By Mark A. Taylor
A Baptist fellow I know used to stand at a display at each summer’s North American Christian Convention. He came to the NACC because the company he works for displays there, but he doesn’t know much more about Christian churches and churches of Christ than their potential to be his customers.
I remember well stopping to chat with him after a main session one evening, on my way to a get together with friends. He stood there gazing at an emptying display hall, as disconnected from the people around him as any salesman at any trade show. And I thought about how fortunate I am to know so many who attend the NACC. And how good it is to have family, a Christian family that stretches around the world, a family I can learn from as I stay connected to them, a family that shows me how to live for Christ as I watch them through the years.
Since then the NACC has dubbed itself “the connecting place,” and I agree this should be one of its primary functions. It’s a great family reunion every year where we share what we’re accomplishing and remind ourselves of the shared convictions we hold dear.
But this isn’t a column about the NACC. This is a column about the 140th anniversary of CHRISTIAN STANDARD and the fact that meeting once a year isn’t really enough to keep a family in touch. Happy families keep family albums records of what they did and how they looked as they lived together through the years. And healthy families, even those separated by continents and oceans, stay in touch. If they can’t talk, they write. For years they sent letters, anticipated with each delivery of the mail. Now they may just log on to their computers and share their thoughts in a blog or send a hasty e mail.
As Ben Cachiaras indicates this week, CHRISTIAN STANDARD has provided that family album for our loose knit, far flung fellowship of churches. And as two writers imply in their pieces, we know that technology will change how this fellowship will best stay in touch in the years ahead.
We’re considering alternatives, surveying readers, trying to understand developing preferences in a changing world. For now, we think we still need the family album. And we believe many still want the satisfaction of leafing through printed pages, even though we know many today who receive their information from digital sources.
In any case, we are committed to this family. Even after 140 years, we are guided by the same mission that directed our very first editor: to define and defend and promote simple nondenominational New Testament Christianity.
This may be the most exciting time in history to live in this family we call the Restoration Movement. We will continue to lead and serve it however will help it most.