Church of God Côte d’Ivoire: Speaking French, Broadcasting Hope
By John Walters
Côte d’Ivoire, formerly known as the Ivory Coast, is a French-speaking nation of over 23 million people. Nestled among 25 other French-speaking countries of West Africa, nearly 50 percent of its population is 25 years of age or younger. Although contributing factors to this discrepancy in demographic include HIV, AIDS, and war, this huge younger class is maturing and bringing a vibrancy and energy into the social fabric of Côte d’Ivoire that has great potential for the future.
The Church of God in Côte d’Ivoire recently celebrated its 20th year of ministry. If you were to walk into one of our congregations today, you would see for yourself the predominance of youth represented everywhere. In the music, among the greeters, in the preaching, and through the fellowship, children, youth, young adults, and families dominate the gathering of congregations across the land. These are exciting days. And the future is bright with the hope of Jesus in this land that is finding new vibrancy. Oh yes, many challenges exist on many fronts. But, it is impossible to visit one of our congregations and not sense hope in the voices and faces of people gathered to worship and fellowship together in the name of Jesus, the living God.
Over ten years ago, at the invitation of the Church of God in Côte d’Ivoire, CBH began discussions with leaders to dream about the possibility of a radio venture in the French language in West Africa. Those discussions led to the construction of a small, efficient, quality recording space on the property of the Church of God in Yamoussoukro. Keenly aware of the demographics of the country, leaders made the decision to target our programming toward young people, specifically, and the issues they face in everyday life.
The weekly broadcast, blanketing most of the country, immediately began to gather a listening audience. Produced in a conversational style, the panel of on-air voices each week discusses the issues most specifically facing the young people of Côte d’Ivoire today. Providing response mechanisms and follow-up with listeners is a key part of the strategy, not only communicate to people the hope of Jesus, but also to interact with those who seek deeper relational connection. This interaction is continually evaluated, seeking to create ways that develop relationships and the potential for ongoing ministry with listeners.
Now in its second decade, the CBH team in Côte d’Ivoire has grown into a vibrant, young, creative force for hope in West Africa. Three on-air personalities bring a vitality to each broadcast. Two talented, well-trained, and skilled engineers make sure that the programs are produced with the quality and presence that communicates a clear message of hope to the growing audience. Additional leadership from the Church of God at-large provides guidance and support for the direction of the ministry as it moves forward.
We at CBH want to say a special thank you to those of you who have provided, and continue to provide, prayerful and financial support to this vital effort. We were recently able to visit our team in Côte d’Ivoire in person. We met with them, watched them in action as they prepared programming for the weeks ahead, ate together, and prayed together for all their efforts. We were also able to carry with us some much-needed new equipment—technology that replaces pieces from ten years ago that had served well, but needed repair and replacement. This ability to keep our team equipped for ministry is a direct reality because of your financial support. Thank you so much! Please continue in your faithfulness. Any gift, great or small, will serve well the kingdom of God because of one major reality for communication of the gospel: even yet today, no medium, dollar for dollar, can match that of radio and Internet broadcast. This is especially true of the developing world.
Thank you for your prayer. Thank you for your support. Thank you for considering a gift today. It is an investment well-made. The work of CBH in Côte d’Ivoire is the perfect witness to the fruitfulness of your investment.
Article originally published in the Spring 2018 issue of People to People, a newsletter of the ministry of CBH: Christians Broadcasting Hope. Learn more at www.cbhviewpoint.org.