Josh Coombridge – ‘The Voice of Rural New Zealand’ – speaks to us about his walk with the Lord, and his passions for Chainsaws, Rugby and Hunting!
When I first met Josh Coombridge at a Promise Keepers event in Wellington, I had no idea who he was. I wandered over to chat to Tom who was manning the Rhema Sausage Sizzle and he introduced me to Josh. I said hello and Josh replied, “Do you listen to the show?” to which I replied, “What show?”. Probably not the best start to our relationship but it didn’t get in the way of a great conversation…
So, how and why did you first get into radio?
I was acting in ‘My Fair Lady’ and the CEO of Rhema at the time invited me to do some volunteer work for Life FM. I decided then that if I could work in radio for free then I could definitely do it for a career! Plus I like talking….
But why Christian Radio?
I get to have my dream job and have it be a ministry and impact lives for good through the songs and chats. That is pretty special. I feel very privileged.
Has working in a Christian environment helped your relationship with God?
Yes. Because we are “Christian” rather than a particular denomination, I get to hang out with Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists – the whole mix! That helps you a lot, I think, being around people who don’t think exactly as you do, but still have the faith in common.
What is the best thing about working on the radio?
Singing silly songs. I love singing, but I’m not that great at it. I know people laugh at me – I laugh at myself! It’s a pretty special job when you can sing, ‘I’ve had the time of my life’ from Dirty Dancing and then 10 minutes later be singing a worship song that’s in the playlist. It’s what I think heaven will be like!
It was just you and Bjorn on the breakfast show for a while so is it weird having a girl around now?
No, I’m very used to being surrounded by women….Only joking. Yeah it is a bit strange, especially when you spend so much time with that person. Leanna is awesome though and we get along really well.
You’re a bit of a goofball on air and off, but is there a serious side to you?
Honestly being serious is one thing that I really struggle with. I find that humour is a great way to break the power of heavy topics to bring you down. Sometimes I need to realise that some situations are inappropriate for jokes, and listen to my friends or wife, or whoever is trying to confide in me. Being in broadcasting has definitely helped with this – as it becomes important to know when to treat a topic with sensitivity.
Does your wife think you’re funny?
Yes, but she knows she is the funnier one out of the two of us.
Influencing young people across NZ is a huge responsibility. What makes you think you are up to it?
Honestly, I believe that in my own strength I couldn’t do it. But I do feel that God has called me to it, and in the tougher times, like having to pray for someone on air, or report on a tragedy like the Christchurch shootings, I believe the Holy Spirit gives me the confidence to do what is needed.
You’re kind of a leader in the Christian youth sphere, so how do you ensure you are walking well with the Lord?
I married the pastor’s daughter so I know if I screw up I’m in big trouble – ha ha. Working in a Christian workplace gives you great perspectives from people from many different denominations. Also, surprisingly, playing rugby and surrounding myself with people who aren’t believers has really helped solidify my faith, as I have to be able to answer questions that you don’t expect and that sort of thing.
I met Bjorn last year at PK but didn’t even think about interviewing him. Why do you think you have the X-factor but he doesn’t? (sorry Bjorn!)
Man, I’d love to tell you all about that, ha ha. But sarcasm doesn’t convey too well in print does it? Seriously BJ has more X-factor than anyone else I know. He can create a story out of nothing and have you in stitches! He has taught me a lot. I really love his 3 stories!
Are you and Bjorn really mates or is it all an act for ratings?
I hear about radio hosts who don’t get along and I don’t know how they do it. I really am a bad liar, so it couldn’t work any other way with me. We’re great mates, and we were friends first, co-hosts second, which I think helps!
A few months ago you met Brian Head-Welch (ex lead singer for satanic band Korn). Is he really a nice guy or were you a bit scared?
Nah, I wasn’t scared. He was super friendly! I mean, yeah, face tattoos are a bit scary at first but once he started smiling I knew I was in safe hands.
What kind of music do you like and listen to? (please Lord, let it be Britney Spears or Justice Beaver)
My favourite Christian singer would be David Crowder – he has a great beard!
And my favourite secular singer would be Robbie Williams. I can sing all the words to ‘Angels’ (the rugby team loves it).
Ah yes, I heard you were a bit of a rugby nut. What do you think the All Blacks chances are for the World Cup?
I wouldn’t say I’m a nut… I am a 3rd string front row for the Silverdale under 85 kilo grade so I’m no expert. But yeah, the ABs are best in the world! We will win.
Are you available if they call you up?
Happy to serve my country in that capacity!
And I also heard that you fancy yourself as a bit of a hunter. Are you actually any good or do you go hunting with mates that are good?
My mates Ian and Pete pretty much do all the work and then I just pull the trigger. Bjorn actually roared my last stag up for me. See, we are mates!
A lot of young Christian guys struggle to take their faith seriously. You guys seem to have a lot of fun but not at the expense of your faith. What encouragement do you have for guys that struggle with this?
Look, I’ve been there! My advice would be read at least one passage in the Bible a day. Pray about it and see if you can figure out one way that it applies to your life or speaks to you. Ask yourself what lessons you can learn from it. This is what gets me excited about my faith and keeps my head in the game. If you need a passage to start off with, try Romans 12 verse 9 onwards. It’s my favourite.
I don’t want to get you in trouble, but if there was one job that would attract you to leave your current job, what would it be?
I love the outdoors and recently my dad lent me his chainsaw. Chainsawing is one of the most satisfying things in the world. As the voice of rural New Zealand, I’d have to be an arborist – in the forest chopping trees! Maybe we could have an Authentic magazine photoshoot out there?
Erm…maybe *smiles awkwardly*
Have you got to travel much or do they not let you out of the country?
They do let me out on occasion! I have to say, if my wife didn’t force me to leave NZ I would honestly never leave. I love New Zealand and I think we have the very best of everything. However, we did do a bit of an OE with 3 weeks in Vietnam and Cambodia. It was amazing! I’m a bit of a hungus (love food) and the food in that part of the world is AMAZING and also very cheap – like $3 for a main! So good!
If you could hang out with anyone on a desert island for a week, who would you pick?
My Dad. We’d just go fishing and talk about…fishing. It would be amazing!
As this is a men’s magazine, are there any men that have greatly influenced you and your faith?
Yeah, there are a few actually! My Dad taught me to always make time to talk to people no matter who they are. My father-in-law has shown me the value of being truly generous with both gifts and time. My boss, Luke, is super approachable and has taught me not to take things too seriously in life. And I’ve got some great older, Christian mates from Raetihi, who I don’t see heaps, but ring up if I ever need any advice – they tell it like it is!
So, who has had the biggest impact on your personal relationship with Jesus?
Richard is my friend who went to America to be an actor. He kind of found God again while there though and when he came back to see us and his family, he pulled me out of my darkest hour and got me back on track. Without him I wouldn’t be on the radio, or in this magazine! Thanks Rich!
And finally, do you have a favourite Christian Men’s Magazine?
You’re reading it!
Please pray for Josh, Bjorn and Leanna as they speak into the lives of tens of thousands of Kiwi Christians each morning!
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By Dave Firth
About the author
Dave Firth is the editor of Authentic Magazine, a Bible teacher, speaker husband, father and follower of Jesus Christ.
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