What does it take to be a true Christian journalist? Veteran journalist Pastor Segun Babatope offers a guide in this excerpt from a message he delivered at the JFC Fellowship in 1999.
Journalists are the gatekeepers of information. If the Lord were therefore to change each and every one of us, imagine how positive the messages that we give will be upon the people.
The message that a journalist gives is very important. If society is very bad and upside down, we are to be held responsible, and if society is going to be transformed, we’ve got an active part to play.
This message titled “The Ministry of the Called” is based on the text from Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purposes”.
What does it mean to be a minister? A minister is one that serves. Jesus Christ said, “I am in thine midst like he had serveth, for the son of God did not come to be ministered unto but to minister and to give his life as a ransom for many”.
If God has ordained you to be a journalist, He didn’t make any mistake at all. He made you be a journalist because he knew in his wisdom and fire knowledge that you would be used by him to declare his message and that a point is coming that you would respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and you would give your life to Jesus Christ. Therefore, God takes you up and begin to use you.
Who are the called? The called are those the Holy Spirit convinces and enables to receive Christ. Such people have a new perspective, they have a new mindset in life. They trust in God, not in life treasures. They look to their security in heaven, not on Earth. You must understand, therefore, that there is a purpose and calling of God upon your life.
In the book of Esther, chapter 4, there are some similarities between the life of Esther and our own life and ministry. Esther had to risk her comfortable position as the queen to save her people, the Jews.
Haman, the chief of staff in King Ahazarus’ kingdom of Persia, was planning to eliminate the Jews because Mordecai had offended him. Esther was therefore approached to alert the king about the evil plan against the jews. Normally, the Jew was not supposed to see the king unless he requested to see her, but she took up the challenge saying “if I perish, I perish”.
Esther could have said, “Mordecai you are talking nonsense”. I’ve been waiting for a time like this to be the queen and now you want me to go and see the king without a prior appointment which will mean death”. But she didn’t say that. She said, “go and see the jews and tell them to fast for three days and three nights and if I lose my life in the process, so be it”.
The Lord saved us. The most important reason why God had saved us is that we can now be used as a contact point to reach out to other journalists and give them the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel of Christ is about the love of God for the lost. We are enjoined to through the preaching of the gospel bring them out of the fire before the judgement of God will come upon the world.
Through these messages, society and the world will change. That is why we are there to say, “Yes Lord, I will answer you “, or can say “no I am there to make my money”. “I am there so that the status that journalism gives, I too can be a part of it”.
We are the light of the word, a light that is put on a stand shines unto all in the house. God watches the life of every one of us. And unless you have passed through the crucible provided by the gospel, and your sins have been forgiven, and you have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit as a child of God, there is no way you can say that you are a royal priesthood, a chosen generation, a peculiar nation.
Our calling is very high. So as a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” we should show forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light. This call is very holy. It is distinct from the world that is filthy and corrupt.
Our calling is holy. We operate in the midst of journalists whose languages are very filthy and if care is not taken, we would become like them. Unless we allow the Lord to change our tongues and lips and we give ourselves to prayers and understand that though we are working with these people, our calling is different from theirs.
God has predestined that when we give our lives to Christ, we will be in their midst like light unto them and through our lives and what we profess, bring them into the kingdom of God.
The question is: have we been with Jesus Christ? In the places where we work, can people see us and know that we have been with Jesus Christ? Are we reflecting the calling of God upon our lives? We have to be faithful and true. Let others see Jesus in you.