I remember, as a family, huddling up to the radio in our living room, waiting for “Sailor Sam” to come on 90.1 WMBI in Chicago. I loved listening to these spirited adventures, whisking me to unknown worlds and simultaneously drawing my heart toward Jesus. As I got older, “Sailor Sam” was replaced with “Adventures in Odyssey” from Focus on the Family which then gave way to preaching and teaching from preachers like Chuck Swindoll on “Insight for Living” or Allistair Begg on “Truth for Life” or Tony Evans on “The Urban Alternative.”
I was tuned into Christian radio because I lived in a home that encouraged me to walk with Christ. My father converted to Christianity after watching the movie “A Time to Run,” produced by The Billy Graham Association, and after walking forward at a Billy Graham crusade, he raised us to know Jesus and took us to our Baptist church three times a week. It can’t be overstated how much my life has been formed by Christian media—the sermons, the TV specials, the radio shows, the books, the films, the digital content.
It can be easy for those of us in Christian communications to get caught up in the work and forget the message we are privileged to communicate. But the very reason we do what we do, the reason our ministries beam and send and broadcast the gospel across every possible medium, is because 2,000 years ago Jesus Christ walked out of that empty tomb.
We work in Christian media because we have a message to send, a message we believe the world desperately needs to hear. Without Easter, we are, to paraphrase the Apostle Paul, of all people to be pitied. There is no point to our broadcasts, our creative content, our films, our emails, our websites, our podcasts if there is no message to transmit.
And sometimes we forget who might be listening or reading or watching on the other side of our work. I especially think those who labor day after day operating radio stations, editing TV programs, creating graphics for shows, fundraising, or the myriad of other ways in which NRB members serve. Someone is on the other end of this work—someone you may not know, someone who hears the gospel and is transformed from death to life.
I didn’t become a Christian through Christian media, but I grew through Christian media. A boy huddled by his radio, a young man in college being shaped by Christian preaching, a parent listening to programs to help me raise children. Oh, and I married a wife who came back to Christ while watching “In Touch” while overseas in Germany.
So as we approach Easter, I want to encourage all of our members that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. We gather as an association to advocate free speech, to equip communicators and to encourage each other. But ultimately, we gather because we have a message to share, and we will not rest until the whole world hears the good news. Because of what happened this week over 2,000 years ago, because Jesus cried “It Is Finished,” and because three days later he shook off death and arose victoriously, we have a message worth sharing. This is the reason we do what we do.