California radio program brings gospel to 500,000 listeners
Hundreds of South Asian people from California’s Bay Area have come to know Christ through a radio program hosted by Chris Nallan, pastor of International Christian Center Church of the Nazarene in San Jose.
Nallan was formerly an audio/video pastor at a large church in Gilroy, California, 30 minutes south of San Jose. It was a church of nearly 3,500, and when he moved to take over International Christian Center, it was a bit of a shock. There was no A/V, no sound, and just a handful of people. Nallan had a vision for the church to embody true community, to be a glimpse of “what heaven would be like.”
The International Christian Center holds services in English, Spanish, Korean, Hindi, and Telugu. The Bay Area is incredibly diverse, home to many Latin American immigrants as well as a large group of East and South Asian people.
Because of the church’s Hindi services, a local AM radio station approached Nallan about running a segment on Saturday nights, free of charge.
Originally, the church shared the time slot with a Hindu priest, but eventually the segment became theirs. The “show” runs almost like a church service, complete with worship, devotionals and messages from the gospel, and prayer. It averaged about 10,000 listeners.
“The South Asians, they love singing and dancing and love to worship,” Nallan said. “So we keep our songs upbeat.”
Nallan says the most important thing is prayer.
“We’re always open for prayer,” Nallan said. “We would always promote it, and say, ‘Whatever you’re going through today, call. God can help you.’ And we would give them scriptures and many people call. Many have come to know Christ.”
Nallan and his radio program have since moved stations to Bollywood 92.3, which reaches across the entire Bay Area in addition to San Jose. It is one of the largest Bollywood radio stations in the country, and Nallan’s Christian show has grown from 10,000 listeners to over 500,000.
Nallan believes the radio show’s growth confirms that God has been faithful to the call He placed on Nallan’s life to leave a large church and serve with a smaller, more intentional and international community.
“I truly believe that God had a purpose for us,” Nallan said. “His purpose was to reach out to the South Asian community, one that needed the gospel. I truly believe that God had a purpose for us to reach out to that community.”
Recently, the radio show traveled to Modesto, California, nearly 100 miles away, because they had been invited by a Hindu community that listened to their program. One of the hundred or so attendees said that some of the local Hindu priests had even been incorporating Christian messages into their own teachings.
Nallan sees it as an even greater confirmation that God was working through them to reach a community to which He clearly had called Nallan.
“Did we plan on being on the radio? No,” Nallan said. “They came to us and said they needed a voice from the Christian community just to fill in some space… I think God created that opportunity for us. So why not bring the gospel that is much needed in the South Asian community?”