He was 24, and although he felt called to the ministry, Jim Campbell didn't feel called to become a senior pastor. But this DJ and radio spot salesman from Tennessee did know that earning a university degree from Southeastern was the next step.
Campbell, who moved himself, his wife and his two young children to Lakeland, Florida, in 1966, was inspired to enroll at Southeastern after attending an Assemblies of God church in Dyersburg, Tennessee. It was the music at the church that attracted him. Since Southeastern was affiliated with the Assemblies of God, Campbell figured the university would be a good place to study.
At Southeastern, former Associate Professor of Missions Ruth Breusch persuaded Campbell and his classmates that no matter what their occupation, they were to spread the gospel. Campbell was moved by the simple yet Biblically based way in which she presented the gospel. He also described the moving of the Holy Spirit in her class as phenomenal, adding that he hasn't felt the Spirit of the Lord moving like that in any place since. Campbell worked as a rock 'n roll DJ and ad salesman for a Lakeland radio station during his studies at Southeastern. His continued work in the secular world helped him put into practice ministry and Christian discipline that he was learning at Southeastern.
After Campbell graduated from Southeastern with a bachelor's degree in Bible, he became a senior associate pastor at the Lakeland church that grew into Carpenter's Home Church. Campbell served as a youth minister and music director at the church for nine years. Campbell returned to Southeastern to take music classes after he was tapped to serve as music director at Carpenter's Home Church. In Campbell's role as music director, he started three FM radio stations, including WCIE, which in 1976 became known as the first contemporary Christian radio station in the U.S. In 1989, Campbell bought two of the three radio stations at Carpenter's and formed Radio Training Network. The network, which is a nonprofit, has "training" in its name because its mission includes the training of high school and college students to enter Christian broadcasting. Radio Training Network facilitates internships for youths through its local radio stations.
Radio Training Network has grown to own or operate 17 Christian radio stations in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Missouri and the Carolinas. The network includes The Joy FM programming that's heard on 11 stations in Florida and online at the www.thejoyfm.com. Campbell, the CEO and President of Radio Training Network, said his Christian faith is crucial to his work. He relies on God for every day's activity, and he continually thanks God for the network's topnotch employees who number about 100.
Campbell, who's now in his 60s, credits Southeastern for building his faith. The school exposed him to the Word daily, and he was influenced through his relationships with members of the Southeastern community, including Breusch. Breusch, said Campbell, fortified the teaching that Christians are supposed to communicate the gospel everywhere. And through Radio Training Network's radio stations, Campbell is doing just that.