Media executive recounts progress since 'Unction can be transmitted' realization

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)--God provides opportunities for ministry through radio, television and the Internet, Rich Bott said, urging Christians to "put them to work in proclaiming his gospel to our generation."

Bott, executive vice president of Bott Radio Network, includes 16 Christian radio stations across the country, spoke Nov. 16 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Mo.

"It wasn't too long ago that radio was in its infancy back in the 1920s," Bott said, noting that even early radio preachers were unsure of the medium's effectiveness. Bott told of one minister who received word that someone had come to know Christ as a result of his broadcast, responding, "Praise God. Unction can be transmitted."

Bott said one of those resistant to radio technology was James Gray, president of Moody Bible Institute. When Gray began hearing the news of people coming to faith in Christ in Australia and New Zealand, he changed his mind and in 1926 started WFBI in Chicago. Today, through the use of radio stations like WFBI, the gospel is broadcast in 260 languages around the world. Programs such as "Back to the Bible" and "Through the Bible" have been mainstays, Bott said, experiencing worldwide growth over several decades. "Focus on the Family," a ministry begun in the 1970s by James Dobson, is heard today on more than 4,000 facilities worldwide.

"The technology is there to provide us a platform to preach the gospel to reach people we never thought possible," Bott said.

"You tend to think that the only people listening to Christian radio are Christians," he said. Yet, according to a recent survey, 30 percent of the people listening to Christian radio are not believers.

Bott said listeners fall into three categories: "people who are saved and know they're saved; people who are not saved, but the Lord is drawing them; and people who may think that they are saved, but when they really come to hear the gospel they realize that they are not saved."

Bott also shared about lessons he learned from a debilitating and life-threatening illness in 1998 that left him bedridden and very weak. He read from a letter he wrote to close friends and family in January 1999: "I am reminded of God's grace to me and how He keeps His promises when I look in the mirror everyday," a reference to two small scars on his forehead from a surgical procedure involved in his recovery.

"The Lord is sovereign. God cares for us," Bott said, noting that family and friends are often the vehicles through which God to expresses his love.

"In the dark of the night when I was sleepless, uncertain of the future, and the doctors had no ready answers, the Scripture I had memorized came to mind and it comforted me," Bott said. "I just encourage you to trust the Lord and seek his will."


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