Mission Network News bids a fond farewell

By May 29, 2009

May29-5picInternational (MNN) — On May 29, Lee Geysbeek steps down from his position as Vice President for Broadcasting at Cornerstone University.  He will soon begin a new job as radio marketing director for Compassion International.

During his 34 years at Cornerstone, Geysbeek has overseen Christian radio stations for adults, teens, and kids, as well as Mission Network News. It was actually Geysbeek who brought Mission Network News to Cornerstone in January of 1995.

“All good things usually come directly from the hand of God, and not usually from our head or our ideas. And that’s exactly what happened with Mission Network News,” Geysbeek said.

Mission Network News had been operating in Seattle since 1991 and already was being aired on about 365 stations. When it became financially unsustainable, a friend of Geysbeek’s called him about acquiring the program.

“So Mark Moore called me and said ‘Hey, we’re looking for a home for this project…we don’t want to let it die; it’s too good to let that happen,'” Geysbeek explained.

WCSG, one of Cornerstone’s radio stations, was already airing the program at that time, and it was being well-received. After some prayer and discussion with university leadership, the decision was made to obtain Mission Network News.

Geysbeek recounts, “We’d actually been praying that God would bring something our way to kind of represent…our desire to have a mission for the world and to prepare students here at Cornerstone to be missionaries, if you will, in all walks of life, whether it’s here in the United States or around the globe.”

Geysbeek is passionate about mission news partly because Christian radio often neglects that aspect of ministry. Another neglected area is radio ministry to children. Geysbeek believes it’s extremely important to reach children with the Gospel.

“Kids are just a very needy group,” he explained. “Where kids go (the hearts of kids) is typically where the nation goes. Barna did the research that is now quite famous, revealing that the majority of people who become believers do so between the ages of probably 5 and 14 years of age.”

Cornerstone University Radio decidedthat it wanted WCSG to focus on ministry to adults, but it also wanted to find a way to reach kids. The solution: HisKids Radio.

HisKids Radio functions as a sub-channel of WCSG. Kids can buy a special radio with a switch on it. With the flip of the switch, they can listen to either HisKids Radio, or a regular Christian radio station.

“So, mom and dad have their station, the kids have theirs, and many times the twain will meet somehow in some way, shape, or form,” Geysbeek explained. Together, HisKids Radio and Mission Network News represent some of Geysbeek’s life passions.

“I think God has always given me a heart for the underdog or the underserved in one way. Certainly the story of missions and missionaries is one area, and I think kids is another,” he said. “So those really have been two of my heart’s passions in my tenure here at Cornerstone.”

These passions will carry over into Geysbeek’s new work at Compassion International.

“This was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made,” he said.  However, he can see how God has directed his path over the years.

“You’re talking about going to an organization that is about kids, and it’s about people who are underserved. And that really was kind of a tipping point for me, to realize that God kind of had stirred my heart to say, ’34 years is a long time, and it’s time for something new for you and new for the organization,'” Geysbeek said.

“So I’ll be going to Compassion International. It’s about kids, and it’s about the underserved, and that really rings true with my heart.”

Geysbeek will be able to stay in West Michigan and work from his home. However, the new job will still be a big adjustment, and he would appreciate prayer.

“I’m going to steal a phrase from the president of Cornerstone University, Joe Stowell,” said Geysbeek. “I think I’m going to be ‘drinking from a fire hose’ for the next three months, trying to absorb what a team has been doing for 6 or 7 years. And it’s a great team of people.”

Although the economic crisis is bad enough in the United States, it’s even worse in countries that had fewer resources to begin with.  Geysbeek will be working with radio stations that want to support Compassion International, connecting listeners with needy
children who need sponsorship. He wants to do his part to help meet as many of the world’s physical and spiritual needs as possible.

“I want to make sure that I don’t cause the Compassion International team to slip at all as I try to get up to speed with what they’re doing,” he said.

Pray for Geysbeek as he adjusts to his new role at Compassion.

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