Let’s Get Real

Dear Christian Radio,

Easy Never Changed the World…

…I don’t think that statement ever hit me as hard as it did, recently.  Last month, my wife went in for her yearly check up, and within that one hour our world was turned upside down.  Words took on weight like never before, words like mammogram, and biopsy.  Fear, doubt, confusion, and even anger surged through my mind as I began to think about a future I never even contemplated.   All of which happened within moments of clicking on a microphone and having to tell a hurt and broken world about the love of Jesus.

Throughout PAR, and every radio station across the country, similar life altering stories play out every day.  

I imagine at some point or another you’ve either experienced them yourself, or you’ve heard them from your listeners when they’ve called in.  I’ve joked that in the same way most people don’t call police departments with good news, most listeners rarely call when everything is going well—unless, it’s a song request.

The reality is that we live in a world where none of us belong; a world that is sick and hurting, a world where we all need Jesus, and just because we are in ministry doesn’t mean it’s all going to be sunshine and daises.  In fact, at times our experiences can be even more difficult to manage because they are on display.  It’s in these kinds of moments that people will look to see how we react, even more so if you’re on the air.  The questions become what do we say?

On-air talent are constantly looking for ways to connect with listeners, and nothing connects quite as well as life.

Statistically, very few listeners care about the upcoming station contest, or concert.  They do care about one of their closest friends going through a tough time, a friend that they wake up to in the morning or drive home with each afternoon.  As on-air friends, our listeners have invested part of their lives with us.  Sometimes we get to joke about the funny things in life, sometimes we get to talk about the cool things God is doing, and sometimes we have to talk about the moments that suck the air out of the room.

Our listeners care.

It’s because they care that real moments are so impactful.  When we talk about what life really feels like…the fear, the faith, the roller coasters each of us experience every day, it aligns with their experiences.  Life is not cookie cutter, life is not an IKEA display—it’s gritty, real, and sometimes, it will gut punch you on the way into the studio. 

But then, Jesus…

Jesus is the only constant, He is the good news no matter what, and He is the one who uses all of it to bring us closer to Him.  That’s the message.  That’s the point of it all.  That’s what our listening family needs to know, and when we bring that message—even at our lowest—God shows up.

It’s now my good pleasure to tell you that one of my favorite moments in life was when I got to share with my listening family that my wife’s results were all clear!  I got to share with my friends that their prayers and support made a real difference.  Oh yeah, and I also got to do impactful radio, as well.

Dear Christian Radio

  1. Get real, live life with your listeners!
  2. Your life and the lives of your listeners aren’t always easy; support each other!
  3. Never forget that Jesus laughed, cried, and lived his life with his friends!



Nathan Gist
Dean of PAR University
Positive Alternative Radio

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