January 8th, 1990. That was our first day of broadcasting. WBVN was so much a “God work” to us.
In October 1987, for what I consider “unexplained reasons,” I had told my employer that I would be leaving that job. I didn’t know when I would be leaving. I did not know for what reason I would leave. But, it had become “obvious” in my heart that I wouldn’t be able to continue working on a long-term basis with that company. That same October, a friend called and told my wife that during one of her prayer times she’d “seen my face” before her. She told Jane I should read Hebrews 10:35-36: “therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward, for you have need of endurance so that when you have done the Will of God, you may receive what was promised.” That had 1983 all over it!
You see, in the summer of 1983, I had heard in an “unmistakable voice” a promise from the Father. (Yes, it really did happen was just like I’m telling it.) At the time it made no sense to me. Without revealing the specific words, let me just say that it was a “word” that I had no ability to fulfill or to perform. It hadn’t come in a meeting and it hadn’t been delivered to me by anyone. To be perfectly honest, I felt kind of silly about it, just keeping it to myself for many years. Then in ’87, something began to happen “in me,” something pursuing me day and night. It was something that “pulled me along” rather than me pushing it. It was so strong. I remember walking down the hall at work, walking toward the “boss’s office” to turn in my resignation. Just as I was about to knock on the door I knew immediately I should not go in. I returned to my office, shut the door, paused and prayed a short prayer. “Endurance…so that you will receive the promise” reoccurred in my mind. Within a couple weeks, on January 14th, 1988, a man came into my office and said there was an existing radio station for sale in the area and “had I ever thought about doing a Christian Radio station?” “No! Not me! Never crossed my mind!” Let me make it perfectly clear how I felt about that suggestion: “Too much risk, not enough security, too much money to start, not enough courage!” That’s how I felt!
Uncharacteristically, within two weeks someone gave me $5000 with no strings attached. Two days later, the first “fella” was asking me if I had decided, “to go for it.” Well to shorten the story, let me just say that on the 15th day of March 1988, we were to sign contracts to purchase that existing station. Just as amazingly, suddenly that same day, the other party backed out of the sale. It seemed that everything that had “pulled us along,” everything that seemed so right, so perfect, now was falling apart. At that same time, two national ministries had been exposed for misbehavior and received lots of national media attention. The environment was not really advantageous for starting a local ministry by some “up-shot” trying to share Contemporary Christian Music. By that March I was unemployed and had already signed a loan to purchase that existing station. No job and a big loan! Some of our friends suggested it was the devil interfering with the process, others suggested the Father that had influenced the situation. Jane and I prayed. We didn’t do much talking, but a lot of listening. Listening to our hearts and not our heads. Oh, we had many thoughts, but we wanted to be lead by the inner person, listening to the Spirit of Christ that dwelt within us. It was like being on a road, not knowing the next destination and not being able to see around the next curve but required to keep moving just the same.
Six months later, on August 25th 1988, we filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission for a new FM station license. There had been no FM license available for this area until that day. That summer, a special “window” was opened for a new broadcast station in Carrier Mills, IL. We were told no ruling would come for at least for one year, perhaps two, if someone challenged the application. Then, just as suddenly as when every thing had turned bad, a “being pulled along” began again. Things began to go in our favor. On April 21st, 1989, six months earlier than we were lead to believe by our FCC attorney, we had a construction permit issued to us. We weren’t sure what to do next, but we believed that it was the fulfillment of a promise made to our hearts 7 years earlier. On January 8th, 1990, WBVN went on the air broadcasting a Keith Green song titled “The Victor” and we began broadcasting CCM over WBVN.
Year seventeen begins in just a few days. We don’t have a “fail-safe” plan for the future. We live on a budget that operates 60 days at a time. We’ve pledged to stay until we know God would have us do differently and as long as we’re relevant in our listeners’ lives. Even though we don’t have a guarantee about tomorrow, we still believe God is “pulling us along.” We know how vulnerable we are in our own ability. We’re very aware of how the Father has blessed us rather than having been “smart” enough to run a radio station.
Just like the first day, we still depend on listeners to keep us on the air. They’ve done that for over 8 million minutes now. Our Message hasn’t changed. We still share a “Word” of Grace and Peace with our listeners. Ironically, the purpose and vision of this ministry is not nearly as complicated as the “mechanism of broadcasting” over FM 104.5. One is miles of wires, and rooms full of computers and transmitters, monitors and mics. The other is simply the encouragement found in sharing the Love of God with our listeners using Contemporary Christian Music.
We are so grateful for your partnership for these 16 years. I recently heard Ryan Dobson say on Focus On The Family Daily broadcast while talking about the ministry he’s involved with: “All this and Heaven too!” I thought that was a pretty good statement about what we get to do here. “All this and Heaven too!” It’s been a joy for us. We’ve had such wonderful people work for us and many terrific volunteers over the years. For 13 straight years our listener support has met the entire budget needs of WBVN.
We’ve seen hardships and miracles. A few have accused that CCM is not really Christian music at all because of it’s contemporary sound and the “fun” it is sometimes. At the same time, we’ve had letters and phone calls that ‘tearfully’ offer expressions of how much these lyric and tunes mean to people. We live in a very difficult time and having the opportunity to have shared this Message and encouragement over the 16 years has been a tenderhearted experience for us and we trust for our listeners as well. Thank you for all the kind words and prayers. We obviously are grateful for the contributions that have kept WBVN here for 16 years. How certain are we that God has been in this experience and wishes to continue and use this ministry to encourage the believers that choose to listen to FM 104.5? “Without a doubt,” “absolutely,” “10-4,” “Positively,” “For sure,” “It’s a deal,” “Certainly,” “Emphatically,” “Roger,” “Affirmative,” “As sure as the sun comes up in the morning,” “O.K.!” “Yeah!” “Yes,” “For sure,” “Where do I sign?” “Amen!” In 2006, may God bless this area in some small way through programming heard over WBVN.