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Crowe brings ‘heart of a servant,”head of a scholar’ to radio ministry

For 40 years, Gayle Crowe spent his days “preparing sermons, visiting hospitals, teaching classes, marrying and burying,” he said.
Now, the longtime pulpit minister edits radio scripts, writes programs, finds translators and coordinates a staff with members from Russia, China, Malaysia, Egypt and the United States.
For the past nine months, Crowe has served as vice president of programming for World Christian Broadcasting. The nonprofit ministry uses shortwave radio to tell listeners about Jesus from its station, KNLS, in Anchor Point, Alaska.
For Crowe, the job is more than a ministry: It’s also a memorial to his predecessor and close friend, Dale Ward, who died last year.
“The highest, lasting tribute we at KNLS can pay to Dale Ward is to continue the high quality of programming which Dale modeled for our entire staff,” Crowe said.
From Anchor Point, the ministry broadcasts 20 hours a day of faith-based programming — in English, Russian and Chinese.
“Our mission is to help the biblically illiterate become aware of the good news of Jesus Christ — and to do so in a way that helps them want to know more,” Crowe said from the ministry’s Franklin, Tenn., office. Occasionally, he gets a script from a minister who writes as if “listeners know who Hezekiah and Mephibosheth were,” he said, so part of his role is revising scripts for people with limited exposure to Scripture.
Crowe was a pulpit minister himself for more than four decades. In the early 1970s, while preaching for the Wilmette, Ill., church, he met Charles Whittle, who became a missionary to St. Petersburg, Russia, about 20 years later.
Whittle told Crowe about his dream to launch a shortwave radio ministry to send the gospel into hard-to-reach parts of the world. In the late 1970s, Whittle and other church members, including Lowell Perry, Maurice Hall, Ken Ferguson, B.E. Davis, George Bridges and Don Crisp, launched World Christian Broadcasting and elected Crowe to serve on the ministry’s board of directors.
Crowe served on the board for 27 years, most of them as chairman of the ministry’s programming committee. He worked closely with Ward, the ministry’s longtime head of programming.
When Ward died on Oct. 10, 2006, at age 62, World Christian Broadcasting’s president, Charles Caudill, asked Crowe to continue the work.
“No one is better qualified or better suited to fill the job … than Gayle Crowe,” Caudill said. “We believe the many years he spent working with Dale, planning programming philosophy and techniques, was God’s way of getting him ready for this vital role in the master plan of reaching the world for Jesus.”
Ed Short, senior producer for World Christian Broadcasting’s Chinese service, said that Crowe brought “the heart of a servant,” “the head of a scholar” and “the zeal of a missionary” to the position. Although Crowe already was familiar with how the ministry operated, “he asked questions before he provided answers,” Short said, “and he sought to understand our work rather than to explain what he thought it should be.”
In recent months, Crowe has focused much of his attention on the ministry’s four new antennae, under construction on an island in the Indian Ocean. The new station, scheduled for completion in mid-2009, will send World Christian Broadcasting programs across the Indian Ocean into Africa and the Middle East.
Crowe and the ministry’s senior producers are working on programming for the new station. They recently launched an Arabic-language Web site.
Reaching Muslims is a key focus of the Indian Ocean project, Crowe said.
“But before they will listen to us about important issues, they must come to see us as friends,” he added.
“Our Arabic Web site and shortwave programming must attract an audience by developing friends — which means we must give them the sort of music and other programming they want to hear. But also we want to introduce them — slowly and discreetly — to Christ-centered principles.
“In our 30-year history, we have perhaps never had a more challenging assignment.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, see wcbroadcasting.org.

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