Harold E. Salem was born near Belle Fourche, SD and graduated from Belle Fourche High School. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Black Hills State University. He graduated from Northwestern Bible School and Seminary, Minneapolis, MN where he earned the Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Theology. He also earned the Doctor of Ministry Degree from Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Lombard, IL.
On June of 1944 he began serving the First Baptist Church of Belle Fourche, SD, his home church and his first church. He served the church 13 1/2 years, during which time a new sanctuary was built. In January 1958, he accepted the call to the First Baptist Church of Aberdeen, SD, where he has served 52 1/2 years during which time a new sanctuary, Christian Education building, gymnasium and youth center were built.
In August 2010, he resigned from First Baptist so as to give full time to the Christian Worship Hour which began in January, 1979, by telecasting the worship service on a single TV station, KABY-TV. In August, the service was moved to the studios of KABY-TV and today is on ION-TV, a national network reaching 100.1 million homes in the United States. Middle East TV (METV) carries the service worldwide.
The service is also carried on shortwave radio by five antennas that literally go all around the world, covering 90% of the globe. CDs and DVDs are also available.
The services and devotional videos can also be viewed on the internet via desktop and laptop computers, along with tablets and smartphones.
Some areas where Pastor Salem has served:
- Charter Member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Aberdeen, SD
- Charter member of Northern Plains Hospice, Aberdeen, SD
- Served as Probation Officer for Butte County, SD, from 1945-1958
- Served as Treasurer for South Dakota State Penitentiary parolees, Aberdeen
- Served two years as chairman for Brown County Juvenile Summer Camps
- Served on Advisory Board for St. Luke's Hospital, Aberdeen, SD
- Served on Advisory Board for Presentation College, Aberdeen, SD
- Served on the Board of Directors for the Aberdeen YMCA
- Served on the Board of Directors for the Aberdeen Red Cross
- Served on the Board of Directors for the New Beginnings, a home for juvenile offenders
- Served on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity
- Served as President of South Dakota Baptist Convention, Sioux Falls, SD, years - 1963, 1964, 1973
- Served as chairman of four citywide evangelistic crusades in Aberdeen with Billy Graham Evangelists, Leighton Ford, John Wesley White (2) and Bill Glass of Glass Associates
- Has held over 70 evangelistic services in churches throughout the United States
- Has preached in services in London, England; Damascus, Syria; Ammon, Jordan; Beirut, Lebanon; and Toronto Canada
- Has served as an Ambassador for "Global Outreach" in Middle East
- Served on the faculty of the Billy Graham Schools of Evangelism for 16 years with over 50 schools in the United States and Canada
- Awarded the "Pastor of the Year" honor twice by the South Dakota Baptist Convention
- Inducted into South Dakota Hall of Fame, 2000
- Awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from University of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls, SD, 2003
- Recipient of "Book of Golden Deeds" award, 2006
- He has four children: Sharron, Daniel, Patty, Michael, 12 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren
- His wife, Beulah, went to be with the Lord on Christmas Eve, 2005. Of her, Pastor Salem writes, "If I have attained any good in this life it is because of the help of Jesus Christ and my dear wife, Beulah, who stood by me, believed in me, encouraged me for 59 1/2 years and without whose loving help I could not have run the race."