Ian Worby was 10 when he accepted Jesus as his Lord. His work commenced at 2TM, Tamworth but after two years he moved on to work for his father. When his parents divorced Ian struggled. He was still ‘unsettled’ when he ventured to Sydney where he stayed at Bundeena Christian Fellowship.
During his last year in Sydney he moved in with relatives. His uncle Keith was the rector at Christ Church, Bexley. Ian became involved in the youth group and like many of that era enjoyed the music of Barry Maguire, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Evie, Noel Paul Stuckey, Chuck Gerard and BJ Thomas.
He completed the Moore Theological College correspondence course with distinction in theology, a surprise for Ian and his uncle! In 1981 Ian moved to Port Macquarie to support his mother. Her second marriage had failed and Ian wanted to support her. His mother attended a small, vibrant Pentecostal church and it was there Ian met the future Mrs Worby, Mandy. They married in March, 1984.
Ian had a genuine interest in boating. He and his mother started a business called ‘Nautical and Nice’. Later he was offered a start as a deck hand on a river cruise ship, the Port Venture. He wrote: “I started as a deck hand and later became the Captain after completing my Masters and Marine Engineer tickets. I managed Port Macquarie River Cruises for a number of years with Mandy. The family grew with the arrivals of three sons Luke, Steven and Michael. I became the president for the Tourist Attractions Association for the Mid North Coast.”
The Worbys became involved in Mid North Coast Christian Broadcasters (MNCCB). That was March, 1993 and the beginning of a prodigious broadcast connection.
Ian recalls, “I became the President of MNCCB Inc in 1994 and we began temporary test broadcasts at first 30 days a year that increased to 90 days. We operated in borrowed empty offices where we built and outfitted studios, and installed our first transmission tower some 20 KM from the station. We worked hard to build a strong support base among the Christian community of the Mid North Coast until we finally obtained our fulltime licence for Rhema FM 99.9. In total, it was a seven year labour of love.”
Ian was appointed director of United Christian Broadcasters, Australia, in 1995. It was a volunteer position and Ian remembers this as ‘an amazing learning experience.’ In 2000 Ian became CEO of UCB, Australia and Vision FM. The Worbys relocated to Brisbane.
He recalls: “This was a time of enormous challenges for us personally as there was no financial capacity to pay us; both Mandy and I basically worked as volunteers for the ministry, receiving a very small stipend from UCB International each month.”
He remembered, “We almost lost our home in Port Macquarie while having to pay rent and cover living expenses for our family in Brisbane. But the Lord showed Himself both strong and faithful by providing us with a vehicle, mystery helpers who paid our rates and a miracle out of a disaster when our home was found to be defective and the sale of it fell through. There were many setbacks with tenants, but eventually after two very long and distressing years, our home sold for almost twice what it originally sold for, enabling us to buy a much larger house for our growing family than we would otherwise have been able. It's been our home for the past fifteen years.”
UCB Australia office and studios were all in a small 3 bedroom cottage, Vanessa Boulevarde, Springwood. The staff was mainly volunteers. As is often the case with Christian ministry the promotion of the new broadcaster came with offering the devotional series ‘The Word for Today’ by Bob and Debby Gass, for free. Those initial devotionals were in black and white. At the start UCB printed 5 – 10,000 devotionals each quarter and constantly faced the challenge of finding sufficient support to cover the costs.
In 2002 the ministry gathered momentum and relocated to an industrial warehouse which they outgrew quickly. The building next door was ‘for sale’ and they made an offer much lower than the asking price and won the bid. With no money UCB ran a 4-day on air appeal and raised the full amount to finalise their purchase. Ian said, “This was just one of the many miracles the Lord has delivered for the ministry.’
The growth was rapid but testing was ahead. In 2005 they were advised to close the entire UCB ministry. Instead they went on-air with ‘Visionathon.’ The response was breathtaking. All debts were paid and they added another 100 stations to the 250 already broadcasting.
As the growth continued so did the Influence of Ian Worby. He was appointed Regional Director for UCB, Australia. He serves on the International UCB board as the Asian Pacific Regional Director. Already UCB operates affiliate stations in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, East Timor, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Nepal with more to come.
In 2008 UCB International held their annual conference in Israel. The impact on Ian and Mandy was immediate. They now lead tours to Israel and this year their tour has 122 participants.
Ian added new activities to his list. He volunteered as national leader for Christians for Israel Australia in 2013 and serves on the Global Executive Council for Christians for Israel, International as Regional Director, Oceania. A major part of this function is the bi-monthly newspaper “Israel and Christians Today.”
When we worked on sharing his story Ian added: “Obviously, I didn’t achieve all of this on my own, whenever the Lord gives a man or a woman a vision, He draws others around to help serve and complement with the different gifts and skills He has bestowed into His body. We have been very blessed to have served with some amazing, talented and dedicated people over the years, and also our generous supporters and prayer warriors, so many unseen heroes of the faith.”
Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was radio news editor for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, Israel.
His career started at WINTV (Email: email@example.com)
Ron Ross previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/ron-ross.html