Nondenominational Fresh Fire church to start Internet radio station to spread gospel
A Fayette County church pastor is starting an Internet radio station to minister to people across the world.
UpReach Radio is expected to be up and running this spring, said Pastor Adam Lawson, who founded Fresh Fire, a nondenominational church located along National Pike in the Brier Hill section of Redstone Township.
The 24/7 online radio station, housed at www.upreachradio.com, will stream Christian music and ministry programs. In addition, Lawson plans to feature pastors from near and far who will contribute to the broadcast.
He's working alongside his friend Donny Hinkle, pastor at Harvest Baptist Church in Maryland. Hinkle will manage the two radio station offices, one expected to be housed in Uniontown and one in Maryland.
“It'll be based in the Uniontown area, but I know this is something that will reach around the world,” Hinkle said. “(We're) told to go and preach the gospel — that's our mandate. I believe that God has called us to touch the world.”
UpReach Radio will be entirely online, accessible from any Internet-connected device such as an iPhone or computer.
“The reason we're doing this is because we're trying to go ahead of technology,” Lawson said. “Why not take your radio with you? Why not take ministry with you? ... We're literally able to take the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world and never leave our office.”
UpReach is intended to offer ministry to people at all hours — “for us to be there when they need us,” Lawson said.
In the future, Hinkle said he'd like to broadcast live on Sundays from local church services.
UpReach pledge drives in November raised about $10,000 for equipment, which is expected to cost $25,000, Lawson said. In one night alone, the drive drew 58,000 viewers.
The pastors will host more pledge drives in 2014, he said, with a total goal of $200,000 to equip the station with enough money to fund its first year of operation.
Fresh Fire member Michele Ready, who serves as a pastor in the pastoral care department, said she assisted with the pledge drive. To her, UpReach is “the future of Christian broadcasting,” especially considering that many newer cars are already equipped to stream Internet radio, she said.
“I'm just really excited about UpReach,” Ready said. “I think it's on the forefront of what Christian radio's going to be in the future.”
With the 2-year-old Fresh Fire church, Lawson broadcasts “Fire Moment,” an Internet program broadcast on weekdays. It began as a way for Lawson to encourage his congregation during the week, but it quickly spread on the Internet to 24 nations.
“It started with our congregation sharing the message on Facebook, Twitter and then it took off. By social media alone, it caught. And people like the presentation,” Lawson said. “Now it's more than just a webcam. We have a whole media team. It's a big production now. It's amazing what God has done.”
Lawson said UpReach is separate from Fresh Fire church and Fire Moment, and Fire Moment will continue.
Rossilynne Skena Culgan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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