The Tide® Ministry Embarking on Exciting Television Project in Albania
New Christian Discipleship TV Show Set in Café Will Help Reach More Young People with the Good News of Jesus Christ
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa.—The country of Albania operated under a communist regime that, for years, suppressed religion, forced the abandonment of church buildings and even removed the word “God” from their dictionaries.
Today, Christian missionaries are allowed a presence and the Albanian people are permitted religious freedom, but sadly, less than 1 percent of the population has embraced the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ.
“It is here that we at The Tide® (www.thetide.org) Gospel radio ministry see opportunity,” said The Tide Director Don Shenk.
Since 1946, The Tide ministry has recorded and broadcasted Gospel programming in eight countries on three continents in 25 heart languages spoken by millions of people in multiple regions of Albania, Bhutan, India, Kosovo, Nepal, Nigeria, Thailand and Zimbabwe. With more than 7,000 languages spoken worldwide and more than 2,000 people groups that have been unreached by the Good News of Jesus, the opportunities are tremendous.
The Tide has helped make it possible for multiple people groups to hear over radio airwaves the Gospel in the languages they were born to speak. But now, a new television project in Albania will open even more doors.
In 2015, The Tide ministry entered into a partnership with Radio 7 Albania and local pastors to produce and air Christian programs in the Albanian language. These programs, titled “Sipas Fjales,” or “According to the Word,” are being used as church-planting tools as pastors make disciples of listeners who respond to the Gospel. Cities within reach of the radio broadcasts include Gjakova, Prishtina, Gjirokaster, Shkoder and Tirana.
“The radio pastors we partner with are our ‘boots on the ground’ to provide listener care and coordinate discipleship and leadership training activities,” Shenk said. “The Gospel has been preached and listeners are eager.”
Following the effective radio outreach and discipleship the ministry has experienced in Albania, The Tide leadership is pressing on in Albania and will soon begin using television to reach a younger audience. The TV setting will resemble a coffee shop atmosphere that will feature local live music. A local, well-known pastor who has built relationships with Albanian Christians will lead discussions on various topics that young people face in Albania. Each episode will conclude with an opportunity to respond to the Gospel and a way for viewers to follow up.
“Each program will be set in a cultural context that today’s youth in Albania will recognize as their own,” Shenk added. “Our goal is that the Good News of Jesus Christ will be creatively shared to a media-focused generation of young Albanians, that they may have an authentic encounter with the living God.”
The Albanian television broadcasts will be carried on 12 cable networks reaching northern and southern Albania and parts of Kosovo. Additionally, programs will be streamed online—a platform already being used by The Tide radio pastor partners. As evidence of the interest in Albania, 135,000 people watched a Tide Gospel program through Facebook and YouTube this past January.
“Clearly people are hungry for this type of media,” said The Tide Development Director Mark Story, who has been speaking with donors here in the U.S. about the television project. “Some who are familiar with the work of The Tide ministry thought we were restricted to radio and are delighted to hear that our efforts are progressive, viable, nimble and responsive.”
Currently, two televisions seasons are planned in Albania, with a break between recording. The financial outlay for the both seasons is about $15,000—or approximately $600 per episode. This amount includes the pastors’ honorarium, TV production and camera shooting days. Live music will be provided by volunteers, and Radio 7 will cover broadcasting expenses.
“The opportunity to share the Good News in Albania is exciting,” Shenk said. “More exciting is the fact that radio listeners are responding to the Gospel and are being discipled as new churches are planted. The Tide ministry places high emphasis on presenting our Bible messages in a creative and culturally relevant method and in partnership with local Christian leaders already living and ministering in their own countries. These television programs in Albania have the ability to reach thousands of young people for Christ.”
Those who will be potentially impacted by the television program are much like Edlira, a radio listener in Tirana, Albania.
“I became a Christian some years ago but have had a hard time going to church,” she said. “My husband is against my new faith in Christ and is very violent whenever I mention God. I don’t know any other Christians and can’t read the Bible or other Christian books. I was so happy one year ago to find Radio 7. God fulfilled the desires of my heart to know Him more through the radio. Pastor H’s program has instilled in me a strong desire to know God more and to walk in His ways. I have learned that (God) guides us through the darkest moments of our lives.”
For more information about The Tide broadcast projects, history, radio programs around the world, the “Every Knee, Every Tongue” campaign, the “Have You Heard?” initiative, the weekly Global Update radio features or other news, visit its web site at www.thetide.org or its Facebook page. Read more about The Tide ministry and Don Shenk here.