In Honolulu we conduct a regular paid Sunday morning broadcast. This half-hour program provides an avenue for release of the special truths held by Seventh-day Adventists to an audience of thousands of listeners throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
Recently we decided to enlarge our influence over the air by producing a special musical program which we called "Musical Meditations." It was designed and planned to be a purely inspirational service to draw sinners to Christ and to create the feeling among our listeners that "law-preaching, isolationist Adventists" are really human, and not as unlike other Christians as many had supposed.
The idea of our program was to render good, old-fashioned revival songs, and to relate the thrilling experiences that led to their composition or use. Somehow we felt that the appeal of such a program would attract and interest a larger number of people than our Sunday morning doctrinal messages would. We hoped that the Musical Meditations program might lead the more interested ones to tune in to both broadcasts and find out "just what these Seventh-day Adventists teach."
Now it was obvious that such a program in itself would not be too productive in winning souls to the truth; hence our "committee felt that we would not be justified in paying for this once a week. We decided to contact the manager of the station with our plan, and were delighted when he assigned us a half hour each Saturday morning from nine to nine-thirty, with the understanding in writing that the time was to be free.
In anticipation of the musical program, the large city church had just purchased a small Kilgen pipe organ. This very satisfactory instrument had already been installed for regular church use and was to be used for both of our programs on the air. Fortunately, we had an excellent organist and an enthusiastic, talented choir leader and vocalist. They worked with me as a trio. I would begin each broadcast with a brief word of greeting, an explanation of our purpose in producing the program, and then the theme of the hour would be announced with an inspirational thought or two to get things under way. As the background for my remarks, the organist played a beautiful gospel number. When I stopped speaking, the beautiful strains of the instrument continued playing a familiar song of the same sentiment as the theme just introduced. From this point onward for one-half hour, instrumental and vocal numbers presented the subject of the morning in a heart-touching sequence.
At the proper time in the program, either the speaker or the choir leader would relate one or two accounts of the stories behind the songs. This proved to be the biggest attraction of the entire half hour. We are giving the following sample program outline in the hope that it may prove helpful to the readers of the Ministry:
Subject: The Love of God
Theme Song: "Lord, in the Morning." (Vocal solo with organ, two stanzas.)
Theme: "The Love of God." (Introduced by speaker.)
"Love Divine." (Organ solo, two stanzas.)
"Jesus, Lover of My Soul." (One stanza by organ, then organ continues while speaker gives story.)
"Jesus, Lover of My Soul." (Vocal solo with organ, two stanzas)
"The Old Rugged Cross." (Organ solo. Speaker reads words for two stanzas. Vocal solo with organ, two stanzas. Then organ continues as story is told.)
Speaker's Closing Remarks.
Closing Theme: "O for a Closer Walk With God." (Vocal solo, two stanzas, with organ.)
In conducting a program of this kind, it will be found that it is very important to time the songs beforehand, so that the half hour is not crowded. It is embarrassing, too, for the organist to have to fill in with an extra stanza or two of a certain song, just to use up the time.
Not too much can be said of the importance of staying by the gospel songs or hymns that have the true evangelical ring. The type of organ music generally played in our churches as preludes, offertories, and postludes is not the kind of music we want on these musical programs. We are not aiming to impress the public with our knowledge of music appreciation. Rather, we are definitely striving to melt hard, sinful hearts with soulful, expressive gospel melodies.
In no other type of spiritual music is there greater heart longing and yearning of born-again Christians than in the old-fashioned revival songs produced so freely in the days of the Moody-Sankey revivals. Somehow the strains of such old favorites as the following have power to grip sinners, and there are others just as appealing. This type of song will make the musical program a real success.
There were ninety and nine that safely lay In, the shelter of the fold.
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold."
Adventist workers in North America will find the old Protestant songs valuable aids in converting souls to the Lord. Most Americans love these melodies. Generally, a goodly number of them will be found in the hymnals of most churches.
Why cannot more such free time be secured on stations where our programs have established good records? We must recognize, of course, that our prime reason for existing as a people is to present the grand old truths of the third angel's message, and yet if free time is available to us, let us take advantage of it and put to work the great musical talent found in many of our fine churches. In this way prejudice will be broken down, and large numbers will find themselves becoming interested in the peculiar doctrines taught by this remnant people.