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SBC radio program nominated for religious broadcasting’s top honor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Richard Land isn’t rehearsing his acceptance speech just yet, but the host of the popular “For Faith & Family” radio program can’t be faulted for at least penning a rough outline.

The program, the mainstay of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission broadcast ministry, has been nominated for the National Religious Broadcasters’ prestigious Talk Show of the Year award.

Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the nomination — the program’s second in as many years — is a compliment to the team that produces the daily weekday show. With 1.5 million listeners, the program is heard on nearly 600 radio stations across the nation.

“I am humbled that our peers feel we are doing a good enough job that they would want to nominate us again,” Land said. “It’s an honor to be selected. There are many deserving talk shows out there, and very few are nominated.”

The award, determined by a vote of National Religious Broadcasters’ members, will be presented during the group’s annual convention in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 16-19. The 2001 Talk Show of the Year Award was given to “Money Matters” hosted by Larry Burkett and Steve Moore.

Other nominees for the 2002 award are “Jay Sekulow Live,” “Parent Talk with Randy Carlson” and Donald Cole and Wayne Shepherd’s “Open Line.”

Broadcast from a state-of-the-art studio in the SBC Building in Nashville, Tenn., the 30-minute program, which champions biblical family values and religious liberty, is closing out its third year on the air. Land knows he has the ear of many people each day — Arbitron ratings indicate For Faith & Family has about 1.5 million listeners a week — and he is understandably humbled by the trust his listeners place in him.

“I recognize that when you are heard on nearly 600 radio stations across the U.S. and on the Internet at www.faithandfamily.com around the world, you have a tremendous opportunity to make a difference,” Land said. “Our entire ministry team makes every effort to ensure that we use that influence in the right way.”

Land’s intention for the ERLC’s broadcast ministry, and all its other work, is simple but profound: To change America.

“Everything we do on For Faith & Family — every program, every guest, every subject we deal with — is crafted to awaken, to inform, to energize and equip and mobilize Christians who are listening to seek the biblically based transformation of their families, their communities and the nation,” Land said.

The growing influence of the radio program has not gone unnoticed by other heavyweights in the Christian broadcasting arena. Focus on the Family chief James Dobson called Land “an articulate voice with intellectual depth” who is “an effective spokesman for the cause of Christ in the public square.”

David Clark, president of FamilyNet and vice president of broadcasting for the SBC’s North American Mission Board, complimented For Faith & Family for presenting “a fresh viewpoint on news and public policy from a Christian worldview.” And Adrian Rogers, pastor of Memphis’ Bellevue Baptist Church and host of “Love Worth Finding,” cited “the vigor with which For Faith & Family has gained a place within [its listeners’] hearts,” predicting it wouldn’t be long before Land and his broadcast ministry became “a household word across the country.”

While For Faith & Family is at its heart a mission of Southern Baptists, its audience extends far beyond the SBC family. “We are told that no more than 40 percent of our listeners on a daily basis are Baptists,” Land said, noting that is the nature of Christian radio.

“We are very up front about the fact that our radio program is a broadcast ministry of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention,” Land continued. “When we have to make tough decisions about where we are going to be on the air, in terms of expenditures of financial resources, we certainly take into account how many Southern Baptists live in a particular radio station’s listening area. We know we have a special obligation to reach as many Southern Baptists as possible, but we are delighted to have all our listeners.”

It is Land’s goal that everybody who wants to listen to For Faith & Family have that opportunity during a 24-hour day, and that includes non-Christians.

“We are not shy about proclaiming the gospel on the program,” Land said. “Our greatest joy is when we hear from people who have been led to the Lord through contacts made on the show.”

Land said awards and accolades pale in value when he considers the families whose lives are being touched and changed by the broadcasts. His enthusiasm for the program is shared by many Southern Baptists in Texas who recently announced their decision to underwrite programming in the Lone Star State.

“We are delighted that the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention feels our program is worthy of being supported financially,” Land said. “We are on a lot of stations in Texas, and there are a lot Southern Baptists in Texas. We are pleased to have the opportunity to share with our listeners that the SBTC wants to identify with us and that we are in sync with each other in terms of our goals.”

Land admitted the broadcast staff faces difficult decisions every day about what they are able to do because there are many more opportunities than available resources. “So whenever people who are being ministered to, such as our friends in Texas want to step forward in support of our ministry so we can expand our reach, we take that as an affirmation of our ministry and a tremendous responsibility to go forward,” he said.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: NOMINATED.

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  • Dwayne Hastings