SAT-7 TÜRK’s David Middleton
So what’s an Irishman doing in Turkey? The bottom line is a man’s calling to serve the Lord by sharing Christ with others. In this case, SAT-7 TÜRK’s David Middleton, born and raised in Northern Ireland, lived with his family in Turkey for nine years and helped launch a Turkish Christian satellite television ministry.
David’s faith journey is an interesting one. Responding to the message of a person witnessing on the streets of Edinburgh, David made a commitment to Christ as a 19-year old just before entering college. An architect by training and trade, David’s heart later turned to Christian ministry when God developed in him a growing desire to work cross-culturally.
In Istanbul in 2002, David, along with more than 20 Christian organizations–one-half Turkish, one-half international–formed what was originally called TÜRK-7. In 2010, after a few years of independent programming, the channel joined the SAT-7 Network as SAT-7 TÜRK. David has served as the channel’s Executive Director since its early days.
Of SAT-7 TÜRK David says, “We’ve been able to build a Turkish team and a Turkish board in a country where the Church is small, where there is a lot of spiritual prejudice but also where there is a lot of spiritual hunger. To have local ownership gives substantial credibility.” From the beginning, the goal was to make the Turkish channel as indigenous as possible.
Since a separate channel for SAT-7 TÜRK has not yet been acquired, SAT-7 TÜRK is currently producing 4 hours of programming per day, aired on the network’s Farsi language channel, SAT-7 PARS. This provides essential Christian content to Turkish- language speakers in the nation of Turkey and surrounding territories.
While about 300 Turkish television channels broadcast daily in Turkey, only minimal Christian programming is available. In a country where the Christian community is extremely small, access to Bible teaching and encouragement and information about Christian perspectives on practical life issues is desperately needed.
SAT-7 TÜRK’s operation on the SAT-7 PARS channel is good in that it establishes contact with the Church in Turkey and it’s helping David build the experience of his team, as well as a program archive. But this combined approach is merely a stepping-stone.
SAT-7 TÜRK has huge potential for greater spiritual impact in this strategic country of 72 million people at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. So the network is diligently working on official, financial, production levels to acquire an independent SAT-7 TÜRK satellite channel. When this occurs, SAT-7 TÜRK will be able to move from 4 to 24 hours of programming per day, better serving and building its audience. In addition, SAT-7 PARS will recapture 4 critical hours of daily exposure for its Farsi programming for Iranians.
In the meantime, SAT-7 TÜRK is launching its own new Turkish-language website, sat7turk.org, and will begin streaming on the Internet. New programming for women includes Slice of Infinity and The Way, and for children, a new puppet show called Mr. Curious. Also, Forty Foxes in My Head has been developed to examine challenging questions about human sexuality and other similar sensitive issues.
God is using an Irish Christian to share the Christian faith with Turkish people. In a way, it’s a picture of the global Body of Christ and an image of what heaven will someday be like.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved
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