An Introduction to Guido Ministries
ONE MOMENT, ONE MINUTE, ONE MESSAGE
Accidents happen to everyone. They are part of life. As a result of some accidents, lives are changed, and the course of history is altered forever. In 1957, while traveling to an evangelistic meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, a pick-up truck traveling at a high rate of speed ran a stop sign, crashed into the new automobile Michael and Audrey Guido has just purchased, and demolished it. Audrey was nearly killed in the accident and spent several months in an Atlanta hospital enduring many lengthy surgeries and suffered excruciating pain.
On their long trip home to Metter in an ambulance, Michael broke the silence when he said, “Audrey, we have no assurance of tomorrow, so we need to do more for the Lord each day that he gives us. Other than our evangelistic revivals, what can we do to reach more people with the gospel message? We have just experienced the uncertainties of life and the possibility of death when we least expect it. What else can we do for the Lord?
After another long period of silence, Michael gently took Audrey’s hand and said, “Dear, let’s ask God to put on our hearts what He wants us to do from now on.” Following a time of prayer together, Michael turned to his beloved wife with another question, “What did the Lord tell you, Dear?”
Having a difficult time speaking, and responding very softly just above a whisper, she said, “Michael, the Lord laid a radio ministry on my heart.”
“How very strange,” Michael responded. “God laid the same burden on my heart, too. And, the initial “seed” for a radio ministry was planted by God in the hearts and lives of Michael and Audrey. In a matter of weeks, the first radio program was recorded, and “A Seed From the Sower” was broadcast from station WVOP in Vidalia, Georgia.
It took one minute on one radio station in a rural community in South Georgia to launch a movement that would one day bring hope to millions of people around the planet. “A Seed from the Sower,” a daily devotional program that began in Metter, Georgia in 1952, rapidly became one of the most listened to inspirational sermons. The response to that radio program was so overwhelming that the speaker, Dr. Michael Guido, decided to make a similar program available on television. Soon, what was once a “Georgia swamp” became the most beautiful three acres in Georgia and became the “studio” for “A Seed For the Garden of Your Heart.” Today, “A Seed From the Sower” is broadcast 1,500,000 times a year, and “A Seed For the Garden of Your Heart” reaches into 1,250,000 homes three times a day.
The “seeds” from “The Sower” quickly became a daily staple in the hearts and homes of the growing audience. Many listeners who enjoyed hearing or seeing the devotionals began calling the stations to request written copies of them to share with family members and friends. To honor their requests and meet this need, a monthly devotional booklet, “Seeds from the Sower” was made available to any who requested it free of charge. The response was overwhelming and over 21,000 “Seeds of Hope” are printed and distributed each month -still free – to those who request a copy.
One day, the editor of a weekly newspaper read a “Seed of Hope” while waiting for his appointment to see his physician. After realizing how the brief devotional brought him a much-needed word of encouragement, he realized that through his paper, he could bring comfort and inspiration to many of his readers who were encountering difficult times in their lives. So, he called The Sower Studio and asked if he could print a “seed” each week in his paper. His request was honored, and now over 225 newspapers, publish one of our “seeds” each week.
Perhaps the most amazing fact about the “seeds” is that they are broadcast on radio and TV stations and published in newspapers at no cost to Guido Ministries. Stations and newspapers carry the programs and publish the seeds because they generate “listener and reader loyalty,” and are recognized as a “value-added” segment to the stations’ regular programming format or the newspapers’ inspirational and informational content.
In Paul’s farewell message at Ephesus, he said, “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there…However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20: 22 -24) Is there not an echo of this message in the history of Guido Ministries? Michael and Audrey, like Paul, had no idea “what would happen to them…only that they would be found faithful to finish the race and complete the task God gave them of testifying the good news of God’s grace.” Only God knew what He had planned for this, His ministry. Over the years God’s message of the Good News of His love, mercy, grace, salvation, hope, and eternal life has not changed. However, the methods and means of sharing this message continues to grow and be blessed by God – and will continue to grow and be blessed by God – if we are faithful to Him and honor Him in all that we do, and give Him all the glory for all that we accomplish in His Name.
“THANK YOU FOR SAYING ‘YES’”
“I am writing to request a change of address. I was transferred to another facility and they will only forward mail for a limited time. I have been receiving “Seeds” for twenty-nine years and did not want to miss a one. Thank you and your ministry for saying ‘yes’ when God gave you the call. Seeds have been a blessing and inspiration not only for myself but numerous others as well.”
Although we do not know who the first prisoner was, or where he or she might have been incarcerated, or the exact date that prisoner received the first “seed” that was planted in a cell, we do know that “Seeds From the Sower,” when the first prisoner received the first “seed in a cell,” we do know for a fact that we have been mailing “seeds” to prisoners for over twenty-nine years. Although we do not know what the first “seed” was about, or the scripture it addressed, we do know that its message was important to that prisoner because he continued to read them until he was released from prison, and may still be reding them today as you are reading this article. Although the who, when, and where would be considered important historically, what matters most is that that “seed” has ministered to that person’s spiritual needs while incarcerated, and for all that we know, continues to minister God’s Word today. So, this letter occupies an important place in our history because we know that prisoners have been receiving and responding to the message in the “seeds” for twenty-nine years. We are deeply grateful to God for this unique ministry that has been meeting the spiritual needs of both prisoners and their family members. We took God at His Word when He proclaimed His promise: “My Word will not return to me empty!” But, how did this ministry to other prisoners and prisons begin?
Years ago we received a letter from a heart-broken mother asking us to place her son on our mailing list. She provided his name and location and then added, “I have been receiving the Seeds for years, and they have been a big help to me as I have struggled with my son’s imprisonment. He has been in prison for years and will be there for many more years but until today, I never thought to ask you to send him a copy. Perhaps we can read them together and maybe even pray for one another. Please send him the “Seeds” and pray for him. He needs help, and his wife and children need him desperately. Maybe the “Seeds” will help him make peace with God and others and keep him from getting into more trouble.”
After receiving her letter, we wondered if there might be an opportunity to share God’s “Seeds” with other prisoners. So, we wrote to several prison chaplains and asked if they would be willing to accept and distribute the “Seeds” to their prisoners. The response was very gratifying, and our ministry of hope, help, and healing for the incarcerated began.
In a few months, we discovered quite by accident, that when a prisoner on a cell block received a “Seed” in an envelope with his name on it, others on that same “block” saw that a fellow prisoner received a “Seed” in a letter with his name on it and would write and ask us if they too could receive their personal copy of the “Seeds” in an envelope with their name on it. As we received more and more of these requests, we realized that, in addition to the bulk mailing we distributed for mass distribution, prisoners who received their own copy of “Seeds” would occasionally write us and ask for prayer for their unique needs.
As the number of prayer requests continued to grow, we decided to enclose a “prayer request card” in each envelope to make it more convenient for prisoners to share their requests with us. Not long after we began sending prayer request cards we began to receive many more prayer requests and letters from prisoners asking us to pray for them, assist them in finding a resource so they can be paroled, request a Bible, ask for literature to help them grow spiritually, resolve personal problems and family concerns, or ask that we add a fellow inmate to the mailing list. As a result of this response, we soon realized that our ministry to prisoners was personal and relationship-centered and a bond of trust had developed between the prisoners and Guido Ministries staff and volunteers.
We know that this “bond of trust” is important to prisoners because they have had so many persons in their lives disappoint them and not honor their word with them. We realize the importance of this “bond-of-trust“ when we receive a letter that reads, “I’ve heard that you send Bibles when a prisoner asks for one” or, ”Your ministry is the only one that responds to my letters” or, “You always let me know that you received my prayer request and I want you to know how much that means to me” or, “I didn’t believe you would write me. I’ve written so many ministries and no one but you responded” or, ’’I’ve wanted a Bible for so long. Thanks!” We are committed to keeping our word and honoring our Sower Family Members Inside because we realize that we represent our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ7, and are examples and representatives of Who He is and how He would have us treat those for whom cared and died for.
This year we have had 281 prisoners profess faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. This was the result of a special project entitled, “How Good is Good Enough” along with an explanation of the process of becoming a believer in Christ and a commitment card. Each one of them received a personal letter welcoming them into the Sowe Family, a “new believers packet,” and will soon receive a book entitled “TOUCHPOINTS for Believers.” We are also developing Bible study courses to address the special needs of prisoners. And, four times each year we send applications to prisoners and offer them an opportunity to enroll in a Bible study correspondence course. We estimate that approximately 1,400 prisoners have completed one of several courses that have been designed and developed especially for prisoners.
One of the most interesting letters we have ever received came from a prisoner on death row in San Quentin. He informed us that he found a “seed” stuffed in a crack in the corner of his cell. He said that he spent hours and hours – if not weeks – asking himself one simple question: “Why would anyone want to waste something so valuable by stuffing it in a hole in the corner of a cell?” Finally, when winter arrived and it turned cold, he noticed that rats began appearing in his cell. He finally concluded that whoever put the “seed” in the hole did so to “keep other rats like me out of my room during the cold, foggy nights on the San Francisco Bay.” After telling us the story of how he found his “very own seed,” he continued, “I have no one in my life that cares for me or writes to me or has anything to do with me. I’ve been abandoned by everyone who I once called ‘friend’ and have no family either. And, I often wonder what they will do with my body once they put me to death. Please put me on your mailing list and let me know you care for me. I want to know that someone one out there knows that I’m in here.” Of course, we did put him on our mailing list and wrote him a letter welcoming him to our family, witnessed to him about the saving grace of God, and invited him to become a member of God’s family through Christ, and assured him of our love and concern for him.
How blest we are to be able to have the honor and privilege to minister to those inside.What a tremendous opportunity and obligation to minister to them in Jesus’ Name, to pray for them and with them, to love them and care for them, to honor them and witness to them, to share God’s message of love, mercy, grace, salvation, and hope within them, and to work with them to come to know, love, honor, be faithful to and obey Jesus Christ ad their Savior and Lord. We take the word of Jesus very seriously when He said: “I was in prison, and you came, and you visited me.” Although we cannot visit the prisoners personally, the “Seeds of Hope” reach into the cells and hearts of thousands of prisoners each month on His behalf.
GUIDO BIBLE COLLEGE: TRAINING “THE NEXT GENERATION OF SOWERS”
Guido Ministries has always been “forward-looking” for new and innovative opportunities to “Sow God’s Seeds.” Approximately ten years ago the Board of Trustees recognized the need for a program to train individuals who wanted to serve local congregations as bi-vocational clergy and lay-leaders in churches, but could not attend a “traditional” Christian college or seminary because of family, financial, or time constraints. After researching the programs of other colleges, they realized that this need was not being met and decided to establish a program of Christian higher education for individuals who wanted to study the Bible and learn the skills that are required to become effective church leaders. A specific program of instruction was designed and developed to meet this particular need, and the Guido Center for Christian Training was launched and began to offer a program of instruction that led to Certificates in Biblical Studies and Christian Ministry. The response to the Center exceeded expectations, and the Board decided to apply to the Georgia Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission for permission to offer certificates and degrees in Biblical studies. After two years of operating as Guido Bible Institute, the Board made another decision to apply to the Commission to seek authorization to become a degree-granting college. The College achieved this status in 2016 and is now in the process of becoming fully accreditated by the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
A unique aspect of the College is its “open-enrollment” policy. By design, the College is willing to accept students who have a high school diploma or General Educational Diploma but who would not be accepted by other colleges because of their lack of academic success. To level the “playing field” and provide an educational opportunity for all who want to enter the ministry, the College offers a special program to prepare students for a college education. Students who enroll, but have difficulty in learning or are deficient in certain areas of learning, are considered “struggling students” and receive special mentoring and tutoring to learn the requisite skills to succeed in their studies.
GUIDO BIBLE COLLEGE: DIFFERENT BY DESIGN
Because God has a unique purpose and a special plan for everyone and everything! It’s how He works. By design, God has a purpose and a plan for your life! And, by design, God has mandated every Christian to “go…make disciples!” By design GBC is different. It is a college where Christians gather to prepare for a life of service to optimize His plan for their lives. GBC exists to ENTRUST, EDUCATE, EQUIP, ENABLE, and EMPOWER Christians to do what God has called them to do: bear fruit and make disciples.
GBC ENTRUSTS: We humbly acknowledge the fact, and willingly accept the challenge and responsibility, that we are obligated to continue to guard and share the historical, evangelical heritage to “pass on the faith once delivered.” Collectively, the Board of Trustees and faculty stand, with the Apostle Paul and declare: “For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people.” (1 Corinthians 2:4). “And, the things which you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach to others.” (2 Timothy 2:2). The message we share is not ours, but God’s, and we solemnly declare that we will always be found faithful in sharing His message of love, mercy, grace, salvation, and hope, through Jesus Christ, Savior and Lord.
GBC EDUCATES: Our faculty is grounded in the Word of God, are highly qualified academically, successful pastors or other leaders within the church, and respected for their accomplishments. They are committed to providing an educational experience for our students that will inspire their desire to learn and ignite their passion for serving. We accept and agree with the Apostle Paul that: “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong, and teaches us to do what is right.” ( 2 Timothy 3: 16,17)
GBC ENABLES: Our program of instruction is designed to provide students with insight and information to apply the Word of God, to do the work of God, in the world God created. We work with local churches and organizations to provide opportunities for our students to become competent and skillful in their calling by assisting, mentoring and guiding them in places of service in church and community organizations. We emphasize the teaching of the Apostle Paul; “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the Gospel that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Corinth8ians 9: 22,23)
GBC EQUIPS: Ministry today is only limited by the vision of those who minister. From soup kitchens to social media, from preaching behind a pulpit to sharing “the Word” in prisons, from working with addicts in a recovery program to providing care in an assisted living facility, GBC students are required to be involved in a supervised Christian Service Ministry project. All we teach, whether knowledge or skills is a means to share God’s Message in “word and deed.” The challenge of the Apostle Peter rings loudly across the pages of history: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)
GUIDO BIBLE COLLEGE: PROGRAMS OF INSTRUCTION
The options and opportunities for ministry today are unique and unusual and endless. From food kitchens to programs of recovery for addicts, to providing shelters for the abused and hope for the homeless, meeting people at their “point of need” is what Jesus did years ago, and what we are training the “next generation of sowers” to do today. Most of our students are will serve in “bi-vocational” roles – working in regular full-time vocations to meet their financial needs, so they serve the Lord in and through local churches in various roles and responsibilities. Some students audit one or two classes, while others want to earn a certificate or degree. Others, however, choose to pursue a graduate degree. For this reason, the College offers four distinct, yet integrated, programs of instruction. Each program has specific goals to meet certain objectives for particular levels of ministry, and each course in each program prepares students for the next step in their education.
A LEGACY OF PRAYER AND POSSIBILITIES
The foundation of and future for Guido Ministries and Guido Bible College can be summarized in one simple statement: “Have faith, believe, love, pray, and work, and as the Lord has promised, ‘nothing shall be impossible for you!’” This “vision” guides the Board of Trustees who have as their mission the responsibility to protect, preserve, and promote the heritage and integrity of the ministries, and to be faithful stewards to “sow God’s Seeds.” We believe that our future is well grounded in our past, and that as we refine our priorities, develop our programs, and increase our dependence on God, we will continue to grow and meet each challenge effectively and efficiently.
To learn more about Guido Bible College, visit the official website.
THE FRUIT OF THE SEEDS
“As I sit here on my final day of religious broadcasting for Armed Forces Radio Network, I find myself overwhelmed…for all of the support and encouragement you have given to me. Your labor and products have blessed millions of troops and their families stranded on distant shores by their decision to serve their country.” (Director for Armed Forces Network)
“A shy young lady came to our church two weeks ago to ‘check us out.’ She said she was a drug user and cocaine abuser who had given her life to the Lord after watching Michael Guido ‘Seed from the Sower’ on TV. She has touched my heart and changed my life. (TV viewer)
I have received this devotional since 1990, moved or transferred I don’t know how many times and my Seeds continue to follow me. Again, I have transferred – so once more I’m sending a change of address. Seeds have been, is and always will be a part of my daily devotion. I would like this opportunity to thank all of Guido Ministries for answering God’s call on their lives and saying yes. Without your encouragement and service there would be fewer people in the Kingdom. Please know that just as you pray for us who are incarcerated, there are those of us who continually pray and keep you in our prayers. Thank you for following Phil 3:14 as Paul instructed with the knowledge that in the end you will hear what the man in the parable of the talents heard – “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Prisoner in Ocala, FL
I have been on your mailing list for a long time but I use it every morning in my devotionals. Also it gives me inspiration when writing people and talking to them about the Lord, and I hope helping them with their walk with Christ. I’m writing you today because you helped me so much while I was in prison. Helped me put my past life back together again and put Christ back in my life. You helped save my life and my family. I need your prayers again. I am in stage 5 kidney failure and go on dialysis. I need a kidney transplant so I need a kidney. Please pray for a kidney for me. I don’t live a perfect life but thanks to you I am still growing every day. Thank you so much for your prayers and your daily devotions. Friend in Auburn Hills, MI
You cannot imagine how people love Seeds of Hope. God is blessing that little devotional to all who receive it (including those in prison especially). I have a prayer request. I am 87 years old and going for right knee replacement. I feel sure with the Lord’s blessing that I will be “up and running” soon. I pray for you daily. Friend in Orlando, FL
I am elderly and read the Seeds daily and the Bible references. They have helped me a lot over the years. I am always humbled by Larry Guido’s words and spirit and others you include. Also enclosed is money for your prison ministry so someone in need can get a subscription also. Thank you for myself and countless others for your good work in the Lord. Friend in Calumet, MI
I just want to thank you for sending the Seeds each month not only to me but my husband in Liberty CI and my sister. The Seeds have spoken to each of us in a very special way. My prayer is for you to continue this outstanding outreach to so many people. We love you. Friend in Madison, FL
I am a Christian serving a sentence of life without parole in the Georgia Department of Corrections. A few years ago while still in the county jail, I used to receive your daily devotionals. I would like to start receiving them again please as well as any other resources you might be able to provide. I am indigent and have no means to offer you payment except through my prayers and the prayers of the men in this facility. Thank you in advance. May God bless you and your ministry and all of your good works. Prisoner in Trion, GA
I would like to pray for all you at Guido Ministries for the booklet and the caring you do for all the people in prison and the people around the world. Every day I would like to kill myself. I ask if this is the day I go then I read the Seeds of Hope and I’m still here. Thank you. Prisoner in Shelton, WA