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The dot.com of
Christian Broadcasting
Like most Gen-Xers, I watched hours of televi-
sion and a multitude of movies, but there wasn’t
much in the way of Christian shows or films – and
even less for Christian adults. A lot of the Christian
movies were so cheesy that the entertainment came
mostly from laughing at their corniness. Also there
were no explicitly Christian dramas on television.
For example, Touched By An Angel, which a lot of
people liked for its family friendliness and running
theme that “God loves you” never pointed to Jesus
as the answer. For this and other reasons, they could
be referring to the god of any religion.
There was Christian radio, of course. I found
Adventures in Odyssey very entertaining with good
Christian teaching and values, but as much as I
loved it – and still do – it was and is geared toward
kids. I thought it would be great if there were some-
thing like this directed at an older audience. Because
Christian radio was an outlet that already existed, it
would be our first and primary area of ministry: a
Christian audio drama that was geared toward a col-
lege-and-career audience.
Now What?
Much of what you hear on Christian radio is
teaching and preaching from pastors who have
churches or from people who have large organiza-
tions as a foundation. But what if you don’t have a
BY
L
ARRY
A
MON
church or a large organization and you have a min-
istry that you feel called to start in Christian radio?
“Why not start non-traditionally?” suggested
Paul Buchanan, my friend and partner in the min-
istry. Although the Internet was new to a lot of peo-
ple, as tech junkies, it already was a way of life for
us. A few years earlier, Paul and I hosted an Internet-
based movie review show, Wired for Cinema. At the
time, video over the Internet was new technology.
We did this just for fun as part of a project that a
local Internet service provider created called ISP-TV.
They used video technology named See-You C-Me
and Real Video, which had just come out.
Unfortunately, the whole ISP-TV idea crashed a
few months later. Maybe it was bad marketing or
bad timing, but the concept of having a show strictly
on the Internet seemed more feasible now, especially
if it was just audio and didn’t require the bandwidth
that video did.
Now that we had an idea and an outlet for shar-
ing it, I started putting things together. I e-mailed
two other Christian friends, Darrell Winston and
Neil Johnson, and asked for their help. With a call
from God, Paul, Darrell, Neil and I started the min-
istry. We began the long and tedious process of set-
ting up a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, Christian
Walk Alive (CWA, www.christianwalkalive.org). CWA
would be the umbrella under which we would make
Christian entertainment that would encourage the
audience to be more alive in its Christian walk.
Next came the purchase of equipment, and then
Paul and I sat down to build a story and characters
for the show. We spent hours choosing character
names and deciding on a general idea for a continu-
ing drama. I suggested to Paul that we name the
town Progress and we call the show A Work in
Progress, since we are all a work in progress spiritual-
ly and the show would be about people living and
working in the town of Progress. The hard part was
done … all we needed were voice actors.
We cast Christian friends ranging from semi-pro-
fessional actors to people with no experience at all.
Although it was a little challenging, I stuck to one
T
wenty years ago, if you wanted to start a company, it
took a good idea and a lot of capital. However, in the
late 1990s, that changed. All you needed was an
idea that was technical in nature and a website and boom,
you’re a dot.com millionaire. Even though a dot bomb fol-
lowed a few years later, it created a new and easy way for
entrepreneurs to enter the marketplace. But could I apply this
to starting a ministry in Christian broadcasting? That’s the
question I pondered in the summer of 2000.

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rule: we used only Christians as voice actors. I
thought this was important because the actors might
one day become role models to the listeners.
Next we rolled out www.aworkinprogess.org, and
then everything was ready to go. After a month or so
of writing and recording, we started putting Real
Audio episodes on the website. With a studio that
was only a few microphones in my bedroom, and a
web page, we were broadcasting! But we didn’t have
much of an audience at first.
You Mean We Have to Pay for It?!
At an NRB chapter conference, Bryan Mager, a
fellow member of our ministry, and I learned that
Christian radio worked much differently than we
had thought. You had to pay the radio station to air
your ministry’s program; the commercials didn’t pay
for your broadcast. About a year later, Oneplace.com
made an offer to host our program on its website. It
was going to be a bit harder to get the funds, but
Oneplace aired all of Christian broadcasting’s big
names, such as Focus on the Family, Chuck Swindoll
and many more.
In the beginning, we knew money would be
somewhat of a challenge. The money for micro-
phones, mixers, software and the cost of running a
website had to come from somewhere. But we decid-
ed we needed to do it to get the exposure and a larg-
er audience.
It’s been two years since we’ve been broadcasting
on Oneplace.com. After receiving the listener reports
from Oneplace, Paul was confident we did the right
thing. In the meantime, we have had offers from
Christian radio stations to air A Work in Progress and
we’ve even had some international interest. But we
didn’t have the money necessary because we were
still finishing the legal paperwork from the IRS. We
have only recently completed the process of becom-
ing a legally recognized nonprofit corporation.
A Work in Progress is our primary focus for now.
According to numbers provided by Oneplace, the
show has about 700 listeners a month. We want to
continue broadcasting on the Internet, because it’s a
whole new outlet for reaching people. We also want
to raise the money necessary for broadcasting on
Christian radio so we can reach the already plugged-
in millions of listeners there. And although we are
focusing on the audio drama right now, other forms
of media definitely are in our future, including
movies and animation. Our goal is to make
Christian entertainment that is relevant and real.
Did You Say Entertainment?
I’ve called what we’re doing Christian entertain-
ment. But what do I mean by that? We live in a
world where many people feel the need to be con-
stantly entertained or bombarded with noise. This is
not what we want to provide. We want to use media
to spread the Gospel, to edify believers and to help
Christians with their daily walk.
We don’t want to be just noise nor do we want
to divert people from thinking. But people usually
don’t go to a movie theater planning to learn and
grow. They want to enjoy the film. We want people
to enjoy the media we create, but in a fun and godly
way – enjoying it for what it is while experiencing
the Gospel and learning how to deal with life issues
using biblical responses. Also, we want people to
learn that God is the Source of those responses and
He is accessible to us personally through Jesus.
Hard Work and God’s Blessings
This wasn’t how I thought Christian radio min-
istries started and I guess for the most part it isn’t.
Maybe now that we’ve done it, it can help pave the
way for other ministries to get started. Don’t misun-
derstand, this was not as simple as it sounds and it
has taken a lot of work. In fact, everyone involved
gives a lot of his time and all of us have regular day-
time jobs.
I spend many hours weekly writing, editing and
planning. Moreover, coordinating recording times
for all of the voice actors can be very challenging.
Many of us who are involved have donated all of the
funding required so far. One reason for this is that
we lack fundraising skills. According to Paul,
“Fundraising isn't as easy as it seems … asking peo-
ple you know for money (like your church), is an
interpersonal barrier that needs to be crossed.”
Using the dot.com idea, it didn’t take hundreds
of people or tens of thousands of dollars to start. It
did, however, take a lot of hard work. But God has
blessed us. One of the best blessings is receiving let-
ters from listeners telling us how the ministry has
blessed them. I pray that God will continue to use
this ministry for His glory, continually using us as
works in progress.
Larry Amon is co-creator of A Work in Progress. Contact
him at amon@umbc.edu.