In final letter, Adrian Rogers asks that Love Worth Finding radio & TV ministry continue
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (BP)--A letter that Adrian Rogers wrote for use in the event of his death is being mailed to contributors to his Love Worth Finding radio and TV ministry, making it clear he wanted the ministry to continue after he was gone.
"If you are reading this letter it means that God has called me into His glorious presence," the letter begins. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith, and am now in the presence of our dear Lord Jesus praising and worshiping Him."
In the letter, Rogers -- who died Nov. 15 after battling cancer and pneumonia -- says that while his "earthly work is completed," he penned the letter so that friends of the ministry could know what "would be on my heart if I could still speak to you today."
"My dear friend, the simplest way I could state it would be, that while the messenger is gone, the message must continue," the letter reads. "Today there are still millions of people who do not know our dear Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and who are in desperate need of His redeeming grace."
Launched by Rogers in 1987, Love Worth Finding is broadcast in more than 150 countries and can be heard 24 hours a day on the Internet. Even though Rogers was known as a quintessential Southern Baptist, his radio and television ministry provided a vehicle whereby millions of non-Southern Baptists worldwide came to recognize his unique, deep preaching voice. Love Worth Finding is broadcast Monday through Friday on radio and once a week on television.
Bill Skelton, executive vice president of Memphis-based Love Worth Finding, told Baptist Press that the ministry has more than 3,000 of Rogers' messages in the archives -- some of which have never aired.
"As far as radio is concerned, [the ministry] can conceivably go on until Jesus comes," Skelton said, adding that Rogers' sermons contained "timeless" biblical principles that will have the same meaning years from now as they do today.
"[But] television, because of technology and the dating of physical appearance, obviously is more dated. We have, in the planning stages now, television programs that have never been aired that will go through the end of 2008. At that time and at the pleasure of the [Love Worth Finding] board [of directors], we could bring in another television personality. It could be someone here in Memphis. It could be somebody from the outside."
Love Worth Finding is entirely separate from Bellevue Baptist Church, where Rogers served as pastor from 1972 until his retirement in March 2005. He died just eight months after his retirement at the age of 74.
Rogers wrote the 300-word letter in recent years at the urging of the Love Worth Finding board of directors.
"We said, 'If you were to go down in an airplane someplace, what would you want to say to our vast Love Worth Finding family and mailing list? And what would be your desire for the ministry?'" Skelton said.
Skelton called the future of Love Worth Finding "bright" and said some of the sermons could be repackaged into new series. For instance, he said Love Worth Finding staff have found that Rogers preached 172 sermons with "how to" in the title. Those will be aired as part of new series -- such as, "How to handle anger" -- in the future.
"We are calling on the radio and television station owners and managers and our constituency to continue to partner with us in getting out the Gospel," Skelton said. "That was his desire for this ministry after his home-going."
On average, Skelton said, Love Worth Finding receives 250 letters a month from people saying they were saved by listening to Rogers' messages. That number has been as high as 1,500 following the airing of special television programs -- such as the Bellevue singing Christmas tree or the Passion Play.
"There are many people around the world that really count Love Worth Finding as their church," Skelton said. "We have received letters from people wanting to order hymnals. At first I thought, 'Why in the world would a person want a hymnal?' And many have said that they open their home and invite all of their relatives and friends.... They say, 'When you sing, we sing. When you pray, we pray. When you give the invitation, we've had our neighbors and family members pray to receive Christ.'"
Skelton called Rogers the first of the "broadcast icons" to pass away -- that is, Christian broadcasters with well-known worldwide ministries that have died. He noted that other popular Christian broadcasters -- such as Charles Stanley, D. James Kennedy, Charles Swindoll, John MacArthur, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell -- are all over 70.
"There's really not a pattern to go by," Skelton said. "... Most ministries have not walked through this."
Rogers was the president and CEO of Love Worth Finding, as well as the chairman of the board of directors. The board will elect new leadership in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis is honoring Rogers' role in the growth of the school. According to a news release, within the last two years Rogers led Bellevue Baptist to donate 35 acres of land across from the church for use as a new seminary campus. Groundbreaking took place in October 2004, and the city of Memphis renamed the road between the church and the future site of the seminary "Dr. Adrian P. Rogers Boulevard."
Rogers also authorized the Adrian Rogers Adrian Rogers Center for Biblical Preaching, which is set to launch at Mid-America in August 2006 at the annual Founders' Day celebration.
Following is Adrian Rogers' final letter to Love Worth Finding contributors:
If you are reading this letter it means that God has called me into His glorious presence. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith, and am now in the presence of our dear Lord Jesus praising and worshiping Him.
While my earthly work is completed, I wanted you to know what would be on my heart if I could still speak to you today.
My dear friend, the simplest way I could state it would be, that while the messenger is gone, the message must continue. Today there are still millions of people who do not know our dear Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and who are in desperate need of His redeeming grace.
The need also continues to challenge and encourage the church to be about God’s call. And friends like you need the inspiration, strength and wisdom that only God’s eternal truth can provide.
So what does this mean for Love Worth Finding? It is my heart’s deepest desire that until Christ returns for His church, this ministry would continue to proclaim the truth of God’s word. That souls would be saved, believers strengthened and encouraged in the wonderful name of Jesus, and His life-giving, life-altering love be broadcast throughout the world.
Please know that the strength of this ministry was and is not Adrian Rogers. It is the power of the Holy Spirit working through the proclamation of His word and working through our leadership and Board of Directors to provide wisdom and direction in response to God’s leading.
None of that has changed. And my prayer is that you would continue, and even deepen, your support to ensure that the truth of God’s great love worth finding is proclaimed until Jesus returns.
My deepest heart felt thanks to you for your faithful support.
In the matchless name of Jesus our Savior,
Love Worth Finding