Andrew Cook produces and presents GBM Radio’s programme Serving Today. This is a weekly programme for pastors and leaders in the Developing World, teaching the Bible clearly and addressing the issues that they face in their work.
GBM’s Serving Today radio programmes support those involved in preaching and teaching the Bible to God’s people mainly in the developing world. Regular airings are on TWR-Africa and reach around 12 countries in Southern, Eastern and Central Africa. That’s a potential audience of around 500 million listeners in a continent where radio is still king among the various media outlets available. A TWR executive said that Serving Today is ‘unique’ because there is ‘nothing else like it on the schedule’, that is, there is no other programme for those in pastoral ministry at the right level.
With over 860 editions of Serving Today produced over the last seventeen years, a wide variety of topics and subjects have been covered to help pastors in their ministry, most of whom have few resources to guide them and many only have a basic education.
Preaching in Context
Over the last year, we’ve focussed on different areas of preaching. Stephen Kneale (pastor of Oldham Bethel Church) took listeners through a series on the abuse of Scripture. Steve said,
‘We want to encourage people to be able to look at passages in context. We want to help people understand not just what a verse means, but what it means where it’s placed in the Bible, where it’s placed in its wider context within a book and where it’s placed within the wider context of the whole Bible story.’
John Benton (former pastor of Grace Church Guildford; now Director of Pastoral Support at Pastors’ Academy) helped listeners to see ‘God’s Salvation Plan’ develop from both Old and New Testaments. In his introduction to the series, John said,
‘The Bible gives us God’s meta-narrative, an account of the overarching story of the world. It is history, but with a particular focus… its interest is to tell us God’s salvation plan.’
This series began airing on TWR-Africa at the end of April 2020.
Handling Scripture Well
The emphasis on Bible handling skills was also the hallmark of a short series which offered listeners ten tools for teaching and preaching Old Testament narrative, provided by Jim Sayers (GBM’s former Director of Communications). He encouraged those listening to,
‘Let the narrative stand up and tell its story. By all means break it into scenes and do the doctrine and application as you go, but let the story do the talking.’
Following on from this, it seemed a good opportunity to re-air an earlier Serving Today series on the book of Exodus, with Doug Johnson, called ‘From Slavery to Service’, so modelling the principles from Jim’s toolbox.
Life Now and to Come
In a forthcoming series based on John’s Gospel with Clive Bowsher (pastor of Abbey Baptist Church, Abingdon), a more reflective and devotional note will be struck with the theme of,
‘Life – now and to come. What we discover is that life is to do with friendship, intimacy and oneness or union with Christ.’
Sharing your Pastor
The common factor with each of these series is that all contributors either are, or have been, in pastoral ministry. Each of them is sharing the fruit of their labours with the Serving Today audience. So, that series you heard from your pastor, which really spoke to you, – would Serving Today listeners also benefit from it? This could be an act of fellowship with the wider church, sharing the blessings of what you and your church are fed on a weekly basis. Could your pastor or church leader help build up the African church with good teaching? One of the great things about this (among many others) is that there’s no need to pay for an airfare. Your pastor can ‘go’ without even stepping on to a plane by allowing him some time off for a few recording sessions here in the UK. If you think your pastor can help, encourage him to get in touch via Mission Centre to start the ball rolling.
GBM Media Podcast
Listening to Serving Today has just got easier because it is now available as a weekly podcast as part of the GBM Media Podcast. You can subscribe by searching for ‘GBM Media Podcast’ on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Podbean and Stitcher. Why not use this as a discipling tool, or to listen to on the way to work? You’ll also find episodes of Across the Nations, which are longer versions of Prayer Waves interviews. There are also a couple of episodes of The Additional Needs Podcast, an occasional series which deals with issues of disability, church and the gospel. So, plenty to explore!