Web radio station gives smaller churches high-tech way to spread Gospel

(Matt McClain/ The Washington Post ) - Lionel Green and his wife, Leslie, run WBGROnline from their home in Lanham. They are also an award-winning recording act.

(Matt McClain/ The Washington Post ) - Lionel Green and his wife, Leslie, run WBGROnline from their home in Lanham. They are also an award-winning recording act.

As a child, Pastor Wayne Green saw his father use radio and television to build Free Gospel Deliverance Temple into one of the largest Pentecostal ministries in the Washington area.

Now the 56-year-old leader of the Armor of Light Christian Worship Center in Bowie is charting his own evangelistic course via cyberspace by putting his sermons and programs on the Internet three times a week.

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Lionel and Leslie Green, a husband and wife gospel duo, discuss their Internet radio station, WBGROnline, and why their programming has found success streaming on the web.

Lionel and Leslie Green, a husband and wife gospel duo, discuss their Internet radio station, WBGROnline, and why their programming has found success streaming on the web.

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“It is like sowing seeds. You just scatter the good news. You don’t know whose ears it is falling on,” said Green, one of the pastors that can now be heard at WBGROnline.com, “I look at Internet radio as just one avenue to reach people with the message of the good news.”

Green is one of nearly two dozen pastors who have signed on to WBGROnline, an online station owned by Lionel and Leslie Green, an award-winning gospel duo whose station is part of a trend toward religious programming on the Internet. (They are not related to the pastor.)

Lionel Green launched the station in May 2012, using the call letters of a popular Baltimore gospel radio station that had recently gone off the air. Today, WBGROnline offers 21 national and local religious programs around the clock.

“We wanted to do something for ourselves and other recording artists, but in the process we learned that there were ministers, pastors and churches who also wanted a platform” on the Internet, said Green, who operates the station with his wife from their Lanham home. They also have a recording studio there. The couple’s music has been featured nationally on Black Entertainment Television and The Word Network, and they have worked with some of the top names in gospel, including Tonex, Richard Smallwood, Deitrick Haddon, Broderick Rice and Kevin McFadden.

Leslie Green said the launch of the Internet station is a natural extension of the couple’s two decades of singing, recording and full-time ministry. Lionel Green added: “We got tired of hearing the same music and not hearing our music.”

James Davis, a veteran gospel recording artist who is the station’s program director, said that he used to work for a “terrestrial radio station” but that all radio is now headed toward the Internet. “If you look at the major companies, like Radio One or CBS Radio, the majority of their ratings come from the Internet, versus people actually tuning in,” he said.

The Rev. Lezlie Downing, who also broadcasts on the station, said she always wanted to host a show about the intersection of business, faith and relationship because so often, she said, people of faith do not deal with financial matters until they get out of hand. Her program, “Stir Up Your Gifts,” airs Monday and Thursday mornings.

“All people, regardless of their title or their occupation, need an opportunity to talk about the things that bring us together,” Downing said. “If people talk about their problems before they become explosive, they can be helped.”

The Internet has also been a blessing for Silver Spring network engineer Adonis Adams, who recently launched the beta version of Christtube.com, an online portal for faith-based programming and information. He plans to officially launch it in about a month, he said.

Adams, a native of the District and a member of First Baptist Church of Glenarden, speaks powerfully about how he turned his life around, going from selling illegal drugs to entering the information technology industry, after he became a Christian.

“I am trying to connect to people where they are in their lives in a nontraditional manner,” said Adams, who came up with his spiritual alternative to YouTube after working in IT for more than 20 years.

Adams refers to his company as an extension of the “Great Commission,” when Jesus told the Disciples in Matthew 28 “to go into all of the world and preach the Gospel.

“With the Internet, we really can go to the entire world without worrying about geographical boundaries,” Adams said.

 
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