Nearly 20 years ago I wrote in the first issue of this magazine that our "purpose is to serve you."
"Even though there are several other publications for church leaders," I wrote, "no one is zeroing in on leaders in the charismatic and Pentecostal ministries, especially providing [articles]...keying in on the pastoral ministry, administration/church government, Christian education, specialized ministries and parachurch ministries."
A lot has happened in the last two decades. We are in a new millennium; we live in a post-September 11 world. Some new charismatic leaders have risen to the forefront, such as Bishop T.D. Jakes and Tommy Tenney. Sadly, scandal has tarnished other charismatic leaders.
Now we enter a new era in the life of this publication as Bill Shepson takes over as the magazine's seventh editor. Larry Keefauver, whose passion for ministry has filled these pages for the last four years, will continue as a senior editorial adviser. However, he will be devoting most of his time to ministry overseas and to his many writing projects.
Bill has been groomed for this position for two years, as he has served as managing editor for Ministries Today and associate editor for Charisma. Before that he was assistant managing editor of Advance magazine for the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, with which he continues to hold credentials.
More important, Bill has five years of experience as a senior pastor and five more years of experience as an assistant/youth pastor. So he's been on the front lines and will be able to relate to the readers of Ministries Today. On page nine he shares his own vision for the magazine.
As founder and publisher, I have a passion for Ministries Today to grow beyond its present 30,000 circulation to touch the lives of leaders in the Spirit-filled community by providing:
Provoking editorial. We will continue to step on toes when it comes to things such as interracial marriage, pastors who live double lives or ministers who look the other way regarding sin in the church.
Advice from leading voices in the church. Besides Jack Hayford, T.D. Jakes, Ted Haggard or Larry Keefauver, other credible voices provide advice on legal issues, counseling and many other topics.
Valuable mentoring. The magazine can be a surrogate mentor for leaders who need godly counsel but don't have a relationship with an older leader. This is especially true with the more personal issues in the life of a leader.
A common ground for networking. When readers read about a successful pastor, they feel connected to him or her. When they read a column from someone nearby, they might pick up the phone and develop a new friendship.
A newsy edge. Our news section will continue to be user-friendly, offering the kind of information pastors need to make decisions or use in sermons.
Exclusive information. We intend to provide you with material you can't get anywhere else. We are brainstorming ways to honor the most innovative churches, cutting-edge preachers and the leading music and youth ministries.
I hope this gives you a preview of what to expect in Ministries Today. Please give us feedback--letters to the editor, article ideas, suggestions on how better to serve you. And pass along your copy to someone else, or suggest that they subscribe to get their own copy. It would help us if you'd give "gift subscriptions" to friends and co-workers, just as 10 percent of Charisma readers do each year. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bill at email@example.com.
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