Saturday, January 17, 2009

Radio Ministry III

NOTICE: The first and second parts of this title have already been posted, and may be seen by “scrolling down” the “elevator” on the right side of your screen, using your “mouse” and “left-clicking/holding” on the elevator.

Please read them first, in order, so to properly understand this one. Thanks.

Though this post could properly be called, simply, WEEC, it IS a continuation of my ministry - the THIRD part of this title iteration, actually. Ya gotta be real brave, or something, to have followed this far! Thanks.

Arriving in Springfield OH in March of 1965, Jean, Jim, John, Martha and I had the following participation:

We bought a house on Keene Avenue.
Jean was the Matron of the home.
Jim was to be graduated from Lane Technical High School in Chicago the following June.
John was a Sophomore in Northeastern High School, to be graduated in 1967.
Martha was a Seventh Grader at Northridge Schools, to be graduated from Northeastern High School in 1972.
I started the first day of a 34 year ministry in charge of WEEC.

At an early Board Meeting after my arrival, my position of General Manager was confirmed, and I was elected Secretary of the Board as well.

The early days of the station were, as are most radio stations in the US, commercially underwritten. They sold “commercials”. They charged broadcasters. They had a Sales Staff.

A year or so before I arrived, the Board saw that sales were not sufficient to keep the station “afloat”. They concluded that advertisers were not sure that there would be enough listeners to a solely Christian station to warrant their support. So, by an act of “faith” - one of many - they decided to go entirely commercial free, and then depend on listeners, prompted by God, for the station’s support. That’s where they were when I arrived.

Sometime in the summer of 1965 our financial situation became rather untenable - not totally so, but we didn’t know where we would get the money to pay the staff the next pay day. They were already several weeks behind in their pay when I arrived, and I worked on that by paying them one day earlier each week, than we did the previous one.

But this time, we were REALLY broke! Couldn’t pay the staff.

As usual, Paul Pontis and I went to lunch together. We came back to his office (where the WEEC offices were, temporarily), and sitting in his 1965 Chrysler in the parking lot of his business, we frankly decided that WEEC could not go on, and that we must, certainly, “close the doors”.

We had a prayer meeting right there in the car, and we both said, independently, that we WOULD shut the doors, unless God miraculously intervened. We felt that the station was God’s - not ours - and that we had no right to “keep it afloat” on our own, without His approval. The “approval” being, provision for our needs.

I wish I could say that some rich listener/donor suddenly called to say he would give us thousands of dollars, but that didn’t happen. We saw no evidence of a SUDDEN influx of funds, BUT, we did meet that week’s payroll, and the next, and the next - one day earlier each week, until we were “caught up”. God DID provide, and we saw no need to “embarrass” Him by “closing shop”.

Praise the Lord!

The contributions to the ministry continued, and, gradually increased. However, expenses increased also, and we were always just barely “breaking even” - sometimes short of that.

Later that summer, retired IRS Agent Lou Holder, himself a relatively new “believer”, indicated an interest in WEEC. The Auditor we had got too busy to continue, so Lou volunteered to take over that responsibility.

I first met Mel Johnson in Springfield, prior to our moving to Chicago. He had been the roommate of our pastor while at Moody, and the pastor invited him to a series of meetings at our church.

Then, in Chicago, I got to know him better, while he was Director of Chicagoland Youth for Christ. While I was Minister of Christian Education at our church there, Mel came for youth meetings. (I just remembered the title of one of Mel’s workshops - “The Care and Feeding of Parents”) In addition, he was also a regular speaker at our Denomination’s summer camp - Camp Hickory, in Round Lake, IL.

Prior to my leaving Moody to join WEEC, Mel had moved to Minneapolis MN to take over that YFC Program. At the same time, Mel was the host of the national program TIPS FOR TEENS, starting at WMBI, then moving to KTIS in Minneapolis - the anchor station of Northwestern College and Radio - for him, now home base.

My knowledge of Mel’s experience in the ministry, and in broadcasting on several Christian stations in the nation, prompted me to recommend him and Lou Holder - as members of our Board.

In our discussions on the Board about the WEEC finances, Mel suggested that we hold an annual SHARATHON, to raise “Faith Promises” for our annual budget.

For some reason, pride maybe, I just couldn’t agree to that. I preferred letting the listeners decide on their own how to contribute to WEEC, rather than as a suggestion by us.

Then, in the fall of 1973, I believe, I reported that our finances were in a $40,000 deficit. What to do?

Mel Johnson - “Have a one day SHARATHON, to ask the listeners on the air, to provide Faith Promises for the $40,000, in the month of December.”

I acquiesced.

Without months of preparation required in subsequent years, we told the listeners about it. We set aside one whole day’s broadcasts, for appeals to the listeners to give $40,000 above what they would normally do.

By the end of that day in December, I had to hang my head in shame for “opposing” the concept of using a SHARATHON, since the listeners had promised MORE than the needed $40,000. In fact, by the end of December, we had received $69,000!

I was then convinced that the concept was sound, and it has been used every year since.


“But my God shall supply all of your need, according to His Riches in Glory, by Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:19

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mike, you sure brought back a bunch of memories of our years with you at WEEC. WOW! Those were exciting times were'nt they - the $69,000 coming in in December. Mel & Lou were terrific brothers in Christ.

I don't know why, but I always felt intimidated by the board. But Karen and I sure did appreciate all the board did to keep the staff paid and happy. The Lord was (and still is) so good! Karen and I have the longest unbroken association with WEEC. Keith and Lois Jean Britton were at WEEC when we came in August of 1963, but they returned to Brazil with YFC shortly after we came.

Anyway, you did my heart good with your history. How do you remember all those facts?? WOW! Sure got me beat. Keep it up - we're thouroughly enjoying the blog and Blogger! Blessings!

Ken Anderson - I check in Anonomous because I can't remember my password and no way to call it up.)