Testimony of Pastor Malcolm Wild—Part 2

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He Has Done Great Things for Me: Testimony of Pastor Malcolm Wild—Part 2

Testimony by Malcolm Wild, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Merritt Island, FL
Photos courtesy of Malcolm Wild and CC Merritt Island

This is Part 2 of the three-part testimony of Senior Pastor Malcolm Wild of CC Merritt Island, FL. He has been pastor of the church for 36 years, supported by his wife Carol; it was the first Calvary Chapel in Florida. In this installment, Malcolm shares how he grew in his faith and in ministry after he was saved. To read Part 1, click here.

Jesus gave us new life—and what a life it is! Where do people get the idea that the Christian life is dull? My life has been so full of blessing and adventure. I have seen the evidence of a great and mighty God at work. Truly, I can say from Luke 1:49, “For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.”

We often hear what great things people claim to have done for God, but how much more has He done for us! Oh, Pastor, what wonderful things you have done!”—No, it's what He has done through us and for us and in us and with us. We have had the privilege to share in what He is doing. That's how I look upon my life. It is a privilege to serve the Lord.

 

Growing in Faith

As I look back, I see it was all the Lord. He wonderfully led us into ministry. I began to share my faith at the factory where I worked in Nottinghamshire, England. I thought, “All I have to do is tell people.” I fully expected that everyone I told would receive the Truth. After all, I had lived 22 years without hearing the real Gospel until I met Howard Davies, who shared it with me. I thought that all they needed to do was hear it, and they too would want to get saved. I figured we were going to need a bus to bring them all to church! So I started telling everybody … and nobody cared. That was a bit of a shock to me.

But I did feel the call of God even though it was not always clear what that was. I was confused about what God wanted me to do. I got so frustrated once that I spun a globe and said to the Lord, “OK, God, wherever my finger lands, this is where You are sending me.” My finger landed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! This proved to be prophetic (and a little comical) as I have crossed the Atlantic many times since then, traveling between England and America. I guess you could say that I have flown over God’s perfect will for my life!

All the time, though, God was working right before my eyes, and I didn’t realize it.

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With influences like Simon & Garfunkel and The Beatles, Malcolm & Alwyn released their first album, Fool's Wisdom, in 1973. This album helped establish them among the pioneers in contemporary Christian music.

A Ministry of Music

Pastor George Yeomans, the man who led me to Christ, was also an evangelist who preached at different events. He heard that my best friend Alwyn and I were musicians and asked us to go with him to sing and give our testimony. But we didn’t know what to sing—we didn’t know any Christian songs. Remember, this was before what we now know as contemporary Christian music. So George invited us to his house, and he played his vinyl records of old gospel quartets and asked, “Is this anything like what you play?”

“No,” we would answer, not wanting to hurt his feelings, but also not sure how this was going to work out. After a few attempts of playing various songs, he asked us what our music was like. So Alwyn got his guitar, and we sang Simon & Garfunkel’s song, “The Sound of Silence.” We finished the song and George burst out, “Sing that!”

“What!?” We were astonished.

“Yes, sing that, give your testimony, and I’ll preach,” he said.

Now, I would never allow anybody to do anything like that, but George did. He was so gracious. So that’s what we did. We would sing “The Sound of Silence” and maybe “We Shall Overcome”; then George would preach, and people would get saved!

God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

This was the Scripture that inspired us to write the song, “Fool’s Wisdom.” (Alwyn and I had decided that we could not continue singing “The Sound of Silence.”) We began writing our own songs. Now it would take too long for me to tell you of all those things the Lord did for me during this period of my life—things that even today I still look back on with wonder. With no illusions of grandeur, my friend Alwyn and I did that which was natural to us. We sang and told of the great things God had done for us, and He did the rest. He opened the doors. He made the way for us to minister through our music, and what a way it was!

It didn’t start all that well, though. Pastor George sowed into our lives so much that first year; he would come every night, sharing with us and discipling us. He got invited to preach at an Assemblies of God conference for about 6,000 people—he asked us to go sing there believing it would be a great opportunity for us. We went but could quickly sense that we were not what the people were expecting. It was definitely more of a gospel-quartet crowd. We watched as the other group (which was, in fact, a quartet!) was introduced with great fanfare. Their music was received with tremendous enthusiasm and shouts of “Glory!”

Now, when it was our turn to go up, we shared our songs and afterward the room was silent. Not a peep. Not even an “Amen!” Nothing. Never before have 6,000 Pentecostals sat so quiet! Throughout the weeklong conference, though, people did come up to us to say they liked our music.

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“I got myself some wisdom, from a leather backed book. I got myself a Saviour when I took a second look…” The title song on Malcolm & Alwyn’s first record, Fool's Wisdom, would go on to become a classic in early “Jesus music.”

Back then, Alwyn and I thought we were alone. We thought we were the only “Jesus freaks” that were writing and singing our own songs about Jesus. We looked different and sounded different. But then we found out that God was doing something totally different! He was saving other musicians and creative people like us in America and even in England. This would become known as The Jesus Revolution or The Jesus Movement.

We later got invited to sing at a Musical Gospel Outreach (MGO) which would invite local musicians to play at their events. Afterwards, they invited us to come to a retreat and sing and meet with them, but we weren’t really interested. We were amazed at the work God was doing in a group called the Children of God that lived in communes in America. Alwyn really wanted to go and work with them and live in these communes. Musical Gospel Outreach invited us to an event, and when we found out that Children of God were involved, we went hoping for an opportunity to meet them. We arrived anxious to find them, only to be told that they had left the day before. (That was God protecting us because they turned out to be a cult.) We went ahead and sang at the concert and afterwards were told that MGO wanted to sponsor us, record an album with us, and put us in full-time ministry. This was the unexpected plan of God.

We started singing in coffee houses, in concerts at Oxford University, Cambridge University, and the Royal Albert Hall. We played with Cliff Richard, toured with Larry Norman, did events with Billy Graham. We were then asked to tour America, and for the first time I flew on an airplane (a TWA-747) with Alwyn and Christian musician Randy Stonehill, headed to Los Angeles.

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Launching a “British Invasion” of their own, Malcolm (left) and Alwyn in the 1970s.

Touring in America

Life was much different. In Hollywood, there was a fire near our hotel, and we heard sirens blaring all night. Our first tour was on a not-so-glamorous Greyhound bus. We travelled for nine hours, then we would perform, and get back on the bus for another nine hours. We did this for six weeks while being away from our families. One bus trip was supposed to last 36 hours, and I did not think I would survive it.

Oh, but God blessed us. He allowed us to reap an abundant harvest in those days of ministry. We lived near San Diego for six months with our families during the height of the Jesus Movement, and this is where we first met people of Calvary Chapel. Alwyn and I were asked to play our music there one night. As we waited to go on, we stood at the side listening to the congregation singing acapella. I had never heard worship like it. It was wonderful.

Life was not without its trials though. One such time was in a lonely hotel room in Monterey, CA. My friends were out, and I was feeling frustrated as people were becoming more interested in our albums, asking about our instruments, as we were becoming more popular. I felt called to be an evangelist but as our concerts were getting bigger, it was more difficult to lead people to the Lord. I cried out to Him, and He gave me this Scripture:

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5

What really came across to me at that time was to do the work of an evangelist and fulfill my ministry. God was spelling out my life’s call. Sometime after this, my world fell apart. But it was all part of God’s greater plan.

ccmerrittisland.org

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Malcolm (left) and Alwyn reunited for a Monday night concert at the 2013 Southeast Calvary Chapel Pastors’ Conference.

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine (CCM). All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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