On the wall of my study, I have a photograph of a group of international Christian media leaders which I am proud to be part of. These amazing people lead Christian media ministries in many closed countries, where there is great opposition to spreading the Christian message.
In Australia, we tend to think that we Christians are being persecuted when same-sex marriage is allowed, or when people make fun of us. But the people in this photograph are essentially doing the same thing I am doing with Christian media, except they face real persecution. Real obstacles to deal with before they can get the message out.
To protect these people, I am not able to mention any specific names, organisations, or countries. However, what I am about to tell you are true stories from people I know. I want to tell you about the obstacles that these Media Missionaries face in closed, persecuted parts of the world.
One couple don’t have reliable electricity in their country. So, for many years they’ve been powering both ends of their Christian Radio station with two diesel generators. This is expensive no matter where you are, but in their country the government has recently decided to triple the price of fuel. That’s an obstacle I don’t have in my country. And what amazes me is that they are now beginning to form a television station as well!
Another man had all his broadcast equipment confiscated by the police. For three months he was not able to broadcast. Then, without explanation, the equipment was returned. In my country the police don’t confiscate equipment from Christian Radio stations.
Another member of this group lives in an occupied country where Christians are facing severe persecution from the atheist government. Not only has her Christian Radio station had equipment stolen from time to time, but members of her family, and members of her church, have been taken away by soldiers, tortured, and killed. The reason given is because the government wants to humiliate and discourage Christian believers. She has a husband and two young daughters.
I look at these people and I hear their stories. I consider all the obstacles and persecution they face in their country. I look at all the freedom I have in mine. In many cases these people are doing way more than any media ministry does in Australia. They are getting their lives threatened. They have spouses and children. And yet . . . they have the call of God on their lives. They don’t flee their country to seek asylum. They go back home, they go back to work. They stay where they are, continuing to broadcast the Christian message through media, because they understand the importance of the gospel, and the power that media has.
I’ve been using the term Media Missionaries for years now, applying it to people who work at Christian Radio stations in my own country. But, I wonder if all the people employed at Christian Radio stations in Australia, were told they could only be paid only a few hundred dollars a month, or if they started to get threats, or had people killed, would they still go to work each day?
These guys do.
In my mind, these people are missionaries first and media professionals second. They choose to spread the gospel message through media, because they understand how powerful and influential it is. The people I’m looking at in this photograph – they are true Media Missionaries.
I ask myself, what’s stopping me?
I don’t get persecution like that, and I have a lot of freedom in my country. What is stopping me from doing what God has put on my heart to do today?
What is stopping you?