As Christians are bracing for increasing persecution against them by the majority religions around the world, the door is currently open in the largest Muslim nation of the world: Indonesia.
President of HCJB Global Wayne Pederson tells Mission Network News that the ministry is partnering with Christians on the ground to plant community radio stations.
“We've worked with a local church planter there,” he explains. “We put in 50 radio stations. He has planted 1,600 churches in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world.”
Pederson says these aren't huge megachurches. “These are house churches of 30-35 people. But the fact is, as a result of this partnership, we have 1,600 groups of believers throughout Indonesia gathering and worshipping Christ and reaching out to others who need to know Christ.”
HCJB Global has joined with seven indigenous groups of believers in Indonesia in the last nine years to plant 52 FM radio stations across the nation of 237 million. Five months after the first Indonestion radio station went on the air in February 2004, two churches had been established as a direct result of the station's programming.
Indonesia has been known for Muslim/Christian conflict over the years. Pederson says many Muslims within the country would like to implement Shariah law, which would make overt Christian radio almost impossible. That's why HCJB has helped start community radio stations.
The organization says radio is the perfect gateway for reaching Hindus, Muslims and animists who would be unwelcoming to Christian literature or traditional evangelism. “Radio is the perfect solution to complement church work and individuals in evangelism and discipleship,” HCJB's website says. “It also offers the ideal vehicle for sharing solid theological teaching with both urban areas and remote villages.”
“We talk about health and nutrition and how to have a better marriage; and we talk about culture, news and agriculture,” Pedersen says. “So, the stations are well received in their community.”
These stations also talk about Jesus, who is well received in the Muslim culture.
“We're finding the Muslims are listening. Muslim clerics are listening,” he adds. “There's a whole movement inside Islam that people are following Jesus as the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and presenting Jesus in the mosques even as the way to salvation.”
Pederson is reminded of John Chapter 3: Where the Spirit or the wind of the Spirit blows, you don't know where it's going, but you can't stop it.
There's still one nagging question that remains, says Pederson: “How long will the enemies of the gospel allow this to go on? We don't know. There is concern by our partners in Indonesia, Wycliffe and others, that the door may be closing. [That's] all the more reason to be more aggressive in planting radio stations today.”