WGTS 91.9 Watches God Impact Hundreds at Night of Hope
Story by Lisa Krueger and Jerry Woods / Photos by Vanessa Marie Studios
A record 2,000-plus people attended WGTS 91.9 FM’s sixth annual Night of Hope, one of the station’s key evangelistic pushes. Immanuel’s Church in Silver Spring, Md., hosted. This year the event started on Friday with a special broadcast dubbed the Day of Hope.
“Day of Hope was created specifically to allow listeners (not able to attend Night of Hope) the opportunity to be part of the celebration,” says Brennan Wimbish, WGTS program director. “We pre-recorded and took listener stories of how they'd seen hope in their lives.”
Area pastors, national speakers and Contemporary Christian artists, like Amy Grant, shared moments of experiencing hope. “We created several one-minute vignettes from these interviews that played throughout the day,” says Wimbish.
This year’s Night of Hope featured Laura Story, a Christian music artist and worship leader. Her songs, such as “Blessings” and “Mighty to Save,” seem tailor-made to match listeners’ stories. As the mother of three small children and a wife who was at her husband’s side through treatment and recovery for a brain tumor, Story connected in a very tangible way with listeners experiencing their own struggles, offering hope and encouragement. She even joined station staff in the studio to share her hope story and some live music.
Story was also very honest: “At the end of the day, I can’t guarantee you that God is going to solve all of your problems and tie them up all neatly with a big, pretty bow on top. We continue to need God to be with us, to help us through our daily lives as we face problems.”
Chaplain's Department Grows
Terry Johnsson, WGTS’s chaplain for the past 12 years, offered a well-recognized voice for many listeners. Johnssson shared stories of how God led in his young life—learning difficulties, struggling high school grades, and eventually becoming a White House Honor Guard and earning a doctoral degree. He told the audience to know that God will always come through so that we can stand up and testify to His working in our lives. He finished the evening by telling of his struggle with losing weight, of going from size 60 jeans to size 34.
In response to Johnsson’s message, more than 1,000 people filled out prayer cards, and several hundred came forward after the concert to talk and pray with staff.
During the service the WGTS staff introduced Kumar Dixit (pictured left), who will serve as the new chaplain starting in Auguest. He is looking forward to working with the team to do even more to impact the Washington, D.C., community. “The station has developed a deep and personal connection with listeners who are ready to be mobilized to make a difference in their communities,” he says.
For the first time, WGTS partnered with Adventist HealthCare, which provided the financial backing to cover the costs of bringing in a national artist and creating a first-class program. “To say that partnering with Adventist Health and Immanuel’s Church was key, would be a huge understatement,” says Jerry Woods, WGTS promotions director and Morning Show host. “It’s safe to say this event wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful without their investment in people’s lives in the D.C. area through the Night of Hope.
Offering hope to listeners is a primary goal for WGTS 91.9. In recent weeks, buses throughout several Maryland and Virginia counties have carried the message “Got hope? WGTS 91.9.” And, the station has just completed its spring fundraiser with the theme “Prayer = hope.”
Kevin Krueger, station general manager, shared, “I was personally moved by the number of people who experienced deep life change at Night of Hope. One gentleman shared with me how he’s tried to quit smoking multiple times. He told me, ‘I believe God can do it, but I don’t know if I can do it.”
Krueger adds, “This night was designed for hurting people, to give them encouragement that Jesus is the answer to facing struggles. People were being very vulnerable. My hope for them is that the change they made that night would be a change that lasts for the rest of their lives.”