Next week on UCB 1 and UCB 2, it is our national appeal. Earlier this week, Paul Hammond asked if I would share my thoughts on why Christian media is so important and how it all began for my wife Jackie and I.
Here is the video of that interview and below is a transcript.
I hope you are blessed and encouraged to hear about all that God is doing through Christian broadcasting in this country.
Paul Hammond: We thought that today, ahead of next week’s special programmes, we would take the opportunity to let our CEO share his heart about UCB, about Christian radio, and about the Christian message that we have for a world which is very broken. He is David L’Herroux. His voice is very familiar to us, and it’s always a pleasure to have him in the studio. David, welcome today.
David: Morning. Glad to see you.
Paul: Can we start with you? Because people will be aware of UCB, the journey, the history of UCB. But what about you? You have a heartfelt passion that in a broken world, Christian broadcasting has a message and a hope to bring. Where does that come from?
David: Well Paul, it comes back to brokenness itself. At the end of the day, we live in a world where we have many experiences individually. And many years ago, back in 1988 when my world was going well and everything was going very positively, one morning in my office, I received the news that I needed to go back home straight away.
And as I arrived home, I discovered that my little boy Jamie, who was the youngest of our children, was actually laid on the floor, dead. And that shook my core. And I heard the scream of my wife and saw the devastation in our family. And in the middle of that brokenness, I had to test my faith and go to God and make sure that God had the pre-eminence in that situation.
Paul: How old was Jamie at the time?
David: Jamie was about 13 or 14 months old. He’d had a check-up a few months before. And on that night, there were no issues physically, but he sadly passed away, which we later were told was cot death.
Paul: That must have been a devastating shock for you, and in that moment it would have been understandable if you had just thrown your hands up and said ‘This has to be the focus for us at the moment’. And yet as you say, you turned to God in that moment, and found what?
David: I found an answer to my questions. I was asking ‘Why, why, why God? Why do I feel so broken? Why us?’ And I felt God respond to me and say ‘Stop asking why. Swop the question to “What can I (God) do in this situation?”‘
And then as I started to think about what God could do, suddenly something was being worked in my heart, a compassion was rising up that I had never felt before. Now that did not take away the pain; it didn’t take away the hurt, but it took my focus from the pain and put into my heart a feeling, a passion, for the younger generation, for the people around me, that I have never experienced before.
And I think it was a bit of what we call the compassion of Christ that was starting to wrap me up in a way that I have never felt before.
Paul: That in wrapping you in compassion, it was also then giving you compassion to see the world around you as broken as it is and the heartache that so many people are having to deal with?
David: Absolutely. And I started to see and feel for the people around me like I have never done before. I had tried to counsel people before this experience in their time of grief. But I had no clue, and therefore things started to change in my own being. I started to identify what was happening in me, that I wasn’t alone and there were many people around me who actually experienced similar things, and even more tragic things. And suddenly you start to feel for people.
Compassion to me is a compelling desire not to just feel you want to do something for people, but you actually want to move your feelings into action. And that led me to speak with people and try to help them in their hurt. And then to help them realise that even in ministry, we too were being tested, and we too were being hurt at that time.
Paul: It’s really interesting hearing you talk like that because I remember hearing you say some years ago now that one of your passions, one of your convictions that God woke you up in the middle of the night with, was that the church needed to be available to people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And tragedy comes and questions come at any time of the day, don’t they? And that led you into this conviction about Christian radio?
David: Absolutely. In fact it’s a funny story the way that God actually spoke to me. It was around Christmas, and Jackie got up…
Paul: Jackie is your wife.
David: That’s my wife, that’s right. She got up about 1am, 1.30. She was all dressed, about to leave the room. And I said, ‘Hey honey, you woke me up, where are you going?’
And she said, ‘Dave, Christmas is around the corner. We’ve been so busy. You’ve been so busy, that we’ve got nothing for the kids, nothing for our guests. And you know what, there is 24/7 shopping. I’m going to go for it.’
So I’m left now awake, and in that time, God started to speak to me and said ‘Dave if Jackie was actually bursting to go to a church right now, to find someone to speak into her life because of brokenness, where would she go?’
I started to scan all the churches that I knew, not just in this country but in Europe and abroad, and I could not think of a church which would be open at that time. And suddenly God said to me ‘I have entrusted you with Christian media. Don’t mess it up’.
Paul: And the response that you get from people, of them availing themselves of that opportunity, is phenomenal isn’t it? And our world has changed a lot over the last few years with concerns about terrorism and finance and so many issues that are impacting people and raising questions for people. What sort of stories confirm for you that what you’re doing is part of God’s plan for the UK?
David: To me, we have the privilege to live in the 21st century with technology which can reach hearts at any time of the day, wherever they are and whoever they are. And to me, there are people who will never go to a church, they might never even go to a person they know is a Christian, but that doesn’t mean they’re not seeking for something.
They’re trying to find answers, and suddenly they can find that they switch the radio on and they can hear a word of hope, a word of challenge, a word that is edifying or inspiring, and that could be at 3am just as much as it could be 3pm.
And that to me is the most exciting part, that at any time of the day wherever they are, they can actually connect with positive content which can affect their life forever. And that has to be good news to be involved in Christian media.
Paul: Could you unpack for us why 1 Kings 18 is burning for you at the moment?
David: God, over the last couple of years, has been sharpening my spiritual senses, starting to sharpen my vision and my hearing. And I started to hear in my own spirit through that chapter 1 Kings 18. And God is a God of His word.
In that story He came to Elijah with a word, and He said, after the dryness of three and a half years, the rain is about to come. That leader, that prophet, took God’s word very passionately, and he actually said: ‘If God said it, it will happen.’
Therefore through that story, every action from the prophet is him believing the word of God. He goes into action so positively that at end of the chapter, his faith has risen to such a level, they experienced not just rain, but abundant rain. And God has really stirred me up and said ‘Dave, when I speak a word to you, it’s up to you to either believe it or reject it.’
And of late, I am hearing, from the vision that God has entrusted to us, that through the power of media, through the power of radio, God had a purpose in birthing UCB over 30 years ago. That He loves the UK and that he has a desire to bring an unprecedented revival in this country and beyond.
And God has blessed us with much, the fact that we have not just 1 channel but 2 channels. God is actually saying ‘I am preparing you. And are you going to allow me to prepare you for the time where my word will be fulfilled and this nation will be hit with something which is unprecedented?’
Paul: So is that how you see 1 Kings 18 speaking to us at the moment? There have been 3 and a half years of drought, and of course there’s Mount Carmel in that chapter as well and fire from heaven consuming the sacrifice, all of that. But when the rain finally came, it ended the drought and the spiritual dryness that people felt in their lives also. Do you feel that we are on the brink of a spiritual rain like that?
David: I do and I’ll tell you why, because I have never seen dryness like it in this country. And I have been here 40+ years, and I have seen the hardness of the ground in the heart of people getting harder, drier, broken, and I am saying ‘If I follow God’s word in that story, they were in the middle of that brokenness, not just in terms of the ground, there was no growth, no water, the lives of people were in disarray. They were wavering from one side to another because they were looking for an answer.’ And if you apply that to our country, that’s exactly what’s happening in our country. One minute they are trying to follow a certain way, and the next minute they feel that’s not working so they are looking for another answer and they’re turning to the other side.
And I believe, if I talk about the church for a minute, we need to rise up and be counted in this broken world in which we live. And I strongly believe we are seeing some green shoots where people are starting to realise the world has nothing to offer. There is no hope, there is no living water, except in God and in Christ Jesus. And therefore we have that opportunity to proclaim that living hope. And in the middle of the dryness and this country’s brokenness, there is a dam about to be broken where God wants to lavish this land with blessing and life so that people will turn to Him in a way we have never seen before.
Paul: And of course it is the case that in a natural sense, when you have places of incredible dryness and drought, when the rain finally comes, it springs to life very quickly and the green shoots grow up very quickly to take the water they have been thirsting for.
David: When you are thirsty, you want to have that thirst quenched. And when I find myself in churches or in the community, I am finding there is an increase of thirst for the real thing, for the real hope, for the real answers.
And people are thinking about what affects them. And they are saying ‘in my desperation, in my hopelessness, who do I turn to?’ And I believe through the power of Christian media, we are able to proclaim hope like we have never been able to before, for God to stir up the hearts of people to actually believe that the dryness we have around us is going to change, because God has spoken. And when God speaks, He always answers.
Paul: So what about the responsibility of the ordinary people to make this happen? To see this happen? There’s a thought around the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel that it was through the support of the people that as they started to turn their attention back to God, that He was able to call down the fire to stir the faith that eventually saw the rains come. Do you believe that we all have a responsibility? That it’s not just for you to proclaim, but we all have a responsibility to proclaim and support this?
David: Absolutely. We are just one piece in the jigsaw, and I really believe it is the coming together of the people who really believe that God is the answer to say ‘What is my responsibility in making sure that we are well prepared for that abundance of rain to come upon our country?’
And here is one of the things that I strongly believe. Yes the Gospel is free, but the distribution of the Gospel, like it was in Jesus’ day, like it is today, is also costly. And by coming together, us doing what God has called us to do… the people joining with a desire in their heart, wanting the members of their family to experience that freshness, that living water, for their workmates, for their own commun… experiencing a turnaround in their own life and experiencing that God is able to change lives for good.
Then by us coming together and people saying ‘Yes I believe that God will change this country, and yes UCB we are behind you, and we realise there is no grant given to you. You don’t depend on advertising. We realise that you depend on our effort and on our contribution. So not only do we want to pray for you, not only do we want to promote that UCB brings a message of hope to man, but we also want to financially support you.’
And it is because of the goodness of our listeners, the goodness of our readers, that we can stand today after 30 years, continuing to proclaim the Gospel not just on one channel but on 2 channels so that people can connect at any time of the day with a message of hope.
Paul: Day after day, we get testimonies that come in that tell us of how this has already been worked out in many people lives. I wonder if we might finish off with one that has spoken to you really specifically and which really sums up this passion that you have, that a broken world, a dry world, might be healed and refreshed by God’s grace and by Christian media.
David: I read a story of a man called Russell, and his life had become totally broken and he decided to end his life. And he went on top of a bridge and he took only 2 things with him. He took a small Bible and a DAB radio. And his desire was to end the painful period that was going through his life: his own brokenness. He couldn’t take any more. But suddenly he heard the voice of God and God said to him ‘I have a plan for you. Don’t do it’.
And he turned to the radio and switched to UCB and started to hear some inspiring words. He then decided to not take his life on that day. And he went and slept on the streets. One day, he was led by the spirit of God to go into a church. He didn’t even dare to go among the people, so he stayed at the back. And he heard the message, and his life was put back together. And in the very café that was providing food for him when he was homeless, he was offered a job. His life was turned around because he heard a message of hope in his brokenness. He wanted to end his life, but he heard a message of hope stirred up, and he felt that suddenly there was a plan for him. And instead of wanting to end his life, he started to ask God to help him find that plan.
Those stories Paul, that land on our desks and desktops on a daily basis, are what I live for, because our vision is to change lives for good with no other word but the Word of God. Not your word, not my word. Because everything we want to put on the platforms has to come from the original Word of God, which is a hope message for those who feel totally hopeless like Russell.
Paul: And it’s because of people like Russell and the fact that UCB (and there are a whole host of ministries who are there for people like Russell) but the fact that God was able to take UCB and to help and support Russell in that moment was because you (our listeners) have supported UCB over the years.
Next week, we’re going to be carrying forward this thought of a cloud bringing the rain that our land might be refreshed, and share with you loads of stories like that of Russell’s, of people’s lives that have been impacted by God’s Word of hope through what we do here at UCB.
It’s incredibly humbling what we do: an incredible opportunity that God gives us. And it’s an incredible thing that so many of you are willing to stand with us in support of it.
We’d like to invite you to think and to pray next week about how you might support UCB and catch some of the vision and passion that God has put into David L’Herroux’s heart that our dry and broken world may be healed and refreshed with the hope, the compassion, and the Word of God. David thank you for joining us today.
David: Thank you, Paul.