A Powerful Outreach Tool: Christian Radio
I had the privilege of speaking with Rick Snavely, the CEO and President of the Family Life Radio Network and Ministry in Bath, New York in a telephone interview today. Speaking with humility, Rick described how God is using the radio station to reach people for Christ.
“The outreach that the Lord has allowed us to have is now…the potential audience is now 5-6 million,” he said when asked approximately how many listeners the radio station has locally.
Family Life is also at the cutting edge of the broadcasting world with their internet radio streams. “We invested heavily and continue to do so, in internet broadcasting and we have six other music streams that are broadcast 24/7 year round specifically targeting different genres of music,” he said.
Those genres include: calming praise and worship (Gentle Praise); contemporary worship (Adoration); pop, rock and urban (Resound); southern and country gospel (The Gospel Road); instrumental Christmas (A Peaceful Christmas) and contemporary Christmas (A Family Life Christmas).
These internet radio streams can be accessed, anywhere, any time, as long as there is an internet connection. That means if a listener has a smartphone, a computer, a tablet or an internet radio, they can tune in to quality Christian programing and music. He described the ministry as a “non-commercial entity” which means the programming is not interrupted by commercials.
What makes this such a powerful outreach tool is the fact that it’s portable. It can be used to reach those in prisons, schools or even the workplace. Mostly everyone is connected to the internet in some way. Even some people that cannot attend a traditional church service because of disabilities or logistics can tune in and listen online. While it’s not a replacement for church it can certainly be a comfort to those who are not physically able to be connected to a Christian community.
Internet based broadcasts, including the Family Life radio streams can be accessed by people all across the world, even in nations too dangerous for traditional missionaries to go.
“Christian radio is a tool that can used, along with a number of things that we’re involved with to share the gospel,” he said. It can be a very powerful witnessing tool.
He said that around Christmas last year, listeners tuned in to the internet streams from 120 nations. Family Life has listeners as far away as South Korea, and the ministry was contacted by a listener in that nation who found the Gentle Praise internet radio stream while looking for calming music for her newborn infant. It is almost impossible to measure the full impact of Christian broadcasts, especially those that are transmitted across the globe.
“We realize that everything that we’ve been blessed with has come from the Lord,” he said. “We seek to give him all the glory.”
God is truly using broadcast media right now to bring the message of the Gospel to a world that has become increasingly dark. “We’re here to share the gospel,” he said. “That is our primary focus.” What makes Family Life unique is that it originally started out in 1957 as a ministry. The radio station was started years later in 1983 as God opened doors in that area.
The entire story of the ministry and the radio network is chronicled in a book written by Rick Snavely’s father and the founder of Family Life, the late Dick Snavely. The book is called “An Ordinary Guy…With The Extraordinary God- The History of Family Life Ministries Network.”
In the words of Dick Snavely, “Never did we dream, nearly fifty years ago, that one day FLM (Family Life Ministries) would be a witness around the world through missions and radio internet broadcasting. God had a plan and he continues to work His plan when we allow Him to work in us and through us for His glory.”