METROPOLIS, Ill. (BNC) — Michael J. Shank, author of the popular book Muscle and a Shovel, wrote Aug. 19 on his Facebook page that police recommended he cancel his speaking engagements while they investigate a credible death threat.

The text of his notice is published in full below.

You may or may not know that I received a death threat on Monday afternoon, August 17th. It was a credible threat which is now under police investigation. The police agencies we’re working with, along with my attorney, has recommended that I cancel all pending speaking engagements, due to the engagements being posted on our website and which are public information.

Brethren, I have no concern for myself, for I am ready to meet our Lord, as Paul said that for him to live is Christ and to die is gain! However, I also cannot allow pride, ego, or personal motives to put the lives of others in danger.

While I am saddened, we believe it to be wise to cancel our upcoming speaking events, which are:

  • 9/6: Judsonia, Arkansas
  • 9/20: Mars Hill, Arkansas
  • 10/4: Faith Villiage, Witchita Falls, TX
  • 10/18: Oppelo, Arkansas
  • 10/25: Southside, Grand Rapids, MI
  • 11/15: Sunrise, Parkersburg, WV
  • 11/29: Men’s Retreat, Buford, GA
  • 12/13: Wilberton, Wilburton, OK
  • 1/17/16: Sebring Parkway, Sebring, FL

You and I understand that the Adversary may have won this small battle, the Lord will not allow him to win the war.

Muscle and a Shovel continues to produce converts by the Hand and Grace of God! Over 32,000 conversions to Jesus Christ to date. When Shovels Break has helped over 2,000 souls be restored to the faith and the blood-bought church — glory to God!

Our sincere prayer is that you will continue to use and promote these two humble works so that the work might continue and that we might be sustained.

The entire Shank family prays for your love and understanding during this strange and trying time, and may the Lord continue to bless you and your works for Him there!



  1. I’d like to qualify my “like” in that I do not “like” what happened to Michael, but I do “like” his attitude about it. Satan may win some battles, but the contest belongs to the Lord and always will!

  2. What a great attitude Mike has during a time of persecution. Mike’s writings are turning the world upside down and the adversary doesn’t like it. This just makes me want to get a few 1000 copies and start handing them out on the street corner.

  3. Michael, you and your family are in my prayers. I know it may not be much comfort but my wife & I have had 4 death threats against us in the last 7 years from punk drug dealers our prodigal daughter has been associated with and who we had arrested. All were idle threats. Prayerfully your situation will also be such. We will keep you in our hearts & prayers until this is resolved.

  4. Michael. We are very sorry to hear about this. May God Almighty who sees the unseen things of this world bless you and your family and also put a stop to this terrible threat. We will pray for you. 32,000 souls brought to Christ! That is a staggering number in the US and probably an all time record for the churches of Christ. Wow. There is and will never be a greater accomplishment for our lord and savior and like you always say, to God goes the glory.

  5. 32,000 conversions?!?

    Why is this not national news? Does that mean that the church of Christ is growing in numbers?

    1. I agree, it definitely should be national news. This is a historic number and if checked for accuracy, it might be an all time record. Factored in, I’m not sure if this would mean the churches of Christ are gaining in numbers when you consider negative numbers. However, it is possible depending on how many years this covers.

  6. Even as an apostate Lutheran, I am saddened that you and your family have had to suffer at the hands of such sinful ignorance. I will pray that you and your family receive a rich measure of peace and security, looking forward to the hope we all have in Christ our Savior. A mighty fortress is our God indeed!

    1. If we share our faith rather than bury it, we will be persecuted…..”everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” Let us “contend earnestly for the faith” and be ready always to give an answer” knowing that we have “not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin.”