M. Christine Benner
David Kochsmeier hosts Life With God Broadcast, a radio show playing 30 minutes of preaching, teaching, and a few hymns each week. David is usually the one preaching and teaching. I asked him what he considered the program to be.
â€œCertainly not a duty,â€ he answered, leaning back on the chair. â€œAnd not a business, though there must be business sense.â€ He thought about it a moment. â€œThe best word to describe the Life With God Broadcast is an opportunity. An opportunity to proclaim the gospel of Jesus.â€
Seven radio stations (including one in Puerto Rico) carry the Broadcast each week. The projected number of people within reach of those seven stations is 30 million. Not all of those 30 million people tune in, admits Kochsmeier. But the potential is thereâ€”this is the opportunity.
Weekly, Kochsmeier records in his in-home studio. His messages spring from the perspective of Anabaptist understanding â€œin a way the broader community can relate to.â€ As he preaches, he imagines his listener: a faithful supporter driving to church, a mental health patient seeking hope, a woman in prison, a teenager flipping channels on the car radio, an elderly man in a retirement homeâ€”any soul who has stumbled onto the program and waits long enough to be touched.
Although Life With God Broadcast began in 1962, Kochsmeier got involved 11 years ago almost by accident when he ran into Earl Anders at Spruce Lake Retreat. Knowing Anders was considering stepping down from his radio position, Kochsmeier inquired about the search for a replacement. Anders read this as a sign of interest and took Kochsmeierâ€™s name to the board as a candidate. Kochsmeier was offered the job. After negotiating some working conditions with the board of Steel City Mennonite Church, where he was serving as pastor, Kochsmeier accepted and has done both ever since.
Years ago, Kochsmeier entered Hesston College as a pre-med major. Everyone, including Frankâ€”his hometown barberâ€”was proud that this Arizona farm boy was going to be a medical doctor. But Kochsmeierâ€™s plans began to change. He soon realized that he wanted to be a pastor. Going home for break, he wondered how he would break it to his friend, the barber, who had been so proud, so attentive. Avoidance worked for a while, but a coincidental street meeting with Frank brought the issue to a head.
â€œI want to come over to see how the doctorâ€™s doing!â€ Frank told Kochsmeier. â€œHowâ€™re the studies going?â€ The young man braced his nerves and told Frank he had changed majors. He expected Frank to try to persuade him to change his mind. But that wasnâ€™t what happened.
â€œThatâ€™s really great,â€ Frank told the young man. â€œDoctors help people live for ninety years; pastors help people live for an eternity.â€
â€œI took that as my confirmation of a call, and I havenâ€™t looked back since. As long as God chooses to use me,â€ he said, â€œIâ€™ll be glad to serve. I feel so humbled to be used in this way. The opportunity to have my life, my voice, intersect with other people is very rewarding, humbling, and exciting.â€
For Kochsmeier, itâ€™s all about trust. His work on the radio is mostly one-sided. He talks into the microphone, trusting someone is listening, trusting God is working through his words. There have been signs of success: letters, monetary gifts, prayer. â€œDonâ€™t think we can judge success on dollar amounts,â€ Kochsmeier said, â€œSuccess is lives being touched and transformed that will be in Heaven because of it. I doubt that, this side of Heaven, Iâ€™ll ever know that.â€
Life With God Broadcasts
Proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.