FORT MILL, S.C. -- The Rev. Jerry Falwell said yesterday the beleaguered PTL ministry still faces many troubles, including a financial crisis, a criminal grand jury investigation and extended bankruptcy proceedings.

"We are going through deep waters we have been in for four or five months," said Falwell, appearing on the "PTL Club" show by satellite from Lynchburg, Va. "We are hearing a lot of bad things. I listened to {PTL pastor} Sam Johnson as he talked about the grand jury. We have some trials yet ahead of us."

A 23-member federal grand jury was impaneled Monday in Charlotte, N.C., at the request of the Justice Department for what is expected to be a yearlong probe of fund raising and spending at the PTL ministry under its fallen founders, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker.

Authorities would not confirm the grand jury's purpose, but it was widely reported the panel would investigate the ministry.

The panel members, warned by Chief Judge Robert Potter not to talk about their work, are expected to focus on possible mail or wire fraud -- charges that the ministry raised millions of dollars for one cause but spent it for another.

The Rev. Sam Johnson, appearing at the PTL camp meeting Monday night, said the grand jury investigation drags ministry supporters through the "murk and mire."

"What a sad day it is for those who have believed so dearly in this ministry," said Johnson, pastor of PTL's Heritage Church. "We have believed in its founder and his wife. And now in some ways we are besmirched."

But money, not reputation, was Falwell's concern yesterday, when he once again pleaded for viewers to give to meet the $4.5 million monthly budget.

"There are 13 days left in this month," said Falwell. "What I frankly need to tell you, we don't have any options or alternatives. Send the largest gift you can.