(originally published in Lifeword’s June 2015 newsletter)
In 1965, when Harold Morris recorded the first broadcast of the Harvest Gleaner Gospel Hour from the living room of his home in Conway, Arkansas, he could not have imagined the Lifeword Media Ministries of 2015. A man with incredible vision, a burden for the lost and a desire to be used of God, Morris used the best technology available to fulfill the Great Commission.
In a 1969 Gleaner article, Bro. Morris challenged readers to “make full use of the best technical means of communication…Not to take advantages of these opportunities will be tragic, not only for us, but for a lost and disillusioned world. Advances in technology are revolutionizing the entire world in our time. In the face of this, we must recognize that too many of our efforts are still mired in yesterday’s organizations, programs and traditions…What are we doing to prepare our Christian young people in radio drama, program production, music, writing and engineering? To fall behind the times, to use means not equal with the task is like using the pick and shove to build our highways…We are under orders. Our risen Lord has commanded: ‘Go, preach, make disciples.’”
Harold Morris was the first missionary commissioned by the BMA (then the NABA, North American Baptist Association); consequently, he understood completely the importance of radio ministry to missionaries, saying “…one radio broadcast can reach more people per week with the gospel than any missionary family can possibly do.” He established the long-standing relationship with Trans World Radio (TWR), which still continues today; he sent music, sermon and Bible study tapes all over the world (in English, Spanish and Portugese); and he sought after the highest-powered radio stations in America and abroad on which to broadcast.
On Sunday, November 8, 1970, at the age of 45, he died in a Little Rock hospital from complications of a weak heart. Several months prior to his death, that day had been declared Harvest Gleaner Hour Day, the first radio ministry special emphasis day for BMAA churches. He was buried in Crestlawn cemetery, just east of Conway, Arkansas. From his fervent prayer to reach more lost people in August of 1965 to his death five years later, his strongest desire was to be used of God for kingdom work. That same desire was and is shared by the HGH/Lifeword Executive Directors that followed in his footsteps.
(Part Three in next month’s newsletter)