The tape ministry started in 1972 in an unofficial form as soon as the first bible studies given by Roger Price were copied from one portable cassette recorder (set up in Mike Levett’s spare room) to another to satisfy a demand for those not able to join the throng listening live. Ralph Page, using his skills as a BBC engineer, produced the first mulitple copying system. Mike Bower became our first voluntary Tape Secretary and was responsible for the distibution of the tapes to a rapidly growing audience. He also produced the first few catalogues of studies.
Growth of CCF and the Tapes Ministry
Demand from around the country continued to grow and with it both the quality of our equipment and the size of the catalgoue. With the Fellowship growing, and more and more people ministering it became evident that the ministry couldn’t survive on part-time labour, nor could the equipment be housed in Mike’s spare room forever. So in 1984 Keith Cline became our first full-time Tape secretary and we moved into the rooms above the Bible Bookshop in Bognor Regis which was owned and managed by one of the Fellowship’s elders. As well as Keith, the ministry employed two packing clerks and two order clerks as well as a number of part-time copy technicians.
A Continuing Legacy
At its peak, with Roger travelling all over the UK and abroad, the ministry was dispatching over 30,000 tapes annually across the globe. However, with Roger’s passing in 1987, this number gradually declined. Nonetheless, the tape catalogue continued to expand with new material being produced by the many skilled teachers the fellowship produced, a testament to the basis that had been laid.
The tape ministry continued to change and in 1991 Keith left the ministry to pursue other aspects of Christian ministry with Ralph Page taking the helm as manager. Since then, the ministry has converted a lot of the material that it has into a number of modern formats, first MP3 and now CD. Some of the later studies had also been recorded on VHS video and are being transferred onto DVD. In the Autumn of 1998 the ministry launched itself onto the internet and with the new website just finished there is the hope that we can provide more information than ever before on our talks, our speakers and on the aims of the ministry.
Our Plans for the Future
The update of the website has been one of many projects that we have had on our heart to do for some time. For the minute we are busily updating the format of much of our material while trying to keep up to speed with the daily demands of business. However, we would appreciate your prayers that we would have wisdom regarding how we can increasingly provide relevant biblical resouces to the church today. One thing is for sure, whatever plans we have or projects we take on, this ministry will always be based on the strong biblical teaching that gave rise to it back in 1972.