God uses numbers throughout Scripture to communicate truth and celebrate milestones. This year, we celebrate a significant number—500. That's the number of issues of Charisma we have published since 1975. At first, we thought April would be the 500th issue, but when we double-checked, we realized it was actually the March issue. Either way, we celebrate this milestone.
I've told our story many times of how as a newspaper reporter, I had an idea to start a small church magazine at a megachurch in Florida. The first issue was only 32 pages on uncoated paper. We had only 420 subscribers, but we printed 10,000 and gave away the rest. The charismatic renewal was in full force at the time, and I wanted to publish articles about that movement and how the Holy Spirit was working. In those early days, we did a cover story on Kathryn Kuhlman shortly before she died. We covered the Jesus festivals along with the Discipleship movement and the controversy it stirred up.
Back then, Gerald Ford was president. Hardly anyone owned a personal computer. Cellphones were a thing of the future, and we couldn't have imagined what the internet would become. Meanwhile, we covered stories no one else would cover and dealt with spiritual issues—and sometimes controversies—regarding such things as spiritual warfare and deliverance from demons or whether God was restoring prophets and apostles to the church. We introduced many now-famous leaders to the charismatic community, from Benny Hinn to T.D. Jakes to Mike Bickle to Jonathan Cahn and, in recent months, new up-and-comers. We have also written about racism, sin in the church and the cultural conflicts in our nation as it becomes more and more ungodly.
The Lord has blessed our endeavors, and we eventually started nearly a dozen other magazines and also published books (more than 2,500 so far). Some became major best-sellers, such as The Harbinger, which has sold millions of copies. We have also published books in Spanish for nearly 20 years, and now we publish the Modern English Version of the Bible. The one constant in all this change is Charisma, which still thrives despite the changes in the publishing world as products shift to digital. We've found that digital has opened opportunities we never dreamed of. Millions visit our websites every month. We are able to touch people around the world who would never subscribe to a print magazine because of the cost.
Technology is giving us new ways to minister to people, but it has disrupted the business model that has made magazines thrive for many years. Many magazines have folded, and we have closed all but three of ours. Why? Advertising has shifted to the web, and it's more costly to get subscriptions. Yet we know people still want Charisma because our subscriptions continue to grow. However, rising costs and lower advertising revenue have made us tighten our belts and adjust to the new realities in publishing. For this reason, we've decided in the next year to cut Charisma to 10 issues rather than 12 a year. (You'll still receive the number of issues you bought, but it will take longer to get them.)
We've tried digital issues of Charisma by subscription, but we've not been able to make it work any more than nearly every other magazine has. People still want print. So if you want Charisma to continue and thrive, we need your support. You can renew your subscription and urge others to subscribe or, better yet, buy gift subscriptions for your friends. We usually charge only $20 per year—a very reasonable price for the information and inspiration you get in every issue.
Meanwhile, I encourage you to stay in touch with us every day by visiting charismamag.com or downloading and using our amazing charismanews.com app. We produce many digital newsletters, and you can also check out charismapodcastnetwork.com, which has had more than 6.5 million downloads since it began. Both are free.
I especially invite you to listen to my two podcasts: the "Strang Report" Monday through Thursday and "In Depth With Stephen Strang" on Fridays. I discuss issues of the day from a spiritual perspective, often by interviewing Christian and conservative leaders. You can check out my newsletter at strangreport.com or subscribe to my podcast on iTunes or Google Play. I've just opened a new call-in number, (407) 706-8476, where you can leave messages, ask questions or just give us feedback.
We call Charisma the magazine about Spirit-led living. With your help, we have published it 500 times so far and will continue to do so into the future as the Lord leads.
Stephen Strang is the founder of Charisma and CEO of Charisma Media. He is author of the best-selling book God and Donald Trump (FrontLine/Charisma House). Follow him on Twitter (@sstrang) or Facebook (stephenestrang).
CHARISMA is the only magazine dedicated to reporting on what the Holy Spirit is doing in the lives of believers around the world. If you are thirsty for more of God's presence and His Holy Spirit, subscribe to CHARISMA and join a family of believers that choose to live life in the Spirit. CLICK HERE for a special offer.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Great Resources to help you excel in 2019! #1 John Eckhardt's "Prayers That..." 6-Book Bundle. Prayer helps you overcome anything life throws at you. Get a FREE Bonus with this bundle. #2 Learn to walk in the fullness of your purpose and destiny by living each day with Holy Spirit. Buy a set of Life in the Spirit, get a second set FREE.