There’s something powerful about the gospel. That sounds almost funny to say. Sure, we all know that Jesus is in the life-changing business. We wouldn’t be working in Christian radio without our own personal encounters.
We hear stories at every station fundraising event we work, but after a while, they sometimes feel and even sound the same. Life-changing stories are what we use as proof for other listeners, and we hope they make the phones ring, but they don’t move us personally.
Is it just me?
I like to react to stories in the right way with “wow” and “amazing,” but it had been a while since I felt the power of a life truly changed.
Then I met a man I’ll call Josh.
It happened for me this fall when Josh walked into the studio during day two of a pledge drive I was hosting. Part of our efforts was helping to provide Bibles to inmates through a well-known ministry partner. Josh was there to tell his story. He sat down at the mic.
He was so excited because he LOVES radio. You could just tell. We asked him to tell us his story, and as he spoke he began painting a picture of who he had been. A life full of crime and running hard landed him repeatedly in prison. He had been placed in solitary confinement and a prison chaplain had brought him a Bible.
It was the only thing he had to do, so he began to read… and redemption began.
Josh read, and read, and read some more. He decided there in that jail he wanted to know this Jesus for himself. And with that choice a new chapter in his story began. It was amazing to listen to Josh’s words. I found myself moved. I mean, really moved by it.
Josh pulled out his phone and showed me a picture of who he was. That’s when it sunk in and hit me. He was a different guy, altogether. Radically changed from the picture on his phone.
To see him then showed a skinhead covered in tats. Dark, hollow eyes and pride defined this guy standing in a prison cell. As I looked at the picture, I thought to myself, “This guy could have been in “Breaking Bad!” I looked Josh in the eye and asked, “This is you?” He said, “That was me.” As I processed the change I saw right before me, I could hear familiar words to a song running through my head….
“I wish you could see me, now. I wish I could show you how, I’m not who I was.”
I plan on taking Josh’s picture with me to future events. I will tape it up on the mic arm in front of me. When I get weary of giving the phone number, or launching the next challenge, or wondering if we are going to make the goal, I will pause to look at ‘before’ and ‘after’ Josh and be reminded and encouraged: THIS is why we do what we do in this world of Christian radio.
As you prepare individually and as a staff for your next fundraising event, ask God to show up with a story of a life changed by the gospel of Jesus. Share it. That is what we do.
Maybe the story to share is yours.
Never forget… never the same.
Jeff Scott has been a ShareMedia fundraising host and coach for over 15 years. He has been the station manager of WBGL in Champaign since 2005. Owned by New Life Media, WBGL has stations in Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, Chicagoland, Decatur, Charleston, St Louis, Carlinville, Effingham and Mt. Vernon; as well as Terre Haute, Indiana. New Life Media also operates WCIC in Illinois covering the better part of the state of Illinois. He and his wife Shari have 3 children. Jeff@wbgl.org