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The RPs of Broadcast Ministry

I've been in broadcast ministry for over 30 years. Recently, I was involved in consulting a radio station in a foreign country and one of things we addressed was what I call the RPs of broadcast ministry. Interested in using media in your ministry? Then pay attention. You need four things, and here they are.

The Right Purpose

This is more than just sharing the Gospel. The right purpose may refer to a need that people have. In Mongolia the need was freedom. We used their perceived need for freedom as a platform to launch the TV audience into spiritual freedom. But there were other needs too.

Research revealed that Mongolian Christians were biblically illiterate—in the 95 percentile range. Our purpose became audience familiarity with the Bible's story. Research revealed that at least half of Mongolian Christians were syncretists. So we developed programming that helped people understand the exclusivity of Jesus. Research revealed that most Mongolians didn't understand Christian ethics or objective morality. So we produced programs that taught Christian ethics.

It's one thing to say your purpose is to share the Gospel. But that doesn't give you a road map to your destination. By research we discovered the most important needs, then we catered everything we did to meet those needs, and thus showed the practical need for the Gospel.

The Right People

This is often forgotten in Christian programming. Yet, look at secular programming all around you. Personality-centric programming works and it works big. People identify with people. Why do some churches grow to huge sizes? Because the person behind the pulpit is a dynamic speaker. How many mega-churches have you seen with a boring speaker in the pulpit? The same is true in broadcasting. You need the right person as the host or star of your program. The content may be great, but great content needs a great communicator. Consider also that a "star" of the program effectively gives the viewer a feeling of relationship. What is the basis of relationship? Connection. The right person connects emotionally with his or her audience.

The Right Programming

Let's say it simply. You need content that people identify with emotionally. Address felt needs, big needs. It can be theological. It can be practical, it can be social. But most of all, it must be emotional. Programming that hits people emotionally is programming that carries people thoroughly and changes lives dynamically.

The Right Response

Okay, you've got an audience, you've got them engaged. But what are you going to do with them? What do you want them to do? Media is not an end to itself. Media is an 8-lane superhighway that takes your purpose, people, and programming to a certain place. Where do they get off? Facebook? Websites? Email? Letters? Church? The Bible? What do you want them to do?

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