Floating Radio: Creativity in Media Ministry

Indonesia has some 8,000 islands, more than 700 living languages, and a predominantly Muslim population.

So Back to God Ministries International has to get creative in sharing the gospel through media ministry.

Back to God Ministries International broadcasts in 13 tribal languages in Indonesia. With a handful of staff and hundreds of volunteers, they coordinate Listener Communities where radio listeners across the country can come together in homes or communal spaces to openly worship and share their faith.

In Listener Communities, Christians are safe from discrimination. But some areas of Indonesia are too challenging to reach by land and too dangerous for staff to work on the ground.

Radio Apung—or Floating Radio—ministers to indigenous Muslims in Sumatra, one of Indonesia’s largest islands.

“Kristenisasi, or Christianization, is forbidden in all of Indonesia,” said Daniel Budilaksono of Back to God Ministries’ Indonesian outreach. “In Sumatra, the Muslim community is closed and difficult. Both preachers and listeners can be prosecuted if they are caught.”

Each week, Radio Apung staff prepares an audio program in a small studio near the shore. With a one-kilowatt-powered radio transmitter and solar panels as a power source, one or two men from the station take to the seas in a small boat to broadcast the program to tribes living in North Sumatra along the coast.

In this region, people are risking their homes and their lives for their faith. Muslims who are interested in learning more about Christianity face raids from Muslim authorities. The Radio Apung method was chosen to help keep them safe.

“People are responding well to this ministry,” said Daniel. “This ministry keeps our staff safe and offers gospel hope to those living in fear. Not without its own risk, but it’s worth it.”

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About the Author

Claudia Elzinga, special to Christian Reformed World Missions

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