“Don’t ever downplay what God can do through his Word. It’s dynamite, pure dynamite.”
When asked about lessons he has learned in his ministry, Mark Cares, founder of Truth in Love Ministry, says the biggest thing that has been cemented in his mind is to rely on the power of the Word. “I’ve seen the amazing way God changes Christians to witness and the amazing way he works on Mormons’ hearts,” he says. “God’s Word is so powerful.”
On Truth in Love Ministry’s 15th anniversary, Cares is reflecting on the development of a ministry that now touches more than 1 million people every month through its social media and other platforms. And it started with a man who knew nothing about Mormonism.
When Cares took a call to Messiah, Nampa, Idaho, in 1981, he didn’t even know there were Mormons in the area—until he and his congregation started reaching out in the neighborhood. “We hit a lot of Mormons,” he says. “We thought, Hey, what are we going to do here?”
Cares says he started researching. “I read all the books. I tried all the methods. Almost every technique was basically debating Mormonism,” he says. But Cares saw that this was not working.
He took a sabbatical in the late 1980s and developed a new method for reaching Mormons with the truth of God’s Word. It resulted in his release of a book, Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons, in 1993, which was declared one of the most influential books of the year by the then biggest Christian radio talk show in the nation.
“The principles are still our basic principles,” says Cares. “Don’t debate Mormonism, but witness Christ.”
Recognizing that Mormons are the victims and not the enemies and learning how to speak their language—“I think I developed the term, Mormonese,” says Cares, laughing—are two of the main tenets espoused by the book.
Cares continued serving his congregation while developing this new ministry, until in 2005, he and his congregation started the non-profit, WELS-affiliated ministry with two goals: Proclaim Christ to Mormons and empower Christians to witness.
Since then, Truth in Love Ministry has trained thousands of Christians to witness—either in door-to-door “boot camps” held in highly-populated Mormon cities or right in their own homes to the Mormon missionaries who knock on their doors.
The Lord has blessed the ministry, with Christian churches and ministries all over the world using its materials. “I think we’ve had an impact in wider Christianity, at least in this little niche of reaching out,” says Cares.
He continues, “I think one of the hardest things for all of us is we don’t know what is going to happen [after we witness]. It’s hard to do follow up from a distance.” That’s why all the training emphasizes John chapter 4, which highlights the joy of sowing. “You throw out the seed, and you say, ‘Okay, Lord, take it from here.’ ”
Cares retired as president of Truth in Love Ministry this fall but continues to serve there part time.
“My ministry was like having front-row seats at an NBA basketball game and getting to see all the dunks up close,” says Cares. “It’s about watching God do amazing things, and I got the front-row seat.”
Volume 107, Number 12
Issue: December 2020
- WELS news briefs: June 2023 - 2023/05/31
- WELS podcasts: Small Talk - 2023/05/31
- District news: June 2023 - 2023/05/31