There’s an unwritten rule in ministry that when there comes the time for a pastor to retire from the pastorate, he and his family will leave and seek a new home church rather than stay on as simply a member of the congregation. If you haven’t thought about it, there are two reasons: 1) the new pastor will feel a restriction on what he can do and act and that his “performance” is being measured by his predecessor and 2) the retiring pastor’s mind (as human minds are wont to do) will be saying “I wouldn’t say that to this congregation” or “I wouldn’t preach on that subject.” Even if that weren’t an issue, other members of the congregation will be looking to their former pastor for re-actions or comments on the new preacher’s leadership and preaching style.
All of that is to say that I have purposely not listened to enLighten over the past several months as I’ve not wanted to be judgmental in any way. Neither have I read any of the messages sent to the enLighten E-mail box or attended any events where I’d be in contact with you, the listeners . . . as I don’t want to be asked about how I feel about whatever has been changed or what or who’s no longer being played.
I must admit, though, that a few Sundays back, I was out early in the morning on a mercy mission to help a fellow church member who was in distress and happened to hit the enLighten button on my van’s XM radio and one of my favorite old hymns was playing … so I left it on. Next came another great hymn and another. And I have tuned in on succeeding Sundays on the way to church if we are in the vehicle that has the satellite radio.
Then came last Saturday, when I needed to be on the road for 2+ hours and I was yearning to fill my ears with some good Gospel music as an add-on to my prayer time. So, I pushed the enLighten button and let it play. I did not make any notes of who I heard during the time I listened, although I remember hearing my “Gospel sweetheart” Karen Peck (this name for her comes from a funny incident that occurred during my first NQC in 2005 – but that’s a story for another time) and one of my favorites, the Booth Brothers “Look For Me At Jesus’ Feet.” The only thing that registered as not hearing was something by the likes of the Cathedrals or the Happy Goodmans.
If I were to make a judgment – which I’m not planning to – it would require a lot more listening time … unless the product were truly bad. In the past, I’ve heard from enLighten listeners, as I do from an occasional Escape listener, who tune in for two or three songs and are not completely happy with what they’ve just heard, so fire off an E-mail saying “why do you play all slow songs” or “I’m going to cancel my subscription because you don’t play …” or “how come you never play so-and-so.” There’s an old saying which goes, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” The same goes for radio programming – its hard to make an informed judgment from two or three songs.
Meanwhile, I do hope you are continuing to enjoy enLighten. If you’re enjoying the programming or there’s something that you’d like to hear that’s missing, please send Kyle a note at firstname.lastname@example.org – I know he’d appreciate hearing from you.
Let me close by saying that I did not retire. I may have stepped down from the management of enLighten, but it doesn’t mean I have lost my love for the Lord, Southern Gospel music or the folks who play and sing it or those tens of thousands of you who are “uplifted” by it on a daily basis . . . or that I’ve gone off to spend the rest of my days here on earth sitting in a rocking chair.
My love affair with radio and the programming of music continues, as I now devote many hours a week improving and refining what is heard on Escape Channel 69. And, I believe the Lord has quite a lot left He wishes me to do before I head upward! That, of course, is in His hands.
Today . . . may you go in peace, be thankful and rejoice in the arms of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!