“Is this ABC radio? Because you don’t sound like ABC radio.” Jim, a retiree from Tasmania, went on to explain his confusion. Every morning after breakfast, he and his wife would sit on their recliners and listen to ABC Radio National.
This particular morning was no exception—turn it on, sit down, enjoy. The station as always was tuned to ABC Radio—no-one had changed the frequency for years. Except that today it didn’t sound like ABC Radio. There was someone talking about hope, a new life in Jesus, forgiveness for the past. And at the end, they announced a phone number offering a Discovery Bible study course. So Jim rang. To this day, no-one knows who re-tuned the radio.
There are parts of Australia with absolutely no Adventist presence—radio can get us there.
Starting out as a mission project of several churches in regional Victoria, the Faith FM radio network has expanded to more than 100 radio stations across the country, transmitting the gospel message 24/7 to a potential audience of more than 4 million people. Over the next few months, Faith FM will evolve into HopeChannel radio, allowing greater synergy between the Church’s various media ministries. Radio, TV, web and print will share content and work together to increase the impact and exposure of HopeChannel across the SPD.
Ben, a young mechanic in his early 20s, rang to say he enjoyed listening to the station at work and after doing so for three weeks, had been convicted to quit smoking. Another listener, a middle-aged sales representative from Adelaide, continues to ring regularly, requesting copies of programs aired.
And that’s only the beginning. Over the years dozens of people across the country have walked in to Adventist churches and become disciples of Jesus as a result of listening to Faith FM.
Rob and Natasha, who were both heavily involved with the occult, stumbled across a sermon about the Sabbath on Faith FM. The next day they attended an Adventist church and today they are active members of their local congregation.
Berren and Tamara, who both run successful businesses, listened to the radio for eight months. They closed their businesses on Sabbath, made significant lifestyle changes and finally walked in to an Adventist church one morning asking for baptism.
Gary stumbled across Faith FM while terminally ill in hospital. At his request, and several weeks before he lost his battle with cancer, he joined the Adventist Church by profession of faith.
A listener from Tasmania wrote, “Just to let you know that I listen to your station in my house 24/7 and in my car. It is so nice to hear teachings about the Bible . . . Thank you. Your radio programs are very powerful . . .”
Wheelchair-bound in a nursing home, Jan-Marie’s main source of company was the radio by her bedside. She stumbled across Faith FM, listened regularly and even started sending tithe to the local Adventist church long before she joined it by profession of faith.
Chi dropped her son off at work and turned the radio on while waiting for him. She heard a talk on prophecy, went home and studied further, before turning up to her local Adventist church. Today she is a baptised member and actively involved volunteering with Adventist Aviation around Australia.
These are not stories from ages past or distant lands but from our very own backyard, showcasing the tremendous power and influence of media to reach the unreachable. And just as exciting is the ability for Adventist churches to produce and broadcast local programs. Faith FM uses infrastructure allowing each individual radio station around the country to play content specific to its area.
Australian Union Conference president Pastor Chester Stanley has spearheaded the development of radio in Australia and sees exciting possibilities ahead.
“There are parts of Australia with absolutely no Adventist presence—radio can get us there,” he says. “It is also a wonderful opportunity for our young people to use their media skills to reach the community.”
Pastor Cristian Copaceanu is Radio Network manager for HopeChannel in the South Pacific. Proceeds from the August 15 AUC offering will go towards supporting the Faith FM ministry.