DELHI, India – In a world in which messages increasingly are conveyed through texting, social media, email, websites and television, there’s an old standby that still can’t be beat when it comes to spreading the Gospel – radio.
That’s the assessment of Gospel for Asia leader and Bridge of Hope Director Narayan, who is using only his first name for security reasons.
Radio is key to his ministry, he said, particularly in a place where many are not equipped with the latest technology.
“Radio is the strongest medium. On the radio, people can’t see what I look like, so they have to focus on the words that I’m saying,” he said. “On television, since it’s visual, so many times the credit goes to the speaker.
“For the past 16 years I’ve been privileged to speak on the radio. I know how powerful the radio can be. I discovered the love of Jesus through the radio,” Narayan said.
The Christian message is delivered to India in 100 languages, he said, cutting across economic lines and social classes.
“Suicide, divorce – those things are across all social lines. The message has to be applied to people’s lives in practical ways. The love of Jesus can improve people’s lives,” Narayan said.
“Radio works to change people’s ideas, to change people’s lives, to change their thinking,” he said. “Our programs take social issues, things that are related to life. We come to a point at the end of our program to tell people this is their life.”
He said the message is direct, and people have a choice.
“They can choose to let God’s love help them or they can choose to stay where they are. But the radio broadcast gives people the opportunity to make a change,” Narayan said.
Sometimes the changes are hard because of the rigid caste system in India, with the Brahmins on top and the Dalits on the bottom.
Political analysts and human rights activists confirm it’s a major barrier to progress.
An Indian cultural analyst who asked not to be named for security reasons said that in many cases, the Dalits, a group outside the caste system altogether, aren’t allowed an education.
“The Dalit children will go to school, and if their principal is a higher caste, the principal will tell the teacher to make the Dalit children go out and play,” the cultural analyst said. “The higher caste school officials will tell the teachers that if the Dalit children get an education and good jobs, there won’t be anyone to work on the farms or to clean their houses.”
Narayan says he emphasises in his radio messages getting people to make a decision to improve their lives, even if it means making a major leap.
“I tell them that they are the ones who have to make the decision. It’s no one else,” Narayan said. “You have a privilege; you have a duty.
“I tell them they have the opportunity to make the best choice for their lives. So I tell them not to miss the best opportunity to choose the best thing for their lives,” Narayan said.