North America

Tuned to God’s Call

Former King’s Heralds singer Mark Ringwelski shares how he keeps moving where the Lord leads.

Betty Kossick, Lake Union Herald
Tuned to God’s Call

One of the most respected professions a human can possess is that of a physician. Other people depend on a physician’s knowledge often for their very life. It’s hard work and an output of great expense and sacrifice to attain that station in life.

When Mark Ringwelski, a physician at the time, received an invitation to audition for the beloved King’s Heralds quartet, it came as a total surprise. Yet he felt the Holy Spirit’s nudging to accept the audition, and in response, he changed careers.

Mark’s music career, however, is now expanding into an extended calling to enter the arena of solo vocal ministry. Herein is his story of a career change — and yet more change — with the hope of being an encouragement to others who may be reading his story of faith to answer God’s call.

The Beginning of the Journey

Mark returns to the time of his youth to explain his interest in music, giving credit to Violet Krueger, a member of the Merrill Seventh-day Adventist Church in Wisconsin, United States. She encouraged his interest in developing his voice, and he started singing for church and special programs. At Wisconsin Academy he sang in the choir, ensembles, “and in my first quartet,” all under Louise Larmon, another mentor he appreciates for her encouragement.

“I loved singing, but at that time I didn’t consider it a practical vocation choice,” he admits. Attending Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, he continued with the Men’s Chorale, the University Singers, and a touring gospel group, Preparation.

While in graduate studies, Mark and his wife, Susan, sang with a group who performed high church and classical music. He continued with solos and special music performances during medical school. Then he sang with a quartet in Michigan, His Way. When they moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, another quartet was formed at the Green Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church: 4 His Glory. In 2008, he began his participation in Doctors in Recital, an annual benefit concert, performing gospel music in an otherwise secular program.

That same year, the latter quartet sang along with The King’s Heralds when they were invited to the Green Bay church, marking Mark’s first interactions with the quartet. His path crossed again with The King’s Heralds in 2013. Five years later, the unexpected happened — a call to audition for them — and he accepted the invitation to join. Yet he adds, “I really didn’t aspire to sing professionally, either secular or religious. It wasn’t even on my bucket list.”

A Paradigm Shift

Then COVID-19 arrived with frustration and disruption for all, which ultimately led Mark and Susan to the decision to leave the quartet and go solo with His Call Ministries.

It seems that all aspects of Mark’s life have contributed to his present status as a solo vocalist, including his medical experience. “My work as a medical director for occupational health as well as having the opportunity to function as a physician leader, leading teams and being a member of the health system board, gave me good experience with presenting and interacting with people.” He also notes that powers of observation are developed in medical practice that, along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, instill in him a sense for song choices that will reach the hearts of an audience.

Mark stresses that music is a powerful medium in any genre. “It seems to be able to move through and past barriers in the listener. The message in gospel music, therefore, can bring comfort and healing, while the message of some other genres can be deceiving and destructive.” He says he wants the music he shares to bless and uplift those listening. “It is an honor to share God’s love through music by singing His praises.”

Mark is wise to consider the effect music provides to the hearers. We know from Bible accounts how David’s harp soothed the disturbed King Saul, and the teenage virgin Mary sang and danced before God for her privilege to be carrying God’s Son within her. And with the current scourge of COVID still raging throughout the world, all humans need to be comforted.

“One of our goals is in this ministry is to be able to partner with all types of outreach, to use music to help open hearts to better hear God’s Word and the message the Holy Spirit is speaking to them. To that end, knowing God is in charge of every aspect of this ministry — from the invitations to the dollars and cents of it — we’ve decided to make our ministry available at no cost to any outreach, large or small. If an individual, audience, or organization would like to contribute to our expenses, take up an offering, or donate to this ministry, we welcome it and will gladly put those funds to work to sing more. But if that doesn’t happen, we will continue our efforts to share God’s message through music.”

Both he and Susan say there was no defining moment when they determined how their ministry might occur; but rather, it’s been a culmination of many factors. All this background reveals, however, that the Holy Spirit was grooming him and Susan, the ministry coordinator, for his solo vocal ministry. He notes that they have always worked as a team, with her aptitudes as a writer/editor and endowed with multifaceted organizational skills.

Susan shares that Scripture and prayer are the glue that prepares them to plan each concert or venue, even if the audience is just one person. She notes, “Psalm 47:6 entreats us to sing praises; the psalms are replete with this admonition.” Another verse Susan urges attention to is 1 Timothy 1:12, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who hath enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” Thus, she says, “In the light of Scripture, we believe God uses the vehicle of music to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work.”

Reflecting back to Mark’s singing with Doctors in Recital in 2008, Susan also shares, “That specific opportunity — and decision — proved to be a turning point in Mark’s life to use his voice to only sing songs about God and His love. It was a specific moment in time, and I am humbled every time I remember it.”

An infectious enthusiasm fills almost every word that Mark and Susan utter about their ministry, and although he speaks these following words, she reiterates them as well, “It is an honor to share God’s love through music. I believe He blesses every one of us as we work for Him to serve others. The primary mission of our ministry is to help finish the Lord’s work in these last days of earth’s history.

“Susan and I believe that Jesus is coming very soon. The window of opportunity to spread the gospel is narrowing quickly and will soon close. It is our prayer that our music will lead others to a saving relationship with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

“We use as our commission the fitting verse in Mark 16:15: ‘He said unto them, “Go.”’ No mention of distance, destination, or specifically determined design, just, ‘Go.’ We choose to take the command literally, whenever He calls and wherever He leads.”

The original version of this story was posted on Lake Union Herald.

Betty Kossick, Lake Union Herald