Last month I passed something of a milestone: 30 years of service here at Christianity Today! And if I can draw from my hippie past, it has been a long, strange trip.
From print-only (with 14 publications at our height), to print-plus with the onset of online media, to our current emphasis on "digital first," CT's content and the larger world of journalism have been in a steady state of change over my stay. (They are all reasons why Forbes listed "reporting" as one of 2014's most stressful professions.)
That we are still here is no small note of praise. That we are actually growing, and reaching more people than ever before in our history, drops this 30-year veteran to his knees.
With eyes fixed on the throne of grace, I thank God for two constants that have kept this ministry from becoming lost and confused amid so much change over three decades:
The top-tier quality of the staff. With tenacious creativity, they have taken advantage of whatever content forms are available to effectively communicate "beautiful orthodoxy" to more and more readers, viewers, visitors, and event attendees.
Today, the CT audience is in the millions. Tens of thousands more are being drawn via new efforts such as the just-launched Books & Culture digital biweekly and The Behemoth, our wonderfully quirky digizine written and designed to force you to stop (no small matter) and behold the wonder of God (a very big matter).
Our calling. Namely, to engage, encourage, and equip the church of Christ. It was such when Billy Graham set CT into motion back in 1956. It remains so today. Thus our vision statement for staff and all would-be supporters: "To see the church grown up into the fullness of Christ."
We continue to play a unique and, I believe, strategic role in accomplishing this task. As one recent letter put it, "What you're doing is such a critical ministry, keeping the evangelical world connected and in many ways accountable to each other. You are supporting the kingdom of God at the highest levels."
By partnering with such readers from across the globe, God has graciously allowed this evolving ministry to embrace and express evangelicalism's theological fullness, bringing the best from across our movement to speak into the faith and calling of God's countercultural people.
I've stood witness to this faithfulness for 30 years now. And I'm convinced that 30 years hence (but definitely without me!), God's call on this ministry will remain constant as a new generation of editors, marketers, and designers create and distribute gospel-fueled content that captures what it means to "have life and have it abundantly."
Harold B. Smith is president and CEO of Christianity Today.
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