Mark Hawkins is a business owner, minster of music, choir director, worship leader, soloist, church musician, deacon, Sunday school teacher, music teacher, lay minister, singer-songwriter of contemporary Christian / Southern Gospel music.
“Songwriting is a journey that is filled with many inspiring, encouraging,rewarding and discouraging experiences.
As a writer, you have the honor of not only sharing your life experiences, but also writing a message from God for the body of Christ. It’s not for the faint of heart. It requires men and women of vision, faithfulness and sometimes just sheer willpower to finish the course that the Lord has laid out for you”. – Mark Hawkins
Mark Hawkins and Jason Ellsworth from Kansas City, Mo., were runners-up in the 2008 Singing News Songwriter’s Search. The contest was comprised of hundreds of entries from non-professional songwriters (defined as never having had an original song on the Top 80 chart and who are not currently under an exclusive publishing contract), in the categories of Southern, Country, and Bluegrass gospel. Mark and Jason wrote the song “Mountain-Moving God,” the only co-written song in the top five. Mark, who formerly served for 12 years as a minister of music, said that the song “was inspired by my desire to paint a portrait of a God filled with awesome power and deliverance.” Jason-who grew up in gospel music-gave the song its progressive feel, along with adding another verse, a bridge and the melody.
I would like to share a little personal information. I accepted Jesus as my personal savior at the age of 16 and have been blessed to serve the lord as a minister of music, choir director, worship leader, soloist, church musician ( I play piano, organ and bass guitar), deacon, Sunday school teacher, music teacher and lay minister. I have just completed developing a one day songwriting seminar that I hope to start sharing in churches in 2012. I have songs cut by various groups and artists across the US and one artist in South Korea.
The Lord has opened the door for my songs to be used by ministries in places all over the world like South Africa, India and Jerusalem. In the last few months, six songs that I have co written have been signed with Gaither Publishing.
In all this I say TO GOD BE THE GLORY for all the good things he has done in my life. There is nothing I could have done without the Lord in my life. I have been also blessed by being mentored by some outstanding writers and have co-written with some very special peoples that I can all call friends.
In closing I would like to share what I call my songwriter’s prayer “Lord, take my songs to places I may never go and touch people I may never see on this earth.”
God Bless You ON YOUR SONGWRITER’S JOURNEY
Are We Holding Back The Hand Of God?
There is no doubt that times are tough for most of us. Long-term
successful ministries and businesses are shutting down. I think, as a nation
and as the body of Christ, we are reaping a harvest for some of the bad
seeds we have sown. You may not agree with all I have to say and you
may become angry with me, you may even say “This is not me” and you
may be right. But I invite you to take a moment to consider what I have to
share, and pray about it before you react.
There are many examples of the hand of God delivering his children out of
bondage, slavery and hard times, so I don’t doubt His ability and power.
I’ve been involved with the ministry most of my life and I’ve witnessed God bless many times. I’ve been
a Minster of music, choir director, worship leader, church musician, deacon, soloist and songwriter. I’ve
been blessed by the Lord and I’ve seen Him move but I have also seen the power of the Gospel
diminished by two things that I want to share with you in this poignant article.
I believe We Are Holding Back the Hand of God via two particular ways, dishonesty and ungratefulness.
Stay with me, now.
a) Many artists have seen large portions of their love-offerings disappear out of the offering plate. I used
to travel with a music group; I’ve experienced the thievery of church staff that collected the offering on
behalf of the artist and kept some for the church. There are many hardworking artists that sacrifice much
to minister, only to see some of the money be stolen from them. It’s inexcusable and dishonest!
b) Dishonesty also happens via nonpayment of royalties to songwriters. Would anyone go into a
Wal-Mart and expect to take items without paying for them? If you do you are a thief and if you get
caught you will most likely be arrested. Many record labels and artists point their fingers at each other
and say the other is responsible for paying the royalties, but it is wrong either way. Too many artists
think and proclaim they are “serving in ministry” and thus shouldn’t have to pay what they owe, or they
do not have enough money to pay the royalties. I could go along with that if they were giving their CDs
away for free but I know that seldom happens. Most singers are generating money via concert
performances and CD sales of writers’ songs, thus they do have the money to pay royalties due.
Not paying is unrighteous and dishonest…
a) Although I’ve been blessed in many ways and would not trade my ministry for anything; as minister of
music I spent countless hours teaching young people and others only to see some of the ones I helped the
most betray me the worst. I’ve been lied about and lied to. These things should not be, they are
unrighteous and reveal an ungrateful heart.
b) I’ve seen Mickey and Rainie Mixon pour their heart and money into the ministry of Gospel
Songwriter and the songwriters. Here is a very faithful husband and wife team giving their best for the
Lord. Then they have to deal with the ungratefulness, often painful, distasteful and uncalled for reactions
when Mickey tries to give the writer some constructive and beneficial ideas or ask for some financial
help with the ministry. What a shame. For the most part these are actions of a few and most have been
grateful for all Brother Mickey and his wife have done, but still, the ungratefulness is discouraging to say
One thing I’ve learned in leadership is if good people do not speak out about what’s wrong they end up
sharing some of the responsibility for what’s wrong. So, I’m speaking out.
In love, I implore us all, please, let us cleanse ourselves from dishonesty and ungratefulness so we won’t
hold back the hand of God. God knows we need His hand of blessing now more than ever before.
In the life of every Christian songwriter there are, what I call, Hallelujah Moments. These are moments in
their lives that have been orchestrated by the heavenly architect our Lord, Jesus Christ. I would like to list
just a few of these moments. I’m sure you could add a few more of your own.
1) The moment you first felt the anointing or call on your life to write.
2) When you completed your first song.
3) When you first held a CD in your hand that contained one of your songs.
4) The first time you heard one of your songs sung in public.
5) The first time you sign a publishing contract.
6) That moment when someone shares how your song touched their life.
7) The first time you receive a royalty check.
I would like to share two Hallelujah Moments that recently happened in my life because of the Lord and the
ministry of GospelSongwriter.Com.
I didn’t think a lot about the demo I sent to Allen Hester. It was one of many I submitted that week. It had a
U.S. PO Box number on it. Little did I know, Brother Hester lives in South Korea and ministers all over
South East Asia. What a blessing to get an artist from overseas to record my song. Also, later he sent me a
YouTube video of him singing my song Mountain Moving God in a church in the Philippines. My co-writer
Jason Ellsworth and I were so blessed to know our song is touching the nations.
Your next Hallelujah Moment is just about here for you, if you trust in the Lord and keep pitching.