As SAT-7 celebrates its 25th anniversary, International CEO Rita El-Mounayer reflects on how God called her to the ministry and on being in tune with Him for its future. Twenty-five years ago, Rita (pictured below) was standing at a crossroads. She had a job with FEBA radio that she was very happy with, but a chance meeting in Beirut with SAT-7 Founder Terence Ascott and colleagues opened a door she was initially hesitant to walk through.
The SAT-7 team were looking for broadcasters for their first programmes and challenged Rita to apply as a writer and presenter for their children’s show. Rita felt underqualified and was wracked with doubt. She voiced her concerns but also shared how these had prompted her to pray in earnest: “I felt God give me a vision: the call of serving the children of the Middle East and North Africa through SAT-7. As I was praying, I saw children in the streets, barefoot, eating ice cream and it dripping on their clothes. I saw children in their school uniforms going off to school, and I saw lots of children having fun. And I felt love for them all! It was like that love you feel when it is so strong you cannot take it any more, because you love so much that it hurts. “God gave me this huge love, and in my heart I heard Him tell me, ‘Rita, I don’t need your skills and I don’t need you to look good in front of the camera. All I need is for you to be a channel taking my love to these children.’”
Ultimately, she listened to God, and took up the challenge. Today, after becoming a highly skilled and much-loved TV presenter, and, later, holding senior director roles, Rita has been leading the ministry as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the last two years.
Prayer has continued to be a cornerstone of Rita’s life, and in her first year as CEO she instigated a weekly prayer time for all staff across SAT-7’s studios and offices via Zoom. And now, as SAT-7 reflects and evaluates areas of its ministry, praying together is key for increasing unity and participation across the ministry.
So how will SAT-7 develop over the next 25 years? Key work is underway on the next three-year strategy, but Rita admits, “If there is anything that 2020 has showed me, it is that we can plan all we want but we never know what is going to happen.
The most important thing is to focus on God, what He is calling us to do, and create content in a relevant, hopeful and encouraging way to bring His message to the region. Whatever technological advances will shape our ministry, we must continue to focus on our content and we must invest in talented people to do that.”
Over 25 years SAT-7 has become a trusted media ministry, and last year saw record audience engagement. Innovations such as SAT-7 PLUS, the MENA’s first Christian video-on-demand platform, and new social media and audience engagement strategies designed to build a dynamic online community of believers, create exciting new opportunities.
Seeing all that God has done through SAT-7 over its first 25 years, Rita says it is hard not to be thankful and optimistic about the future.25th Anniversary Appeal