Feedback “Evidence of a growing spiritual hunger” across the Middle East, says Christian broadcaster as it marks its 20th anniversary
Viewer responses to SAT-7’s Christian broadcasts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have risen threefold in just five years, from an average of 270 a day in 2010 to well over 800 a day in 2015. Not only is this undoubted evidence of a growing spiritual hunger across the region, but such is the pace of growth that SAT-7 expects that those responses will reach 2,000 a day by 2020.
The common theme that underpins these calls, emails and social media contacts is that people across the MENA are crying out for worth, meaning and peace. Frightened children are crying out for peace. Women are crying out for value. Angry young men are crying out for meaning. And persecuted Christians are crying out for the strength to face each day.
SAT-7, which made its first broadcast 20 years ago, on 31 May, is at the forefront of hearing these cries and responding positively to them through its anniversary Answer the Cry campaign. Its programmes now reach 15 million people on five channels from four Middle Eastern studios in three languages – Arabic, Farsi (Persian) and Turkish. They encourage isolated and persecuted believers and introduce the Gospel to people who have never heard it before. Of the 500 million people who live in MENA, fewer than 10% have ever met a Christian, but more than 90% have access to satellite television.
Answer the Cry focuses on four particular areas and asks UK Christians to help answer those cries. They are, firstly, the Cry for Worth, from MENA women many of whom suffer from the lower status imposed upon them.
Secondly, the Cry for Strength, from the persecuted church where only 4% of the region’s population is Christian. Thirdly, the Cry for Meaning, from young men in an area with the highest unemployment rate in the world and where 50% of the young men (according to Youth Policy) simply cannot afford to get married and have a family. And finally the Cry for Peace, from children across the war-torn region who have suffered devastating emotional and psychological harm.
SAT-7’s founder, Dr Terence Ascott, said “In the past two decades, many conflicts have overtaken or drawn in more than half the countries SAT-7 serves, Iraq and Syria in particular. But these conflicts, and extremism in the name of religion, have only increased the profound spiritual hunger for our programming.
“SAT-7 is enabling the Church to be salt and light in society, to be a prophetic voice and show a different way forward. This is a prime time for us as a ministry and it comes at a time when political Islam has been discredited and people are looking for answers to man’s inhumanity to man.
“It is a fantastic time for us to available in millions of homes that are totally inaccessible to other forms of witness, with a Gospel of love, peace, hope and reconciliation.”
For more information go to sat7uk.org/answerthecry