radio stations, presenters and their programs, can easily become friends to our listeners. They are always there as part of a person’s daily routine of familiar voices. They serve to bring a measure of regularity to a person’s life. Warm and friendly voices provide daily nourishment and a sense of stability. They also build trust and hope for a better world.
Today we live in an age where there does not seem much cause for hope. If we are still young we may still hold youthful ambitions — for fame, fortune or success (whatever that may mean!). But at the root is the underlying feeling that there is not much to be optimistic about. Scientific achievement tries to put on a brave face as new breakthroughs in technology are discovered, but even these fall short of delivering solutions to long-term problems that face mankind — loneliness, guilt, fear, etc.
Terrorism still hangs over us as a cloud and many communities are split by conflict — racial, political or religious. Economically much of the world struggles. Unemployment is high and job prospects are not good. HIV/Aids still cripples many communities, destroying families and leaving children orphaned. Yet, in the midst of all this tragedy and despair, we have the distinct privilege of being broadcasters. We have a message of Hope!
The Good News of God's Kingdom is something that we can be excited about because it radiates hope. In the words of Jesus the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are healed, the deaf hear — and the Good News is preached to the poor. (Matthew 11: 5)
Christian broadcasters have been bringing messages of hope to many listeners over half a century. Among these are the millions who have lived, or continue to live, under repressive governments where they are denied many basic freedoms.
They also include many marginalised people — particularly the sick, the elderly and the poor. Because of their condition they have little to look forward to in life. We can bring them hope by telling of God's love for them and the new life we enjoy in Christ. But we can also move beyond the spiritual to offer practical suggestions. We can tell them how they can improve their lifestyle and cope with the daily hardships. If we are well-grounded in the community we may also be in a position to organise events in partnership with other agencies or local churches. We might be able to help them through advocacy (See Role 4)
Being a source of inspiration leads to companionship and friendship and a special relationship develops between listener and broadcaster. We can help our listeners to open up to something beyond themselves - the magic of God himself! The secular world has tried to switch off that possibility.
No one knew how successful FEBC's inspirational ministry to China was until the country emerged from behind the Bamboo Curtain in the late 1970s. The impact of that inspirational role of Christian radio, especially during the days of the Cultural Revolution, began to surface. Intuitively Chinese people knew that the material world around them was not enough.
Christian hope is not a vague notion but something that is deeply rooted in the trials and tribulations of everyday living. And it works!
Such hope is demonstrated by the self-giving love and sacrifice of individuals caring for one another in the face of adversity. It tells stories of courage and bravery, survival in the face of oppression and despair. It records accounts of heroes and those who have fought against the odds and won. It contains interviews with those who have come through hardship — or of those who face hardship daily with a brave face and a determination to win, whatever the cost. It demonstrates to listeners that we care. It also says why we care.
It tells the story of the Cross and the Suffering Christ who has gone that way before and has left us a memorable example.
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Last updated 19 Sept 2010
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