Why Your Mission Matters

Dear Christian Radio…

Our mission at Positive Alternative radio is to create and deliver experiences that inspire people to live passionately for Jesus Christ. As the GM for Walk FM, I have to be careful with the experiences that my station creates. My decisions have the power to make those experiences joyful or full of disappointment. Listeners get so excited because they have expectations when they turn on the radio or call their favorite radio station. As leaders in this space, we must ask ourselves daily: are we meeting, exceeding, or missing on expectations? Each day is our chance to deliver the right experiences no matter what is going on in our world or where our passion level is at any particular moment. It’s our job.

Have you ever broadcast a throw away break?  Was there a time when you hurried a listener off the phone so you could get a project done? We all have stuff to do, but in the bigger world of ministry, projects take a backseat to people. People, and the experiences you and your team create for them, is what really matters.

So why do some Christian stations create bad experiences? Lisa McLeod, a leadership expert and author, believes that the idea that emotions don’t belong in the workplace is totally wrong. She contends that people want emotional connection with their work. In fact, I’ll take it a step further: people are desperate to be a part of something bigger than themselves

Mcleod also says there are three levels of emotional connection:
Level one is the most basic and the least involved. Basically, a person is only here for the pay and the benefits. A person who finds themselves at this level needs to find somewhere else where they can be fulfilled. Ministry is not the place for people who want to simply go through the motions. The mission is bigger than that!

Your station’s mission should be life-changing. It should be what every team member works toward. It should never be a disappointment to anyone on your staff because there is nothing about Jesus Christ that is a disappointment. Team members who are just there for the pay and the benefits are almost certainly creating disappointing experiences that could potentially turn people away from Jesus and your ministry. These are the lower 10 percent of your team and they do not belong in your ministry.

The second level is made up of the largest portion of your staff. They are good employees and they don’t mind the work or the people. They see your station as a good place to be. For some, however, this is as much as they’ve grown within your organization. They don’t fully trust or haven’t fully committed to your station’s mission. As a leader, you must work with this group and get them fully onboard and behind the mission.

Level three consists of your station’s superstars. This is a handful of people–your top 20 percent–and they get it. They not only believe in, but practice your station’s mission. They see the station as a way of contributing to something more important than themselves–a life’s mission. Make sure these special people know that their actions and hard work serve a real purpose. Remind them often that they matter. These will be the ones who will create truly amazing experiences for your listeners each and every day.

Great experiences matter. Here’s why…

My station received a story from a lady who was diagnosed seven years ago with a cancer-like disease. She shared that after battling the disease for a few months with chemotherapy and a massive dose of steroids once a week the treatment was taking its toll. The steroids made her an insomniac. She had no peace and no rest.  As a result, someone suggested that she listen to her local Christian radio station as a way to calm her anxiety and panic attacks. 

One night while she was listening these lyrics came on:

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.

The song was Oceans by Hillsong. The station was Walk FM.

That night, through those lyrics, she found her peace, her rest, and her song. God used the right song at the right time to create the experience she needed. It became her anthem for seven long years on every restless night…and every time she got bad news from her doctors. God gave her that peace…a peace she has even more of today as she has recently passed away.

At her funeral those words rang so true…God had taken her deeper than her feet could ever wander and her faith was made stronger in the presence of her Savior. Those words that day comforted her husband, daughter, son, and grandsons. 

Your mission matters. It matters when programming the music, even when you’re tired of hearing the same song day after day. Believe me when I say, she isn’t tired of it. She needs it to make it through another sleepless night. If you’re the DJ on the midnight shift–even when you think nobody’s listening–your mission matters. It matters because somebody’s fighting for rest and peace and they need to hear your words.

I know your mission matters, because the lady in the story was my mother. Her son, broken, but sitting at her funeral and hearing those words…the words we get burnt out on…the ones we get tired of playing, he needed to hear them. That song brought comfort to me in my moment of grief and despair.

During times of stress and in the moments of chaos, and on those days when you don’t think that you can go on, remember that there’s somebody out there who needs you to go on and live your mission.

On those days that life sucks and crap happens, somebody else needs you to do what you have been called to do. We all say that God uses the right song at the right time. I watched that song for seven years. The DJ played it more times than you could ever imagine in the very moments that my mother needed it. She didn’t need to go to YouTube, Spotify, or Pandora to find it–what she wanted wasn’t there. Instead, she turned to her local station. Your mission matters because God is moving in people’s lives through my station and yours. Together we are creating and delivering experiences to people who need them and who desire to know Jesus. We have all been called to be a part of something absolutely beautiful, amazing, and difficult. 

Friends, I urge you to live out your station’s mission, even on those tough days when you just don’t feel it. And I thank you for creating and delivering experiences that inspire people to live passionately for Jesus, even when you’re tired of that “one” song. Finally,   I ask that you remember my mother and the difference your ministry makes in the lives of listeners with stories just like hers. The mission truly matters.

A thankful son,

Derek Withrow
Director of Impact Services
Positive Alternative Radio

General Manager, Walk FM

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