Friday, November 27, 2009

Testing one, this thing on?

God blessed me with the gift of gab. No doubt. Speech classes, impromptu speaking, hosting, emceeing, and toasting have never been a problem for me. Need to fill some time at a wedding reception? Give me a mic and get out of the way...

Having now declared what a big mouth I am, you shouldn't be too surprised to learn that one of my hobbies for over sixteen years has been broadcasting high school sports for a local radio station. When I was invited to join the broadcast as the color commentator in 1992, the fit was very comfortable for me. Back in the day, I was a pretty decent athlete playing for the school we covered, I had an intimate knowledge of football and basketball, and I liked to was like the proverbial duck taking to water. After a few seasons, I made the switch to the play-by-play seat. Much more difficult and more like actual work...but by mid-season I had nailed that down too.

I call broadcasting a hobby because it has never been my primary job. Sure I get paid to do what I do...but truth be told...I'd probably do it for free. The one drawback is the time away from my family when I travel.

When you do a radio program, it's hard to gauge just how many people are listening...that is until you mess up and say something stupid. Oh yes...been down that road a number of times. There are many stories in that bag that I might share in future post over on Tony C Today. This just isn't the right venue.

From my very first signing-off as the lead broadcaster, my 'signature' was to end a show with Good night Mavis. Most local people knew Mavis was the long-time radio station office manager who had been with the station since the weaning of none other than the now nationally famous Charlie Chase. A charming lady who had a knack for making even the worst day somehow better.

Last year though, I felt a need to change. I thanked God in prayer for the talent He had given me and asked for His guidance on how to use said talent for His purpose. Having absolutely no idea what I would say as the year's first Friday night broadcast came to an end, the moment arrived...

...and that will do it for us. Fans, the weekend is here, and I invite you to take your family to a church of your choice for worship this Sunday. I guarantee it will be the best time you spend together all week. Good night and God bless.

My partner gave me a glance of approval... and rightfully so considering he's my pastor. But no words were spoken. It felt good, and God had given me the words without a single stutter or hesitation on delivery. So that became my standard Friday-night sign off. Nothing about the phrase was conveyed to me the entire year of football and basketball coverage. I was somewhat surprised given the state of absolute lunacy when it comes to high school events and religious references. Although I knew the radio station had no problem with my church referenced ending, the right/wrong person raising a ruckus could create pressure on sponsors...and money talks.

When we signed off following the second football game of this year, our Technical Director told me across my headset that several people had commented to him about my new ending plug for church, and one guy had actually conveyed it was such a blessing to hear that he kept listening until the very end of each broadcast. I wasn't sure people were still listening at the end of a show after a year of hearing nothing about it...but apparently that wasn't the case.

High school sports are huge where I live...but so is church for a lot of people. I hope that God gives me the privilege to use a talent and hobby in a way that touches and ministers...and He gets all the glory.


David said...

I'm a little jealous. I don't live in a place where church is a big deal. Most congregations struggle to get 100 folks to show up on Sunday morning. Sure, there are some evangelical churches with more, but they are few. Being a Christian is just not culturally popular in the "bluest state."

I think it's awesome that you get to bring folks closer to faith in Jesus. Some days evangelicals get so wrapped up in closing the salvation deal, that they forget God is leading his beloved creation closer to Him; closer to faith.

Yes, there is a time for each of us to decide that if we died tonight, if we'd be in Heaven or Hell.

What I love about your story is that you invite others to check out Jesus. As you wrote about a few weeks ago in your testimony, "Many days I found myself wondering into the office of the guy at work to chat philosophy. He was very grounded in what he believed and why he believed it. I began to greatly enjoy our talks and even started reading on my own again in the Bible."

That was a step towards faith. What you do causes others to take a step in that direction.

Thanks, my friend.

photogr said...


It is great that you use the Christian ending to your show. I would imagine you wouldn't know how many were effected by what you said.

We need more people in a public setting to spread the word whether the athiest like it or not. Many more will appreciate what you say. We have for too long been silent of our beliefs and need to speak up for the Lord.

Tracy said...

Good for you Tony; you'll most likely never know how many people took you up on your invite and actually did something different for them on a Sunday and went to church. I think it's like David mentions here, that we want God to use us to help others take whatever steps toward faith that they're supposed to be making at that time.