By: Katie Sobiech
May 17th was a special day in Cuyahoga Falls. The rain cleared just in time for a ribbon cutting, welcoming the TCT (Total Christian Television) Network’s Prayer Center. Garth and Tina Coonce, Founders of the TCT Network, an international Christian Broadcasting network, came to celebrate.
“We have 8 Prayer Centers in major cities across the U.S. and wanted to have a center here in the Akron/Canton/Cleveland area. Calls will come in here from all around the world,” Garth Coonce said.
They hope to have volunteers at the Prayer Center 24 hours a day.
“A lot of people are hurting and lonely and don’t have someone to pray for them. They may not have a pastor, but they can call here and that person can be their prayer partner,” Garth Coonce said.
Along with the Prayer Center a Television Broadcasting Network with a variety of programs, including Joyce Meyer, John Hagee, Charles Stanley and more will be in a million and a half homes in Northeast, Ohio.
City of Vision
Local church leaders, ministers and city workers showed up to celebrate the special day.
Beverly Hils, a woman in her 80’s with a big heart for God, made it out to show her appreciation as well.
“I’ve pastored across the United States and in foreign lands for 60 years,” she said. She and her husband built 10 churches, and her roots go back to the Azusa Street Revivals in California, where her father had her preaching at just 14 years old.
Local pastors mentioned noticing something special about Cuyahoga Falls.
“It’s ironic because Cuyahoga Falls is the city where one of the first major television ministries was born. It was literally just a few blocks away,” Stuart Bailey, Minister at Word of His Grace Fellowship in Cuyahoga Falls, said.
“Rex Humbard had the first televised church service. He was an innovator with TV and a man before his time with technology and all of that. God’s favor seems to be in this area, so we’re happy about it,” Pastor John Rassiccii of Word of His Grace Church, said.
It began in Cincinnati in 1977 as one couple’s dream and desire to create a Christian television station and bloomed into a nationwide initiative.
“We felt called to build a station that would promote the Christian Gospel 24 hours a day, that would have programming for children, youth and adults,” Garth Coonce said.
They left their successful careers behind in pursuit of this spirit-led endeavor.
Now, approximately 1.5 billion viewers receive the TCT Network worldwide, including the U.S., Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, India, and the Philippines – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Their four-fold purpose includes:
- Evangelism – Broadcasting the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world
- Education – Teaching and edifying the Body of Christ
- Entertainment – Providing a Bible-based alternative that is wholesome
- Enhancement- Promoting unity among local churches in each market
Heart for Local Ministry
“The TV Network is a national ministry tool with a local ministry heart. We try to work locally as much as possible,” Gary “Judge” Brown II, Station Manager, said.
“We invite as many local pastors that want to, to be involved in our programs,” Garth Coonce said.
One program, “Ask the Pastor”, invites a panel of local pastors to take live phone calls from viewers.
“Someone will call in and ask a question and we’ll have pastors from different denominations answer the question,” Garth Coonce said.
“We’ll have a Baptist, Methodist, and Pentecostal…whatever the case may be -different denominational lines on our program. Unity is very important,” Brown said.
And it doesn’t end there.
“They get together at lunch and find out that they’re not that different after all. They may have a few different opinions or viewpoints here or there and that’s fine. They discuss and learn from one another, share and debate, but there’s a basic foundational unity of those who believe the Bible and believe in Jesus Christ,” Tina Coonce said.
“As far as Christian TV networks, I’ve never seen a network more local-church oriented,” Bailey said, “They are not only asking for the support of the local churches and pastors, but are serving them in many ways and giving them opportunities to have a voice in their area, and nationally, through their network,” Bailey said.
“They celebrate the local church as the center of the Kingdom of God – the place where Kingdom work is done. They honor that, and they honor pastors,” Pastor John Rassiccii said, “It’s not just people that are Charismatic and the Hollywood glitz, but they’re looking for real substance with Christians and churches, so it’s a very refreshing thing.”
Connecting with the Community
“Some of the programs connect business leaders with the community as well. The community affairs programs will bring encouragement as far as their business tactics and type of business, to allow people to understand what they’re there for and what they’re about as well,” Lorie Brown, Station Manager, shared.
Volunteers are needed for both the Prayer Center and upcoming production studio.
“It’s a volunteer thing, but you’re a world-changer and answering the call to help someone,” Judge Brown said.
“When we get our studio we’ll have openings for production volunteers to come in. We give them training on how to run cameras, audio, and multimedia stuff, so it’s a great opportunity,” Lorie Brown said.
“It’s also a perfect opportunity for students entering into that field of production, or broadcasting, to learn and do an internship,” Lorie Brown said.
More to Come
“We opened the Prayer Center here in Cuyahoga Falls which is a prototype of what we will have when we build the brand new production facility,” Judge Brown said.
They are currently looking for a larger building (in the area) to set up a production studio and Prayer Center, which will have state of the art, high-definition TV equipment. This is where they will produce live, local and national shows that will be in 34 million households across the nation.
“Our hope is to connect the community with the vision of bringing hope to our state as well as the nation,” Lorie Brown said.
Time to Celebrate
“Celebration” is another popular TCT Network event.
“Celebration is a multi-church gathering hosted by a church in the area. They’ll have guest speakers or some of the other local pastors and worship teams get together,” Bailey said.
“We’ll bring a remote truck to a church and have a celebration on the road, doing a live show,” Judge Brown added.
“The priority right now is to get the word out and connect with as many local churches as possible, because it’s going to take local church support,” Bailey said.
“We’re happy they are here. We’re blessed to have this station,” Pastor John Rassiccii said.
For more information on the TCT Network, visit http://www.tct.tv or contact Judge Brown, the station manager at (330) 931-9055.