By Michael Engelbrecht - Faith FM Radio Coordinator
A lot of exciting things have continued to unfold across the Faith FM network these past few months. We praise God for His leading and the opportunities He gives us to reach people through radio in their cars and in the privacy of their homes.
The steady roll-out of stations in places like Port Macquarie, Lake Catheye, Wauchope, Armidale, Glenn Innes, Mackay, and Eidsvold over the past three months has been encouraging to see. This would not have been possible without strong partnerships at all levels – from local church members all the way to the SPD – whose seed-funding is enabling a radio communications engineer to support Adventist radio projects in Australia and the South Pacific.
Recently Paul Holton (who coordinates radio installations and maintenance from his home in Queensland) helped the Ballina NSW church to re-install their antenna and to launch Faith FM in their community.
We love hearing the stories you share with us – as people are coming along to Adventist churches after growing spiritually through the biblical teachings they hear presented on Faith FM – like the excited Sunday-morning phone-call I received from Barry Whelan from King Island a few weeks ago – when he had just met a man who wants to connect with the Adventist church after listening to Faith FM in the privacy of his home for the past 5 years.
There is nothing as exciting as first-hand experiences, and you can imagine my joy when welcoming a visitor two Sabbaths ago at my own local church, when she shared how she loved the Bible teachings she has been hearing on Faith FM and decided to visit us to learn more about Seventh-day Adventists!
In April we were delighted to host a visit from Adventist World Radio’s leadership team to Australia. They appreciated the opportunity to see first-hand what God is doing through Faith FM, and we appreciated the opportunity to learn effective radio ministry strategies they have seen in action around the world. AWR’s VP for Finance, Kent Sharpe was with us for a week, and met with many of our team members and with a few of our listeners. Kent shared some encouraging mission stories and outreach initiatives at the South Australian big camp, and has expressed a strong desire and commitment to partner with Faith FM here in Australia.
Probably the most exciting prospect from this partnership is an initiative to establish a metropolitan-wide radio presence on DAB+ digital radio in one of our larger capital cities. This will be closely tied to public evangelism initiatives – as part of AWR’s “Broadcast to Baptism” strategy that is proving so effective in other parts of the world. We are currently dialoguing with DAB+ licence owners who may be interested in sub-leasing one of their digital channels, and are working to support interested conferences in these capital cities.
As we start to be more intentional about connecting Faith FM radio presenters with on-the-ground public evangelism presenters, it has been encouraging to see the success that our Adelaide “Bible Study” team achieved in a recent “meet the presenters” initiative along similar lines. Just this morning Brenton Wilkinson reported that one of our Faith FM listeners who attended their first “meet the presenters” event is now planning to attending this weekend’s SA Women’s Ministry event (although she has not yet visited an Adventist church). Based on the strength of the first event our Adelaide presenters are already planning a second “meet the presenters” event in a few weeks’ time.
We recently had the privilege of working with the Victorian Conference in promoting, then livestreaming on radio the Melbourne-wide “Revelation Today” prophecy outreach programs with John Bradshaw and Eric Flickinger.
A lady who attended one of the regional public evangelism sites in Drouin (and who is now studying for baptism) shared the impact that Faith FM had in nurturing her spiritual journey before accepting the invitation to attend the “Revelation Today” prophecy seminar.
At an Industry Forum in Sydney earlier this month, where the Australian Communication and Media Authority invited industry feedback regarding the future of radio in Australia, the importance of older AM and FM services to co-exist for many years alongside newer DAB+ digital radio services and internet streaming was strongly highlighted – due to their better capacity to provide reliable wide area coverage across our vast nation. However for me an encouraging shift was the visibly strong support that narrowcasting services (like Faith FM, ethnic radio, and tourist radio) are now seeing as an important voice representing diversity in the Australian media landscape. (A few years ago the future of narrowcasting had seemed to be in question.)