Thursday, February 13, 2014

"The Challenge" Day 24: Thoughtful response from local CCM station

So as I mentioned, I emailed K-LOVE and the local CCM station that I've been listening to (WGTS 91.9), to ask about the tendency not to use (or at least not to emphasize) the word "Christian" on air. I got a form response from K-LOVE saying that they have pastors on staff and one would love to talk to me. I think I probably will call the number they gave me but I honestly haven't had the time to.

I was really impressed, though, that Rob Conway at WGTS took the time to provide a very well thought out response. I include it, with his permission, below, and with no further comment from me. When I asked for his permission to use it, he provided the following caveat: "Please feel free to use on your blog--it's a good discussion to have...and believe me, no one in CCM radio will (or should) tell you we have all the answers." 

Here's Rob's response:
Hi David, 
Really appreciate you taking the time to write us and asking about that. I think it's great that you're listening critically and curious. I'll try to give you the abridged version, but hopefully it'll give you a little "peek behind the curtain" to help bring a little more understanding to our mission and goals here. 
First, I'll answer your question with a question. What makes something "Christian?" No doubt, we like to have defined lines between the sacred and the secular. But are we Christian just because we claim we are? The first followers of Christ simply called themselves "followers of The Way." It wasn't until later that others (outsiders) labeled them "Christians." And this was because of what they saw lived out. 
So in essence, we would rather have people call us Christian because of what they see in us, rather than make the claim ourselves. In fact, we like to think of this as a radio station operated by people that happen to be Christian. 
Second, the term "Christian" has an unfortunate amount of baggage that comes with it. (See books like unChristian and You Lost Me by David Kinnaman). Christianity is a subculture--which even comes with its own lingo--"Christianese." Maybe you've heard other Christians say something like this: "Brother, I felt like I was really backsliding, so I crucified my old man and put on my new man, and now the fruit of the spirit is evident in my life!" (Ok, a little over-the-top--depending on your background). 
And in a city as diverse as Washington, DC--people from all walks of life--we don't want to shut the door before they're willing to crack it just a bit to see what it's all about first. We'd rather allow the songs to speak the truth, since music has a universal appeal that is able to break barriers that even the spoken word can't. 
Lastly, it's about finding common ground. As a station that has put emphasis on family over the years, it's been a way for us to connect with anyone--no matter where they are in their faith. Because family is something we can all agree is important. One person may think baptism by immersion is what we should do, while someone else believes in Christening, or even someone else doesn't even really care either way. We're not here to debate points of doctrine, but to encourage the next step in someone's faith, no matter where they are in that journey. And it's one reason why we've been intentional with our Chaplain's program, which has started ministries like our Saturday afternoon gathering Gateway Fellowship, which is a worship gathering in a relaxed setting, where people can come and not feel threatened to take that next step and connect them to churches around our area. 
But what I'd like to make sure is clear--we are not ashamed of Christ, or of what being a Christian is about. We're humbled every day that God gives us a new opportunity to serve Him and reach others--and we see evidence that it's working so far. But every day presents a new challenge, as times and culture changes, it can be like chasing your own tail to remain relevant for our times. We just hope that through it all, Christ is uplifted (sorry, had to use some of my own Christianese for a moment). 
Anyway, I hope that helps you understand just a bit. Again, I appreciate your openness to learning about what we do. If you have any questions at all, or if there is anything else I can do for you, please let me've got my email. 
Rob Conway 

Now playing on WGTS 91.9 "Amazed" by Kutless 

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