We have updated our Privacy Policy to provide you a better online experience.

Blessings Beyond the Dial

Illinois AG’s New Life Media Network ministers to listeners in tangible ways.

A Christian radio network owned by the Illinois District Council of the Assemblies of God is reaching people for Christ across the state and beyond — on and off the air.

New Life Media Network, which is made up of WCIC and WBGL, covers 19 markets in Illinois, as well as parts of Indiana and Missouri. Additional coverage extending to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and the Quad Cities in Illinois and Iowa will begin next year. The stations also reach people in other parts of the nation and world through streaming. Listeners can hear the stations online or on a phone app.

Having such an outlet to share the gospel and to serve others is a huge blessing, according to Superintendent Phil Schneider.

“It serves as a great outreach arm for the district,” Schneider says.

God is working through the ministry in many different ways, from uplifting music and mission trips to answering listener prayers and assisting single mothers.

The network’s main tool for ministering is reaching through the radio airwaves. New Life Media Director Barry Copeland estimates the network has around 400,000 listeners. He believes radio is a nonthreatening way for non-Christians to learn more about the faith.

However, in an effort to deepen relationships in communities within the listener area, staff members have tried to spend more time outside the studio. Copeland is grateful for station personnel and volunteers who have a heart for serving.

“They want to touch lives face to face every day,” Copeland says.

Both stations serve single mothers in various ways. In addition to prayer and encouragement, staff and volunteers have provided car washes, oil changes, manicures, and haircuts. In 2015, the station helped 676 women via single mom events.

This summer, WBGL employees are traveling to 10 of the station’s markets to host free Backyard Bounce events for kids that feature bounce houses and live broadcasts. Last year, donors to Backyard Bounce gave more than $4,000 to Merci’s Refuge Pregnancy Resource Center.

WCIC partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters to recruit volunteer mentors or Lunch Buddies from three communities to meet with students. Jessie Browning, WCIC community engagement director, says these regular meetings provide students with a new friend to talk to about life.

“They’re a consistent presence in a child’s life, meeting with them once a week during the lunch hour, being a listening ear and letting the child know he or she is important,” Browning says. 

By connecting with people via the internet and through social media, the radio network has been inundated with prayer requests. Last year, online prayer centers answered 338,740 submitted prayer requests.

For Mother’s Day this year, WBGL staff asked listeners to submit the name and contact information of moms they thought could use an encouraging note. The station paired up nearly 500 moms with encouraging notes written by concerned listeners.

Currently, WCIC is encouraging listeners to bless restaurant servers with a larger than customary tip through a promotion called Been Tipped Over. The station has received dozens of stories from servers about how a tip answered prayer during hard times.

Jennifer Pallikkathayil

Jennifer Pallikkathayil is a public relations professional from Columbia, Missouri, who loves sharing stories of the work God is doing in people’s lives. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Iowa State University.