‘The most compelling conversion story I’ve ever read’

Michael Shank's Muscle and a Shovelby Bradley Cobb, preacher, McCloud, Okla. church

(BNc) — “It’s the most compelling conversion story I’ve ever read, outside of the apostle Paul,” said one woman who read the book.

Before she had even finished reading this book which her preacher had loaned to her, she went online and ordered two copies for herself.

The book made its way to the elders of the congregation in McLoud, Okla., who all finished it within two days. The elders were so impressed that they got up on Wednesday night and suggested that every member needed to order at least one copy and read it.

The members ordered 60 copies, and within two weeks realized they didn’t order enough, and ordered another 60. And now, just a month later, they are ready to order still more.

What is it that has this congregation of 75 members so excited?

Muscle and a Shovel, a powerful new book by Michael Shank, a faithful member and part-time gospel preacher in Metropolis, Ill.


The book is an autobiographical account of Mike’s conversion from being a drinking, cussing denominationalist to becoming a true New Testament Christian. It reveals how his co-worker, Randall, a friendly, jovial Christian, would occasionally ask him specific questions designed to make Mike think. But Michael Shank fought hard against it. He searched for every excuse and accusation possible to throw back at Randal from “you think you’re the only ones going to heaven” to “we’re all going to heaven, just in different ways.” He went to preachers of every denomination imaginable to find ways to prove Randal wrong. And every time, he was met with Scripture that showed that the denominational preachers had it wrong.

“This book is a fantastic tool for evangelism, because non-Christians who read it are captivated by the writing style and will identify with Mike as he goes through his six-month long search for the truth,” says Bradley Cobb, preacher of the McLoud congregation.

“They get to share his doubts, his anger, and also share in his triumphs as he discovers the truth.” Many non-Christians have said that once they started reading it, they ‘couldn’t put it down,'” Bradley added.


However, the book is not just for evangelism. “It showed me just how easy it is to bring up the subject of the Bible and truth with someone,” said Jim Foshee, another member in McLoud. “I’ve read through it four times, with a highlighter and underlining and taking notes on how Randal was going about teaching Mike.”

For Christians, the book serves as an encouragement that you can do personal evangelism, and even gives a blueprint to go about it.


B.J. Clarke, of the Memphis School of Preaching, said after reading through part of the book, he was “very excited” to finish it and spread the word about the book to others.

Joe Dukes, another gospel preacher, said, “It is an excellent and moving story. I had not heard of this book before, but now I am recommending it to everyone!”

Chris Gardner, a preacher in Pennsylvania said, “I can see how it might be the missing piece of material that a lot of Christians have been searching for in order to really reach out to those in denominations and not look like a snob.”

Wayne Price, one of the elders of the McLoud congregation, had this to say, “If we take this book, read it, and share it with others, there is no reason we shouldn’t have at least 20 conversions in the next year, just from sharing this book.


Congregations in neighboring cities are also realizing this fact. One member from a neighboring congregation asked for 25 copies so she could pass them out as well.

The church at McLoud recently announced that Michael Shank would be coming to hold their gospel meeting, Sept. 23-26.

Michael Shank’s book can be ordered through his website. Discounts are available from the publisher for ordering multiple copies. It can also be purchased on Amazon.com. He can be contacted by email.

Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us

3 thoughts on “‘The most compelling conversion story I’ve ever read’

  1. We ordered this book after reading about it here. Ever since, my husband and I have been having to take turns reading. We are both having a hard time putting it down. We aren’t finished yet, but have ordered a couple more copies to give out. We’ll be ordering more in the coming months! LOVE this book!