At the beginning of the new year our thoughts naturally go to new beginnings. Here at Ministries Today, it is a day of new beginnings for our new associate editor, Matthew Green, who is a recent graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. An ordained minister with the Assemblies of God, Matt pastored for three years. He has been married for eight years to Andrea and has two children, Madeline and Nathan.
Matt works closely with Robert Andrescik, magazine manager, and me, as well as with our senior editorial advisers Ted Haggard and Jack Hayford. Our editorial team is involved in moving Ministries Today to an entirely new level.
With 50,000 copies, this issue marks the largest printing of the magazine in its 21-year history. This is due to our partnership with the Global Pastors Network's Beyond All Limits January conference in Orlando, Florida, and a shipment of 10,000 copies to Pastor Kong Hee's City Harvest Church in Singapore.
For the next five issues, we will look at each of the fivefold ministry gifts, progressing in inverse order of how they are listed in Ephesians 4:11--teachers, pastors, evangelists, prophets and apostles.
Lately the topic has become more controversial. Some want to impose their views of apostles and prophets on the rest of the church. Others are resistant to using titles. They feel that people are too focused on titles and positions. Many feel we have strayed from the New Testament pattern.
But while apostles and prophets tend to be the most controversial and maybe the most talked about of the fivefold ministries, teaching, evangelism and pastoring deserve our attention, as well.
Consider how we have tended to cover the role of pastors. Although we've traditionally seen Ministries Today as a "pastors' magazine," it is really much more. We are concerned with pastors who are stressed out, under-appreciated, abused by church members and sometimes board members. But there are two sides to that story.
Some pastors are abusive to their flocks, more interested in their own careers and finances than they are in the spiritual well-being of their people.
Consider evangelists. Has the church really lost its passion for the lost? Reinhard Bonnke, an evangelist who may be reaching more people in person than anyone else today, will be exploring this topic in our July/August issue.
We will also look at the role of teachers and examine how false teaching has entered the church. Are teachers just "tickling" people's ears, making their hearers feel good about themselves but not challenging them with deep instruction in the Word?
We want to start dialogue on these topics. We invite you to visit our Web site or write letters to the editor sharing your views. Let us know what you like and don't like and any ideas that you have to make Ministries Today one of your most valuable resources.
Stephen Strang is publisher of Ministries Today and founder of a multimedia company that is proclaiming Jesus worldwide.