100th Radio Station Goes On-Air in Largely Unreached Asia-Pacific Region
Thousands Come to Christ Each Year through Innovative Reach Beyond Radio Plant Ministry
NASHVILLE, Feb. 24, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — Reach Beyond (www.reachbeyond.org), formerly HCJB Global, announced today at the National Religious Broadcasters convention that it has planted its 100th radio station in the highly populated but largely unreached Asia Pacific region.
Photo: Missionary Lisa Balzer trains a pastor on the various aspects of producing a community radio broadcast at Reach Beyond’s 100th radio station in the highly populated but largely unreached Asia-Pacific region.
In the last 10 years, the mass media and healthcare ministry has launched radio stations across the region, including in Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal and Cambodia; the 100th station is located in Thailand. The effort is part of the ministry’s renewed plans to reach the unreached with the gospel, and is part of its work to help provide medical care, church planting, discipleship, evangelism and community development to needy communities.
“While the Asia Pacific region is highly populated, with more than half the world’s population, the gospel has barely penetrated the area,” said Wayne Pederson, president and CEO of Reach Beyond. “We’ve made this part of the world a special focus for our renewed efforts to reach the unreached, and Christian radio is one of the most effective and economical ways to do that.”
Reach Beyond forms radio planting partnerships with local people, which empowers them to reach their communities through FM radios. The radio ministry provides the broadcast equipment, training and technical support, while the local partner owns and operates the radio station. Since the station is locally owned and operated, it is better equipped to understand the audience and determine the most effective approach to programming.
“Our radio partners conservatively estimate that more than 10,000 people come to Christ each year through the radio station plants,” said Ty Stakes, executive director of Reach Beyond-Asia Pacific. “This means more than 100,000 people have come to Christ in just the last decade. We have adopted aggressive plans to expedite the number of radio stations across the region, which will hopefully result in hundreds of thousands more coming to know Jesus.”
Reach Beyond partners already have a deep commitment and passion for outreach and a proven record in terms of ministry. Since FM radio is still the most important communication medium in this area, the radio stations serve as amplifiers for their message. Each station fits the broadcasts around its unique context, and many of the programs are pre-evangelistic, meaning the deeper presentation of the gospel often happens off-air.
A dressmaker in Thailand tuned into “Happy FM” one day and heard the announcer, who is also a pastor, talk about love. Encouraged by the topic, the dressmaker called the station and talked with the pastor on the air. The pastor then invited her to church, where she found the love of Christ and a body of believers. She now helps others find Christ’s love through radio.
In Thailand, only 0.5 percent of the population is Christian. Most people do not even know what a Christian is and have great reluctance to visit a church, even if it’s within walking distance of their home. The radio stations have allowed local Christians and churches to engage the population in ways they couldn’t without radio.
As part of its overall mission, Reach Beyond hopes to plant an additional 100 stations in the next five years, moving at double the pace of the previous decade. In addition, partners in Thailand aim to start 100 community stations in the country by 2020. Nepalese partners have a vision for an additional 25 to 30 stations, with Reach Beyond playing critical roles in both endeavors.
“The Asia Pacific region is home to nearly one billion unreached people and hundreds of unreached people groups,” Pederson said. “Our strategy puts us right in the midst of these communities and gives us the best opportunity yet to share the hope found in Jesus. The last 10 years have seen incredible progress; the next 10 years will put us even closer to reaching the unreached.”
More about Reach Beyond’s ministry, including Pederson’s new book, “Reach Beyond — Comfort, Compassion and the Cause of Christ,” can be found at www.reachbeyond.org.
For 81 years the passion of Reach Beyond (formerly HCJB Global) (www.reachbeyond.org) has been to make disciples of Christ. Using mass media, healthcare and education and working with partners around the world, Reach Beyond has ministries in more than 100 countries. The gospel is aired in more than 120 languages and dialects. Thousands of healthcare patients are meeting Jesus. Local believers are being trained as missionaries, pastors, broadcasters and healthcare providers.