People in 101 million homes across the country can tune their televisions to Pastor Harold Salem’s sermon.
This is a staggering number, even though a lot of people are not listening.
âIt’s hard to stop a preacher, we can talk without breathing,â said Salem, the longtime former pastor of First Baptist Church in Aberdeen.
“Christian Worship Hour” now reaches the 28 largest metropolitan populations in the United States, said Bill Edwards, executive member of the Christian Worship Hour board in charge of finance. The program recently added a national network – Ion Television – to its broadcast repertoire.
Previously, the program was broadcast on more than 50 stations and satellite networks around the world. “Christian Worship Hour” also has shortwave radio broadcasts which tour the world. His mailing list for his âA New Song,â a monthly Psalms-based meditation, has grown to 14,000 people. An online archive of the program is also available.
âIt was my idea,â Edwards said of a cable network. âWe decided we were ready for a national network. We use an advertising agency called Sleight Advertising of Nebraska. I asked our publicity agent, Iris Sleight, to do some research and negotiations for us. (We) determined this to be our best option. There was a lot more to do, a long process. (The network had to) make sure it’s something they want to broadcast. We met all of their requirements and started New Years Day.
âI’m tired of praying about it, I know,â Salem said of the process.
The show “Christian Worship Hour” started from First Baptist in 1978. Salem had been the pastor of the church from 1958 to 2010, when he retired from his post as senior pastor at the church. and began to focus on “Christian Worship Hour” full time. . Salem is happy to reach so many people with the word of God.
âWe have three basic things in mind. One is to honor God. Second, to win people to Christ to accept the Lord. The third is to help comfort and encourage people. With that, we think we can reach more people, âSalem said of the program. âA lot of people see CWH as their weekly church, especially people in the hospital and people in the prison system. In the winter, there are a lot of people confined to the house, so they just can’t go out. “
Edwards explained that a major obstacle to finding a national network was the length of the broadcast. The original format of the show is one hour. To comply with the national grid, the program had to last half an hour. “Christian Worship Service” records two one-hour programs every alternate Saturday at the KABY studio in Aberdeen for the original broadcasts. Salem is now offering an additional half-hour program for Ion. Men are also eager to use high definition equipment on future shows.
âChristian Worship Hourâ was created and is maintained through donations and countless volunteer hours. Many employees are not paid.
âWe consider ourselves very, very responsible with our donor funds. Ninety-four percent of every dollar goes directly to our broadcasting department, âsaid Edwards.
âWe want to reach as many people as possible in the short amount of time we have,â Edwards said of Salem, 93. âMan has more energy than people half his age. We don’t know how long this will last. It really is the pastor’s ministry.
The Christian Worship Hour organization has had hands-on conversations regarding Salem’s longevity. Plans for the program include using the vast archive of shows until they are able to find the right pastor to take the lead in the program. Patrons of the program have also expressed their concerns, especially when a station broadcasts a program on repeat.
This is how a recent letter to Salem read: âCould you please let me know if Pastor Salem died before me, as the station aired the same episode.
âIf they play the same twice, they think I’m dead,â Salem said. “I’m 93, I’m going to 94, it’s reasonable to want to know.”
Salem doesn’t get too drawn into the future and has said he will continue to enjoy his current role for as long as he can. He only has one small problem.
âWhen I die, I will go to Heaven and my wife, Beulah, (died 2005) will say, ‘It took you so long, I didn’t think you made it.’ Said Salem. âThere has only been once in my life that I have been happier (than now). When my wife and kids were at home. I am as happy as possible.
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