Congregants, friends and acquaintances are accustomed to hearing the soothing resonance of Pastor David Penn's baritone voice. But the man, who describes himself as the "Pastor to Main Street," is discovering a brand new pulpit from which to speak.
In June, the pastor began recording half-hour promotional ministry spots on KFROG radio, the country music station based in the sprawling former KVVQ studios on Hesperia Road south of Bear Valley Road. Each week, he takes his notes and a handful of CDs to the office/studio of Steve "Stevarino" Elliott, a Stardust 910-AM morning personality. There, Elliott produces and records the combination of inspirational words and uplifting music into spots that air at exactly 8:57 a.m. on Saturday mornings.
What started out as a new advertising tool for Pastor Penn's Hesperia Church of the Nazarene, is growing faster and its reach farther than anything he could have imagined.
"I didn't realize the scope of the ministry that would come from it," Pastor Penn said.
Besides the Saturday morning show, the radio station plays 25 one-minute promos. The pieces feature a musical rendition of "The Doxology" as a backdrop.
"So that becomes a separate ministry."
Not only does the pastor have a growing audience on the airwaves, but the church burns CDs of the show, which Pastor Penn hands out freely to anyone he thinks will listen or benefit from the weekly messages. One woman, who is battling cancer, told the pastor that she has listened to one of the CDs 17 times.
A primary audience is people who are shut in at home. One special fan is Pastor Penn's 92-year-old mother who finds the inspiration to minister to those in need while journeying down the halls of her Pasadena-area care facility with the help of her walker.
"God still wants us to walk with Him," he said.
According to Elliott, Pastor Penn is a natural and easy to work with.
"He comes in with a complete plan. He knows what he's going to say. Recently we did the whole show in about a half hour."
But the novice broadcaster is still developing his talents.
"He takes out my big gulps," Pastor Penn said about Elliott's seamless edits. "We work as a team."
And Elliott notices that Pastor Penn sometimes omits a word or two.
"You don't like the word 'of.' You've got to learn to love the word 'of,'" he told him.
Using professional broadcast equipment, Elliott's audio results are typically stellar.
"It's my station. I want everything to sound top drawer," he said.
The new radio ministry has given Pastor Penn a new vision and hope for the growth of his church and for spreading God's word. But he's busier than ever.
"It's filled my plate."
It's also given him a spirit of gratitude, which echoes through his life.
"Thank you, Steve. Thank you, KFROG. Thank you, Lord."