I have had the privilege to serve our Lord in Ministry these past 36 years as of July 24, 2012. On that date so many years ago, I stood from the altar and proclaimed to the attendees at Georgia Camp in Butler, GA that God had called me to preach and to work in Christian Radio. It has been a wonderful 36 years, and I have had many experiences along the way….some really good, some not so good and some terrible experiences as well. The gamut of emotions runs from deep sorrow to ecstatic joy beyond words, and about everything in between. The truth is that I wouldn’t trade these 36 years in ministry for any other career on planet Earth. Although it has been heart-wrenching at times, the joy that my work brings makes it worth it all. I can honestly say that serving our Lord in His ministry has been and continues to be the most satisfying career I could have ever undertaken in my lifetime.
Through the years, I have shared some of my more harrowing tales with folks along the way, and I often get the same response. “Why don’t you write about those things?” I’ve been encouraged to write a book more than once, and I just might do that if the Lord allows me to. But, for now, I’ll blog about some of my experiences as a pastor, preacher, counselor, teacher, camp chairman, toilet scrubber and Christian Radio Broadcaster for the past 36 years.
I suppose the best place to start is at the beginning. The first job I ever held in Christian Radio was in the mid-1970’s at WJXN in Jackson, MS. The station was located near the Bible College where I was enrolled as a student. The radio station was owned by a gentleman who has been a lifelong friend all these years. His name is Rodger Earl Ownby, and I still communicate with him from time to time. At that time, the radio station had adopted “The Colonel, your Gospel Station” as its logo. It was one of the first Southern Gospel radio stations in the area. On my very first day there, I was introduced to another young man who has also become a life-long friend, Jeff Steele. Jeff went on to form a Gospel Group by his family name, The Steeles. He was single then, as was I. We had some really good times working at The Colonel. A person with a calling from God such as mine could not help but to fall in love with radio ministry working beside men like Jeff Steele and Rodger Earl Ownby. Their love for Christian broadcasting and their passion to tell others the Good News of Jesus Christ through radio broadcasting impacted me deeply during those days, and it has been an encouragement many times as I remember the days we had together so many years ago at The Colonel.
One interesting event that happened to me while on the air at The Colonel had to do with the newscast that ran at the top of every hour. In those days, we ran “Mutual News,” a news service company that is now defunct. Mutual News was not a Christian News service; there was no such thing in the mid 1970’s. And, it was a commercial news service meaning that they ran commercials embedded in the newscasts. As it happened, Mutual News had a run of Michelob beer advertising for a time. I came into work the first evening the Michelob spots ran on my shift to discover a large note on the window in front of the operator’s table that read, “DO NOT RUN MICHELOB SPOTS!!! READ THE SCHEDULE!!” We were instructed to “cover” the Michelob spots with something from our local advertising library and then rejoin the news after the commercial played silently in the background. One hour in particular, there was no Michelob spot scheduled to run during that newscast. I had left the operator’s console to go into the next room to rip the weather forecast off the teletype machine (now, there is a real antique!). While standing there reading over the weather forecast, the spot break inside the newscast started. I recognized the jingle. It was Michelob!! I darted back into the control room and dove over the operator’s chair to open the mic and interrupt the Michelob spot (that had already started playing) and did the “ad lib” job of my life. On the air, it sounded something like this, “(Michelob jingle plays) ‘Weekends were made for…’ ‘going to church!! There will be a revival at….’” I filled an entire 60 second commercial with church news….Whew! That was close. Actually, I had that mountain of inspiration from Jeff Steele, who had a similar experience during the day prior to me that evening. Thanks Jeff for saving my neck!!
The long hours at the radio station sometimes got monotonous, and tedious. But, it was always worth it when someone would call in to tell me that the song I’d just played had really been a blessing to them. It was that kind of response that kept me going all these years! There were many more, and I’ll share some of those in a future blog, the Lord willing.
Remember that you are loved with an everlasting love! And, I love you, too!
In Our Master’s Joyful Service,