Especially as we reflect on the past year with Christmas this week, The Tide global gospel radio ministry is fondly remembering this past summer, when we went back to our roots, in a sense.
We celebrated our 73rd anniversary in August by returning to Roxbury Holiness Camp in Franklin County, Pennsylvania, for a special commemoration. This location is full of history for The Tide ministry.
For many years, our founder Charlie Byers was also the director of the annual holiness camp meeting, and in the early years on Sundays during camp, listeners would tune in to his program, The Gospel Tide Hour, at 7 a.m. to hear the Word of God through the camp's loudspeaker system. So it was gratifying and inspiring to return to where everything began for The Tide ministry, especially as we have maintained our U.S. headquarters in central Pennsylvania for the past seven decades.
The Lord has blessed The Tide ministry immensely over 73 years in existence, allowing us to branch out in unique ways that reach people who need Christ on many different platforms. For example, while many still listen to The Tide programming on traditional radios, thousands more hear God's Word from local pastors in their native tongue in new and different ways.
Over the years, the media may have changed, but the mission has not. While we once focused on distributing traditional radios for entire villages to share, those avenues have now expanded to include solar-powered media players, online live-streaming and platforms such as WhatsApp.
We are thankful for the many ways God has helped us reach even more people for Him through these creative media platforms. God has guided The Tide ministry in remaining true to completing His important work to tell as many people as possible about His Son, Jesus Christ.
But there is so much more to do—with 2,200 unreached people groups and more than 7,000 languages spoken worldwide! And as long as there are unreached people groups and languages without gospel radio programming, The Tide ministry's work will continue.
Through these technologically advanced tools, pastors are planting churches and making disciples of listeners who respond to the gospel. These means, coupled with a new television program that will began airing in Albania this fall, for example, will allow The Tide ministry and our partners in Albania to reach a new generation of people who are hungry to learn more about Christ and His plan for their lives.
Today in Albania, Christian missionaries are allowed a presence in the country, and the Albanian people are permitted religious freedom, but sadly, less than 1% of the population has embraced the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. It is here that we see opportunity, especially among Albania's young people, and we pray this new television project in Albania will open even more doors.
Each episode of this new TV program is set in a cultural context that today's youth in Albania can recognize as their own. Our goal is that the Good News of Jesus Christ will be creatively shared to a media-focused generation of young Albanians, that they may have an authentic encounter with the living God.
Clearly, people are hungry for this type of media. Some who are familiar with the work of The Tide ministry thought we were restricted to radio and are delighted to hear that our efforts are progressive, viable, nimble and responsive.
The opportunity to share the Good News in Albania is exciting. More exciting is the fact that radio listeners are responding to the gospel and are being discipled as new churches are planted. The Tide ministry places high emphasis on presenting our Bible messages in creative and culturally relevant methods and in partnership with local Christian leaders already living and ministering in their own countries. These television programs in Albania have the ability to reach thousands of young people for Christ.
All the many years ago when Byers conducted his first radio broadcast, few would have guessed that his passion for the Word would eventually grow to reach millions of people across three continents in 25 languages. But God knew.
It is always so humbling to return to the time and place where God's plans were laid for The Tide global gospel radio ministry and to marvel at the way God is now blessing people around the globe through a seed planted 73 years ago. Reflecting on the journey so far is inspiring and fills us with eager anticipation for where God may lead The Tide ministry in the future.
Don Shenk is the director of The Tide global radio ministry, which broadcasts gospel programming in 25 languages across eight nations. The Tide ministry also reaches new believers through partnerships with missionaries, radio sponsorship programs, discipleship and leadership training, literature distribution, and teaching conferences and seminars. For more information, visit TheTide.org.
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