The gathering ban which came into effect as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of Coronavirus was much felt by churches who could not meet to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ over the Easter weekend, but several local pastors filled the gap by using local community radio station Ndlambe FM.
Evangelist Phakamisa Sam, Pastor Venus Delima and Reverend Thamsanqa “The Dean” Jobela shared “Seven words of the cross” over the airwaves.
While other faith-based leaders resorted to Facebook live and WhatsApp recordings to celebrate Passover and Easter, the above mentioned trio pioneered an idea that favoured almost everyone, irrespective of whether you use a smart phone or not.
It was the first time on the calendar that Christians were not able to celebrate Easter together in their churches but the forward-thinking pastors ensured that Ndlambe residents got to hear an Easter message.
On Good Friday, from 7am to 9am, Ndlambe residents who tuned in to Ndlambe FM would have heard a transformative and life-changing message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Listeners were spoilt by being able to listen to the programme while still in bed.
Jobela explained how the idea came about. “In the previous years the radio station used to invite local pastors from different denominations to come and share seven words of the cross on the weekend before the Passover. This year while we were preparing that, the lockdown came up. Then we had to change our plan,” he said.
Jobela said the trio already had programmes on the station on Sundays, and it was on this basis that the station management suggested that they run the programme because they were already equipped.
“In our planning of the programme we decided to invite other people for prayers,” Jobela said.
He said promoting participation by making listeners part of the programme was what made the programme effective and interesting. “After the benediction, we then went back on the lines to our listeners, hearing their comments. This is the programme we agreed on and it was interesting that the management approved,” he said.
The impact of the show was supported by the number of calls coming in, phone messages and WhatsApp messages. Listeners commended the pastors for closing the gap caused by the gathering ban.
Jobela was of the view that the effectiveness of their programme was on preaching the word of God as revealed by the Holy Spirit than promoting themselves or their ministries. Emphasising his statement, he said they left their churches’ names by the studio gate.
Adding to what she also discovered about the programme, Jobela’s co-worker in faith Delima said: “What came to me was that this was God’s plan. It was a divine plan coming from above not even from the management or us. We say this because of the messages we received from people saying that it does not feel like we did not have Easter. We are community servants assigned from above,” she said.
The pastors extended sincere gratitude to station manager Dodo Shuping for opening a platform when it was needed most.