By Tova Fruchtman
Don McCasland carries a world atlas with all of his important paperwork. He said he is always thinking about spreading the Gospel worldwide.
McCasland, an elder at the Church of Christ at 16th and Pile streets in Clovis, has been helping run a program that broadcasts a 25-minute sermon on television and radio stations across the country and around the world.
McCasland has been involved in the “Key to the Kingdom” program since the church began oversight of the Christian broadcast in 1995.
McCasland’s son, Bret, recently became the new voice of the program. He said his sermons will begin being broadcast in February.
“Our mission is to reach as many people as possible around the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said the younger McCasland, who lives in Amarillo and has been a preacher since 1987.
The sermons will be simple, he said, with the intent of reaching a non-Christian audience.
“God loves people. Jesus saves people. There is hope for people,” are some of the basic messages, Bret McCasland said. The radio and television shows are broadcast in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, 37 countries in Europe and seven countries in Asia and Africa.
Don McCasland and the four other elders of the Church of Christ raise and distribute the funds to pay for these broadcasts around the world.
The older McCasland’s binder is full of broadcast contracts he has signed with television and radio stations that send signals to places that include India, Canada and Scotland.
During the sermons, a phone number scrolls across the television screen, offering those interested in a free Bible study course.
At 11 p.m. each Sunday, five members of the Church of Christ in Clovis are at church. They are there to answer phones. Those who call in the United States reach the Clovis Church of Christ. Bret McCasland said the group receives 30 to 40 calls each week.
Fred Eichenberger and his wife have been two of those five trading the bed for the call center cubby each Sunday night. They have been volunteering to support “Key to the Kingdom” for about four years, Eichenberger said.
Eichenberger said people call from all over the United States.
“Some of them are people that are up for some reason, either sick or they’re depressed,” Eichenberger said. “Most of them are just wanting to learn about Jesus, and that’s what we’re really there for. And hopefully, they’ll be baptized.”
Along with the tests that get sent back often come letters. And callers also share how the preacher’s sermon reached them.
Don McCasland said he never imagined how much of the world the broadcasts would reach.
Right now, the older McCasland is pursuing broadcasting in Brazil. He said once they work that out, the “Key to the Kingdom” program will be broadcast on six continents.
“This is reaching the masses,” Don McCasland said. “There are other religious programs and they are all good. They’re real good. We might be a little bit more response driven. We never put it up any place into the world without giving people a toll-free number to call or an address to write to.”
“We want to study with everyone in the world at no cost to them,” he said.