After 25 years, Mack Lyon keeps SEARCHING for the Lord’s Way
EDMOND, Okla. — A miracle of modern technology changed Mack…
‘Are you listening?”
The late V.E. Howard was known for asking that question on the “International Gospel Hour” radio program, an evangelism broadcast associated with Churches of Christ dating back to 1934.
For 88 years the question has been posed to listeners such as Billy Boyd.
Boyd, a member of the Rockliff Church of Christ in McMinnville, Tenn., has listened to the program for more than 60 years.
The broadcast is one of the longest, continuous religious radio programs in America. Now overseen by the West Fayetteville Church of Christ in Fayetteville, Tenn., the program has featured Jeff Archey as its speaker since 2020.
“It has been a great encouragement to me to hear that kind of teaching,” Boyd said.
“The past couple of years — yes, even in a pandemic time — we have embraced our Lord’s blessings and the open doors he has provided,” Archey said.
Those efforts include “not only expanding over-the-air radio,” he said, “but internet station options, podcasts providers worldwide and a television broadcast addition.”
During his lifetime, Howard was a businessman and a writer. He was a husband and a father, too. But he was best known for starting the “International Gospel Hour.”
He first began radio preaching on station KTHS in Hot Springs, Ark., where he talked the station manager into giving him a chance on air. He instantly gained a good rapport with the audience.
The broadcast made its way to other countries about 10 years later, increasing its audience.
Howard preached on the radio for 61 years. His trademark “Are you listening?” punctuated sermon points and Scriptures when he spoke.
During his lifetime, the program’s founder baptized more than 8,000 people, preached in gospel meetings throughout the United States and produced books, tracts and hymns. He died one day before his 89th birthday in 2000.
In 1995 Howard transferred oversight of the program to Winford Claiborne, an instructor at Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn., whose favorite broadcasts focused on the Christian home and contemporary culture. In turn, Claiborne handed the broadcast to Jody Apple of the Southeast Institute of Biblical Studies in Knoxville, Tenn., in 2013.
Apple has preached since 1978 and serves with the Georgia School of Preaching and Biblical Studies in Marietta. He worked to bring the program into the digital era, including web and social media presences.
Archey took the reins from his friend in 2020. By then the program had lost some international exposure, and Archey’s challenge was to increase its audience.
Last year the “International Gospel Hour” was picked up by Radio Victoria 93.1 FM in Noord, Aruba, and ZFKP 97.7 FM in the Cayman Islands.
Archey brought experience with a radio station and the Gospel Broadcasting Network to the role. GBN, which is associated with Churches of Christ, is a satellite broadcast network.
A Nashville, Tenn., native, Archey has preached the Gospel for over 30 years, 17 of those for the East Side Church of Christ in Cleveland, Tenn.
He graduated from the now-defunct Great Commission School in Nashville and the Nashville School of Preaching and Biblical Studies in the late 1990s. He has been married to Renita for 34 years.
After Archey’s arrival, GBN formed a partnership with the “International Gospel Hour” and began airing the program four times a week.
“International Gospel Hour” is now available on the web, social media, satellite, cable, YouTube and 27 podcast platforms. Its TV programs — which began last year — are primarily found in the southeastern U.S.
Now in 34 countries, the program is “still growing, and it’s still thriving,” Archey said. “We’re very well blessed.”
Phil Sanders, speaker for “In Search of the Lord’s Way,” a national television ministry sponsored by the Edmond Church of Christ in Oklahoma, knew all four of the “International Gospel Hour” speakers.
“It is reaching people, and the reports that I get is that people are listening, both inside and outside the church,” Sanders said. “And it’s making a difference.”
Sanders added that the “International Gospel Hour’s” longevity speaks to its success.
“You have also — because it’s been on for so many years — a tremendous loyalty and devotion to the program,” he said.
Debbie Claudia-Guinn first learned about one of the “International Gospel Hour” podcasts through an advertisement on Facebook.
“It really helps your spiritual walk. And that’s what it has done for me.”
She now listens to the podcast on Sunday mornings before church and refers to it as her spiritual food.
Archey “knows how to bring the truth,” said Claudia-Guinn, a member of the Paulding Church of Christ in Ohio. “He doesn’t add any ingredients to the Scripture or anything like that. He’s very biblical.
“It really helps your spiritual walk,” she said of the program. “And that’s what it has done for me.”
Congregations wishing to use “International Gospel Hour” can obtain the program at no cost, and Jeff Archey can help churches negotiate deals with local stations. See internationalgospelhour.com or call (855) 444-6988.
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