
We have successfully completed our goal of one year touring as a family in the Airstream! MJM Ministries has seen amazing growth in the past year.
Back in June of 2012, Michael took a leap of faith, stepping away from a salary to tour full-time. The fruits of this decision were immediately apparent as he received more and more invitations to travel and share the Gospel message through music. The goal then, as it is now, was to develop a sustainable model to evangelize through the beauty of music.
The key word was "sustainable" and the challenges were great.
First, there are few venues in which Catholics are prepared to pay an honorarium for such services. Most of these were youth events typically held during a few select weekends per year. Those few events would have to cover the leaner months when work was harder to come by. Secondly, the distance that Michael was able to travel was always limited. With a growing family at home it was important to stay close to St. Louis. Trying to be home at least every two weeks, often resulted in long travel days and high travel expenses. Thirdly, the time away was trying on everyone. Days at home were often spent playing "catch up" on paperwork, booking, songwriting, and errands in addition to trying to spend time with the family.
It was clear that this first incarnation was not sustainable. We prayed for another solution and had the idea for the Airstream tour. This new model would create our own events, performing concerts for a free-will donation. We would travel together as a family, bringing our “home” with us. Removing the honorarium would allow more churches to host concerts. Not having the return trip “home” would minimize our travel expenses while simultaneously allowing more opportunities for ministry. In addition, the whole family would be able to experience and learn about different parts of the United States.
After nervously purchasing and renovating our Vintage Airstream Travel Trailer we set out on tour on May 1st. We have grown together as a family visiting 40 states, from Boston to San Diego. Michael has shared his music with more people than ever, playing at over 120 events. This model has allowed us to play at large conferences with thousands of people and at smaller, rural parishes or college campuses. We have seen positive response to the music and message, but people also love meeting the family. We came to realize that our family offers another form of ministry in a complimentary role to the music.
When we started last year, Michael was playing mostly “coffee shop” style acoustic shows combining music with faith stories. We quickly realized that for a rock concert setting, a band was needed. Matt Deterding joined us on the road in February and has fit in beautifully. His drums have added energy to the live show. Being able to bring in a bassist for selected shows has helped confirm our discernment toward performing regularly with a band. This fall, we will be releasing the new album under the band name "Arts + Humanity."
We consider the past year a huge success and plan to continue touring. We are in the process of purchasing a bus that will be renovated to accommodate both our family as well as band members. The lower storage bays will fit the necessary sound and lighting equipment. It is our goal to continue to offer this music ministry to as many areas as possible, asking only for a free-will donation.
Through the generosity of people at our concerts, this model has been able to support our family and the costs of touring. We have been able to fund both the Airstream project and the recording for the album "Arts + Humanity" without fundraising or asking for donations outside of the concerts. As we move into a period of growth, we are stepping out to ask for your additional support. We have three ways that you can do so:
1) Prayer. First and foremost, prayer is essential to our mission. Kindly include us in your prayer intentions as this is the most important, and often the most overlooked form of support.
2) Ongoing donation. Several people have asked how to give on a monthly basis. Recently, we have added the capability to process this kind of donation. If you have been blessed financially and would like to support this ministry on an ongoing basis, kindly consider becoming a sustaining member. You can text “mjm” to 41444 or visit michaeljamesmette.com/donate to support this ministry financially.
3) Pre-Order the new album. Make a one-time donation of more than $100 and as a thank you, we will send you a pre-released, signed & numbered limited edition of the new album. We completed the tracking of this project the first 3 weeks of May and expect the masters to be ready to ship early this summer. Proceeds of these donations will go toward funding post-production costs and bus renovations.
Thank you for all of your past and continued support. God has great things in store for the future!