Twenty years ago this month I launched a new magazine named Ministries Today for charismatic pastors because I realized they had no publication to call their own. In the 20th anniversary issue, January/February 2003, I discuss the 20 top issues I feel are facing the church. I encourage you to request a sample copy of it on the magazine's Web site, www.ministriestoday.com.
Just as Ministries Today was conceived to fill a felt need for pastors, so a new magazine is being birthed to speak to a specific group of people who often feel they have no voice in the church--20-somethings. Some of them have been hurt by the church, and the TV programs, books and magazines we produce don't speak to their interests and needs. They long for something that's relevant to their lives, that speaks about God within the context of their world.
Now they have it--an 84-page magazine with an emphasis on worship and knowing God in a deeper way that also discusses money, careers, music and the progressive culture they cope with daily. In a world of things that are irrelevant, it's relevant. And that's its name: Relevant magazine.
This new magazine is not the latest publication from Strang Communications. It's being published by Relevant Media Group, whose president and owner is my son Cameron.
Publishing such a magazine had been a dream of Cameron's since he was a 19-year-old student at Oral Roberts University. When he first talked to me about it, I was concerned that there was no established advertising base for the age group he wanted to target and no easy way to find readers--two necessary prerequisites for success. But the vision wouldn't die, and he found a way to reach his audience--through the Internet.
Since last March, relevantmagazine.com has been online with something new every day. It has attracted 100,000 unique visitors per month, and with practically no marketing promotion, has garnered an amazing 4,000 subscribers for the print version.
The cover story in the first issue, March/April 2003, is a profile of Jon Foreman, lead singer for the Christian group Switchfoot, just signed by Columbia Records. A sure indicator that Cameron knows his audience--or maybe that I don't--is that I had to ask him who Jon Foreman is.
I believe there are a lot of people like me who want to be relevant but don't know how. Subscribing to Relevant is a way to stay tuned to what this generation is longing for--more of God as He really is, not the shallow stereotype projected by most evangelicals and charismatics.
This generation believes the church has neglected them. We've published books and magazines aimed at teens, Cameron explains, and materials for people over 30.
"[But] people my age feel they have no voice," he says. "They've been neglected by the church, which they don't think is relevant. So Relevant makes God relevant for them."
I'm asking you to help Cameron reach the 18-to-34-year-old crowd. You can do this in several ways.
Talk about the new magazine to young people you know, or buy a gift subscription. And buy a subscription for yourself--just to stay informed. If you are in ministry, you need Relevant as a resource for ministering to this age group.
Those of you who have followed my story know I founded Charisma magazine when I was in my mid-20s. During the years the average age of our readers has mirrored my own age--until now that I'm slightly north of 50. But it's time for a new generation to rise up. And in case you can't tell, I'm proud that my son is rising to the challenge.
It's easy to subscribe to Relevant. Just go to www.relevantmagazine.com and click on the selection for Charisma readers to take advantage of the special one-year offer of $10. What an inexpensive way to get relevant!
Stephen Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma.
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