Congratulations to my son, Cameron, whose Relevant Media Group is 15 years old this week. If you read down, you can read what he posted on Facebook. As his dad, it's very heartwarming to read.
I am so proud of him. Most dads would probably be expected to say that, but I really am. Look what he's accomplished—he's influencing his generation for God and doing it with excellence. Last year, more than 73 million interacted with his content in print and online, including the president of the United States!
Sometimes people ask me if Relevant is part of Charisma Media. It isn't. It's a totally separate company with offices 12 miles away. We set it up to be separate 15 years ago. Other than the fact Cameron grew up hearing dinner conversation about magazine stuff, and his mother and I have done what we could to help, he is totally self made. It's not been easy. Not only must he live up to (or live down) who I am and what I do, but the media business is shifting—almost by the month. Yet he has navigated those waters successfully and he's making his mark.
Cameron posted this photo on Facebook. It's a classic—especially the cutout in the back of a WCW wrestler with my face on it. They called it Big Wrestling Steve. The younger generation has fun making fun of me, and I love it. I know they think I'm old-fashioned and stuffy in my coat and tie. But hey, at least I'm consistent!
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This week is another milestone for me too. I started work on Charisma 40 years ago. On Aug. 5 we'll celebrate our 40th anniversary. (That was the day the first issue came off the press five days late!). When Cameron started Relevant Media Group, we decided to also start on June 1—25 years to the day from when I started.
In each issue of Charisma this year, I've written a perspective on the charismatic movement over the past 40 years. Soon I'll run them as a Strang Report as we lead up to the actual 40th anniversary of Charisma in August, including a big anniversary issue that focuses on the 40 people we've covered who we believe have radically changed their world—the slogan we adopted for Charisma several years ago. You won't want to miss it.
While I'm sharing Facebook posts, let me mention one from Stephen Galloza, a Christian counselor and minister in the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches. He posted what he told me when we went boating this past weekend—his pastor passed along to him copies of Charisma when he was a teenager and it helped form his understanding of the Pentecostal/charismatic world.
Troy Anderson, the new executive editor of Charisma, told me the same thing when he interviewed. His youth pastor and mentor gave him copies of Charisma as a teen. While I assume most young people are more interested in Relevant than Charisma (and while we don't specifically write to that generation), I'm encouraged to know that Charisma helped form these two fine men. So, pass along your copies of Charisma to your kids or young people that you're mentoring. And if you don't subscribe to our print version, you can do so by clicking here.
Here's what Cameron wrote on Facebook. Can you understand why I'm a proud dad?
Cameron Strang: Second-Generation Media Success
By Cameron Strang on Facebook
This pic is me and my dad on the first day of Relevant Media Group—exactly 15 years ago today. When I was a college sophomore, I had the idea to make media (that would) give voice to what God was doing in my generation. So for the next five years, I worked out a business plan, got experience any way I could, and devoured every resource on media and starting a business I could find.
Then in early 2000, after I got fired from my magazine job in Nashville, I took the leap. My parents gave us a free suite in the back of their office and their unwanted '80s office furniture, and on June 1, I was able to start the company. (Our office mascot, which you see behind us, was a cut-out of a WWE wrestler with my dad's face on it—we called him Big Wrestlin' Steve. I miss Big Wrestlin' Steve).
A few months later, I was in a lot of debt and realizing I had no idea what I was doing. But, we had started. In those days we did design work for clients, and on the side worked on our own media that we wanted to launch one day. As we send our 76th magazine to the printer today, I can't believe 15 years has passed. And while the mission is the same, everything else has changed. Last year more than 73 million people interacted with our content, which is mind-blowing. Most of our audience is digital now, but even the print magazine grew 51 percent last year. It's crazy.
An anniversary like today makes me stop and look at the journey. While there have been very hard years and painful sacrifices, I'm incredibly grateful to see what God has done. I want to thank everyone who has been a part of Relevant in some way. If you've read our content, downloaded a podcast, bought an issue (or a book, or one of our other magazines back in the day), thank you. To all of our advertisers, thank you. To everyone who has worked with me along the way, or written for us, thank you. To those who have mentored me, supported and challenged me, thank you.
Relevant is a living and breathing thing. It changes every year just like what God is doing and saying in this generation changes. I honestly feel like we're still just starting out and barely scratching the surface of what He's calling us to do. I'm more excited now than I was that first day. And that's a pretty cool feeling 15 years in.
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