How Our Women's Devotional Books Became Radio Broadcasts
By Carolyn Rathbun Sutton, women's devotional book editor, 2015-2022
"I want a weekday devotional on WFMH the Big 95.5 radio station!"
“I want a weekday devotional,” said the radio station manager of WFMH the Big 95.5 [Hackleburg, Alabama, United States of America]. “We have the largest listening audience in this part of the state. We broadcast 24/7 on FM and online.” He continued, “I want my listeners to get a little Bible-based religion between the country music and sports shows that we regularly broadcast. A short daily devotional would be just perfect!”
“I don’t think I’d have the time,” I countered. “Besides, I don’t know anything about radio recording and broadcasting.”
“I’ll show you,” he pressed. “You can do it from home.”
"How will we share hope in our community?"
My husband, Jim, and I had moved to northwest Alabama in 2011 right after the area was devastated by a tornadic outbreak, killing over seventy people just in our two area communities. In this decimated, grieving area (also known, sadly, for its population’s poor health, poverty, and elevated use of illegal drugs), we began praying about how God would have us share Bible-based hope. Bible studies? A branch Sabbath School? Small groups? Our county, along with a large swath of neighboring counties are “dark” with no official Seventh-day Adventist presence. So, Jim and I prayed—for the next four and a half years, while making new friends and learning more about community needs.
"Are you a preacher?"
One cold February morning in 2015, my husband became ill. He asked me to take the car for its service appointment while he went to the doctor. I sat in the dingy waiting room of the automotive repair shop, hard-copy editing the next GCWM devotional book manuscript. Another customer walked in to chat with the service manager. Then the newcomer suddenly asked in a booming voice, “Are you a teacher . . . or a preacher?” I told him I was editing a women’s devotional book and that my husband and I were ambassadors for Adventist World Radio.
“Come see me at my radio station,” he tersely responded. After several in-person conversations with this station owner/manager, my husband and I sought the counsel of, and received permission from, our conference president (Gulf States Conference) before becoming involved in any radio outreach. And that was the beginning of an unexpected weekday radio program at WFMH known as Staying Vertical. The radio station manager showed us how to "do it from home."
"Not enough time to write devotionals!"
Six months into this endeavor—writing, recording, and editing my own audio devotionals—I realized I had neither time nor energy to keep up this intense, deadline-driven pace in addition to prior ministry commitments. Yet, unmistakably, God had opened this door! What to do?
"Why not use the women's devotional book?"
One evening, my husband commented on my ministry load. “Why don’t you see if you can use some of the GCWM’s devotionals?” he suggested. “They’re Bible-based and already written and edited.” After praying about his suggestion, I contacted Heather-Dawn Small, director for Women’s Ministries at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. She gave permission for devotionals from older devotional books to be aired on WFMH. Since then, the station manager has played one women’s devotional three times each weekday—at varying times, hoping to reach an audience that includes commuters, daytime regulars, and nighttime insomniacs. Each segment includes information for listeners to obtain copies of their own GCWM books.
Your devotionals reach more than book readers
For nearly five years, this devotional book-related ministry—made possible through the inspired, prayerful writing of authors from around the world—has met with a warm, encouraging welcome from radio listeners.* All of this has been provided by the radio station free of charge!
God answers prayer
God promises that “earnest prayer . . . produces wonderful results” (James 5:16, NLT). Since its inception years ago, the GCWM devotional book project has been covered by, and uplifted through, prayer.
God also promises that His word “will accomplish all I want it to, And it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:11, NLT).
God has not only heard the many prayers, but He also continues to prosper this Women’s Ministries project—even across the airwaves.
*As a result, WFMH invited my husband and our pastor to produce a weekly half-hour Bible discussion program which has aired for the past three and a half years on Sunday mornings.