Joiepirkey's Weblog

A Word in Due Season

WEMI going Seeker Sensitive?

Hey guys~
I got a chat yesterday from a local pastor informing me that WEMI radio station in the Fox Valley in Wisconsin, USA was saying on the air that they were changing their logo of the cross and taking the word Christian out of their name. I only had a second and wanted to see if anyone else had heard the news so I quickly posted: “WEMI goes Emergent? Seeker Sensitive? Washing the cross off their logo? For real? Wanting to know what’s up with that…” and then in the comment section I wrote:

what I heard and could not confirm was that on the radio today they (WEMI) announced that they were taking the word Christian out of their name and going with Family Radio and taking the cross out of their logo. But again, I couldn’t confirm on their web site. Did anyone else hear this? And why? It feels like denying Christ. Hmmm I need to think about this one and also hear their side.
Wednesday at 3:07pm · Like

A bunch of folks posted and then today I recieved this mass message from Paul Cameron, the GM of WEMI:

Paul Cameron April 15 at 12:03pm Report
Dear Face book Friends;

I’m writing in response to recent postings concerning Christian Family Radio.

The post read: “WEMI goes Emergent? Seeker Sensitive? Washing the cross off their logo? For real? Wanting to know what’s up with that…”

First, we ABSOLUTELY have not backed away from our Christian beliefs or mission. We are not emergent or seeker sensitive. We’ve changed our name, but not our mission. Our vision, mission and foundational principles as approved by our board of directors remains the same.

Vision-Evangel Ministries Inc. serves to educate, encourage and preserve the family through a contemporary and versatile communications platform.

Our Mission: Helping families build healthy relationships.

Foundational Principles:

1. We will advocate and protect the ideals of the traditional family as it is defined and established in the Holy Bible.
2. We believe that truly healthy relationships can only be attained through a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ.
3. We will feed the souls of individual family members by offering a daily diet of the Gospel in a variety of compelling ways.
4. The context and content of all our offerings will intentionally and unapologetically be presented from a Christian world view.

Our desire is to do more than ever before in these last days to help lead more souls to Christ. That’s why we became so excited when, after two years of research and survey results from seven hundred listeners and seven hundred non-listeners, we saw that there were so many people within our broadcast areas who are searching for the very thing Christ offers, we just needed to give them a reason to see what we have by focusing on what they are most focused on — family. In much the same way that Focus on the Family uses the family as a platform and Family Life Today uses family and marriage as a platform, though the word “Christian” isn’t in their names and the cross isn’t located anywhere in their logo or marketing materials, they clearly are Christian organizations intent on sharing biblical principles for living life today. As are we.

I want to make it perfectly clear, the cross is still in our logo. In fact, we’re highlighting it in just about every piece we have going out in ways we never did before — again, we are in no way ashamed of Jesus Christ, we’re ready to shout it from the hilltops. We absolutely are in no way, shape or form embracing the emergent church or other movements out there pretending to be Christian and hiding behind a “tolerance” label. Please review our foundational principles again—the context and content of ALL our offerings will UNAPOLOGETICLLY be presented from a Christian world view.

While some have raised the issue of Jim Wallis and Lifest, let me assure you that we did not “support” Jim Wallis by any stretch, but rather chose not to boycott Lifest when that whole issue arose. We did meet with the Lifest organizers prior to the event to express our concerns and we joined with several organizations to work to alleviate future issues along these lines. Following the event I met with Bob Lenz one-on-one and know that he, too, fully understands the position of our ministry. Believe me, we will be very caution about researching future keynote speakers, something we shared with Bob. As Christians, we are called to sharpen each other and help keep each other on the narrow path. That was the direction we chose to walk with Lifest during the Wallis controversy. Please do not interpret that to mean we “supported” Jim Wallis.

There have been some on air staff changes, but no staff member left as a result of this change. Patty Ulrich has been looking to retire from full time work and continue just as Aunt Patty and our Interview Coordinator. Scott Juve, who had hosted the Going Home show for seventeen years, asked for a change and is now on air from 10a to 3p. Plus, Duane Matz moves from evening host to the 3p-6p Going Home show. These changes would have been made regardless of our name change. We are united and excited as a staff to begin this new ministry emphasis, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that it is God-led. Our board, our leadership team and our staff have prayed extensively, seeking God’s wisdom and direction. It’s true, any change is a bit scary, but knowing God is in control has been incredibly heartening and empowering as we implement these changes and see what God will do with it. We are likewise encouraged by the passion and commitment of our listeners and supporters and invite you to join us in this journey.

WE WOULD ABSOLUTELY LOVE the opportunity to come out and speak to groups who have expressed concern to share with them the long, prayer filled journey we took to get to this place. We welcome your questions, as we are not backing away from anything or hiding anything. Give us a time, location and group and we’ll be there. We are convinced this has been God led, God ordained and God focused, as we took so much time and so much prayer and sought so much clarification throughout the whole 3 year process to get to this point.

Again, thank you for your questions—keep them coming! We welcome your involvement, after all, it’s as much your ministry as ours!

Yours in Christ

Paul Cameron and the Christian Family Radio team.

__________________________________________________

I found this to be odd being that Mr. Cameron is not my friend on facebook, but my wall is open to the public so I am cool with his response. Back to his message I wrote this:

Paul~
Joie Pirkey April 15 at 1:17pm
In your post above you write:
“First, we ABSOLUTELY have not backed away from our Christian beliefs or mission.” But can you see how people will think when they see you backing away from the name of “Christian”?

Then you write:
“That’s why we became so excited when, after two years of research and survey results from seven hundred listeners and seven hundred non-listeners, we saw that there were so many people within our broadcast areas who are searching for the very thing Christ offers, we just needed to give them a reason to see what we have by focusing on what they are most focused on — family.”
On family and not on Jesus? You say they are searching for the very thing Christ offers? Surely you can see they need Christ himself not the things He offers? And you are saying that God led you to this new focus? Away from Christ onto Family?

“Please review our foundational principles again—the context and content of ALL our offerings will UNAPOLOGETICLLY be presented from a Christian world view. ” and yet you are removing the title Christian from your name, why is that then? Because you haven’t said in your post here. And I find it to be very important.

Regarding the Wallis issue that you also brought up, I find it odd that you would not take a stand when Wallis was well exposed before Lifest occurred last year and also that you say you did not support him and yet you ran adds for his event. You say in your post, “While some have raised the issue of Jim Wallis and Lifest, let me assure you that we did not “support” Jim Wallis by any stretch, but rather chose not to boycott Lifest when that whole issue arose. ” and yet in your official letter in response to the Wallis issued at the time you wrote: “At this meeting I saw firsthand the passion Bob has for reaching out with the love of Christ to all ages and the conversation about the situation was very candid. Bob had spent 3 days with Jim Wallis before ever even considering inviting him to speak. He saw firsthand his passion for the lost and the hurting. I can also say that we all agreed that the message that Jim Wallis is bringing is one the church needs to hear and to respond to and that is the churches responsibility for the poor. Like others at the meeting, I do not agree with all of his politics, or even some of his non-essential theology, but his message is one that the church desperately needs to hear. ” Just seems that you are walking a very fine line and because of this careful footing I am asking why? What is motivating your choices?

I ask if you are going Seeker Sensitive because by the definition in the Christian Examiner, “A “seeker-sensitive” church (or ministry) is a church whose main purpose is to try to make the church look more attractive to unbelievers.” and then goes on to state, “In a seeker-sensitive church the influence that is brought in is about meeting one’s emotional or “felt” needs rather than preaching the gospel. In fact, the gospel is often paraphrased as an answer for those relational or marital problems, for the angry or the depressed. It is used as a cure for the basic physiological distress rather than teaching the good news of salvation and God’s forgiveness of our sins.” I would say that would be very similar to your assertion of, “…who are searching for the very thing Christ offers, we just needed to give them a reason to see what we have by focusing on what they are most focused on — family”

The problem here is not simply in the logo and the name change but is in the thinking that seems to be driving your direction. I am deeply concerned that it is not God directing these changes but Post Modern Thinking; the same ideology that moves Wallis into his Social Justice or Christ the Rock into the Insider Movement.

Here is a quote from Ross Rohde’s publication, Practical Considerations for Postmodern Sensitive Churches–A follow up to “The Gospel and Postmodernism”, he lists what he believes are the behavioral characteristics of the Postmodern person. These are the top three:
1.) I’m looking for a truth that works for me.
2.) I can only try to see life from my own perspective; reality is too complex to understand it all.
3.) I’m interested in the values of my group and my community.

So many people seeking God with out the cross are engulfed in this kind of thinking. The majority of educated people especially. Those with the most money. To get at some of that wealth churches and ministries need to scrub off the true cross bearing Christianity that offends those who think in Post Modern philosophies. What you are doing Paul, and what you are saying seem so much like this movement and I am concerned. Concerned enough to make a post like I did, concerned enough to research and pray and educate the Body about this dangerous thinking. So I ask you in all love and humility, are you being moved by the Holy Spirit in these changes or are you being driven by a marketing ploy that can easily see where the money lies?

What the world really needs is undaunted evangelists sharing the unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ, proud to wear His name,His marks, and His cross while making Him disciples. Let us all strive to obey so well…

I will be praying for your ministry and for the Valley,
Joie Pirkey
Shouts of Joy Ministries

Here is the logo change. The GM of WEMI has written to me, via an email out to supporters, and corrected me in saying that WEMI had kept the cross in the logo. He was referring to the “t” in the word the. Being that the t is the same font and size of the t in the text used for the rest of the wording I am simply not seeing it as a cross. But if you switch up your perspective it could be seen as a cross. However, just not feeling the “light on a hill” here.

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April 15, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

6 Comments

  1. “Our Mission: Helping families build healthy relationships.” Not feeling the Christ centered mission in this.

    Comment by joiepirkey | April 15, 2011

  2. When I called WEMI yesterday the woman I talked to said they where changing both the name and logo. Maybe she just misspoke but in this letter he says they are going to keep logo.
    I guess it doesn’t really matter because instead of saying they are christian they are hidding it in the hopes to get a wider listener base. He says they are not seeker sensitve but by the meaning from the Christian Examiner it sure seems like they are headed that way.
    It’s kinda sad because I remember WEMI being the first Christian radio station in the valley. I remeber giong to church and seeing the “on the air” sign lit up because they used to broadcast live the service we attended. I’ll be praying for them.

    Comment by Mary | April 15, 2011

  3. Joie:

    As someone with a combined secular and Christian broadcasting background spanning 22 years, I’d like to share the following:

    As Christians we live in a nation and era that is very commercial and business oriented. This approach to life has had a tremendous impact on the church and its mission of reaching people for Christ. As time marches on, more and more churches and even Christian broadcast outlets seem willing to follow secular marketing trends, some of which can perhaps come under the category of good stewardship as it pertains to the reaching of lost souls.

    The challenge is to avoid being tangled in the type of unequal yoking mentioned in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. Sometimes ministries combine their goals with worldly marketing concepts and then equate any positive results with God’s will. Increased church attendance figures, sold-out Christian concerts and festivals, greater Christian CD sales, the proliferation of CCM based radio stations; these factors and others are sometimes said to represent quality Christianity, therefore the end justifies the means. This is a very pragmatic approach based in part on a consumerism mindset. The result is that our term “worship” has taken on new meaning. What was once an act of homage, has in some respects become an industry.

    This approach to outreach remains biblical only as long as we remember that the final consumer in this effort is neither the unsaved nor Christians awaiting further discipleship. Since all we do is to give glory to God, the final consumer in the outreach environment is God himself. The salvation and sanctification of anyone is to be credited to Him and Him alone. He alone is the one to receive all glory, honor and praise. (Isa 66:23; Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10-11; Rev. 15:4) If we miss this vital perspective, we risk evangelizing ourselves into insignificance, losing our saltiness and uniqueness as we continue to confuse the human spirit with the Holy Spirit.

    We can fall into this trap when we become so engulfed in ministry or concerned about a ministry concept that these things become the focus of what defines us as Christians. At that point we become ministry oriented at the expense of being Christ centered. Before long we find ourselves worshipping Jesus under or through this ministry representation. In other words, the focus on that ministry or ministry style becomes so intense, that it skews our view of who God really is and what he demands.

    Our model for this comes from the story of the golden calf in Exodus 32. Unlike the false gods of the pagan nations around them, the Israelites were not abandoning Jehovah for a completely different God with this approach (See verse 5). Nonetheless, this was a corruption of the truth of who God really is. It caused the Israelites to turn away from the commands God had given them and this angered the Lord (Exodus 32: 7-10).

    Next, take a look at the example of the prophet Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had besieged Jerusalem. The king ordered that some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility be trained in the literature and language of the Babylonians. Daniel was among a group of men chosen to be trained for service in the king’s palace.

    It’s interesting to note that God uses His text here to focus not on the literature or other aspects of learning in Daniel’s situation, but rather upon the nutritional training regimen. For example, the training included a special diet of food and wine from the king’s table. Daniel refused to defile himself through consumption of this food and asked the chief official for permission to refrain. This was a decision that could have meant death for both Daniel and the chief official. God honored Daniel’s obedience by causing this official to show favor toward him.

    Note what was taking place. First of all, Nebuchadnezzar was attempting to take the best minds from God’s people and place within them a Babylonian worldview. Secondly, with Daniel’s respectful refusal to eat from the king’s table, we see that Daniel had trained his appetite. He could easily have compromised and reasoned that God had him in these circumstances for a special purpose so God must be putting his stamp of approval on many things around him, including the king’s food. After all, a person has to eat, right?

    Today God encourages us to get close enough to the unbelieving world so that we can share the gospel. In doing so we will always be tempted to let secular society inflict its worldview on us. The challenge in reaching people for Christ is to be in the world but not of the world. In other words, as Christian broadcasters attempt to be salt and light through their ministry involvements, do they have their ministry appetite trained? With that in mind I want to encourage any Christian radio general managers that are reading this to consider the following: Does your station communicate to the community that it’s clearly different, as though it represents a people that practice temperance and self-control as Daniel did; that through the music and the preaching programs that you belong to Christ’s royal family and that you refuse to defile that ministry that carries Christ’s name?

    Daniel’s perseverance and reliance on God paid off. Three kings attempted to change his name and worldview but none of them succeeded. If you are a born-again believer, you are a Christian, and like a name, this term identifies who you are. It means that your true identity is in Christ and as a Christian broadcaster your marketing and programming choices should reflect that identity.

    It all comes down to biblical authority and if that authority cannot be maintained within certain secular styles of marketing or broadcasting, then that style is not appropriate for Christian use. To accept anything less and to move ahead anyway means you’re using God’s precious gifts of time and finances to construct a modern day golden calf.

    Comment by Bob | May 30, 2011

  4. Fantastic comment Bob! The paragraph that reads: This approach to outreach remains biblical only as long as we remember that the final consumer in this effort is neither the unsaved nor Christians awaiting further discipleship. Since all we do is to give glory to God, the final consumer in the outreach environment is God himself. The salvation and sanctification of anyone is to be credited to Him and Him alone. He alone is the one to receive all glory, honor and praise. (Isa 66:23; Rom. 14:11; Phil. 2:10-11; Rev. 15:4) If we miss this vital perspective, we risk evangelizing ourselves into insignificance, losing our saltiness and uniqueness as we continue to confuse the human spirit with the Holy Spirit.” is hitting the nail on the head!

    This comment needs to be passed around!

    Comment by joiepirkey | May 30, 2011

  5. I just updated the article by adding a picture of the logo into the post because I find this difficult to digest. Paul writes in his letter: “I want to make it perfectly clear, the cross is still in our logo. In fact, we’re highlighting it in just about every piece we have going out in ways we never did before — again, we are in no way ashamed of Jesus Christ, we’re ready to shout it from the hilltops.” and then this is the highlighted cross? What is going on here?

    Comment by joiepirkey | May 30, 2011

  6. Joie:

    Thank you for your kind words. However, I’d like to submit this addition to my previous post and make a point for all readers about the concept of family.

    We both know how important it is to give credit where credit is due when using the ideas, concepts or thoughts presented to us by others, especially in our writing efforts. For obvious reasons that’s not always possible. We often learn things from people in life and unfortunately too often we remember the concept but forget the human source. For example, in my last post I noted how three kings tried to change Daniel’s worldview. I also noted how the concept of Daniel having trained his appetite can be applied to other “appetites” as well. In this case I related it to ministry appetites. At one time I wasn’t aware of these things. I eventually learned about them but that was years ago when I heard a commentator on Christian radio whose name I don’t remember.

    Now hold that thought for just a moment. Today I heard the late Adrian Rogers mention that it doesn’t take a village to raise a child, it takes a family. He was right but who is the core of the family unit? Christ is. I’m reminded how in one sense we are like electrons in orbit around a nucleus and that nucleus is Christ. In our case, though, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that we don’t forget about him and drift out of “orbit”. God may even place us in a position to provide that guidance for others as we share biblical knowledge with one another, just as that commentator shared his thoughts on Daniel with me and others listening that day years ago. It’s this kind of communication that strengthens individuals and family units and therefore strengthens the larger family we call the body of Christ. Christian radio is, in my opinion, a great contributor to this process.

    So is a Christian radio station wrong for placing a large emphasis on family? No, provided that same station doesn’t lose touch with the one who is the original source or nucleus for the family. If the station operates via the donations of others, in one sense, that is your station. This means management has the difficult task of trying to present a Christian format that everyone can find edifying. To help in that regard, station management needs biblical discernment as they hear from you, the family of believers from the listening area. With that in mind I encourage readers who are concerned about this particular logo/slogan issue to contact the station manager as Joie has and present your concerns the way any Christian should when preaching the Word, doing so in the manner described by the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:2b.

    Comment by Bob | June 3, 2011


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