19 April, 2024

Pondering a Digital Future

by | 14 May, 2013 | 0 comments

By Mark A. Taylor

“Misery loves company,” the old saying goes. And, while attendees at the annual Evangelical Press Association conference, May 1-3 in Nashville, seemed to relish each other”s company, their mood was everything but misery.

This group of magazine editors, writers, marketers, and designers clearly enjoyed the chance to talk shop together. Workshop sessions covered most aspects of Christian journalism””everything from interviewing skills to photography techniques. The digital revolution was in the background of many conversations. And, while most of these editors are extending an online presence, all are working as if print isn”t going away anytime soon.

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer leads their ranks. The vice president of research and ministry development for LifeWay Christian Resources believes “the digital future seems uncertain. Many publishers rushed in, but now they are pulling back.”

He shared LifeWay”s success with a major new curriculum line for adults. While adoption of the print products far exceeded LifeWay”s expectations, the company “vastly overestimated usage” of the correlated digital tools (even though, by Stetzer”s estimate, they are “amazing”).

“No one really knows how big a deal digital will be,” he admitted. “The digital future seems to have a huge print component.”

Leanna Summers, editor-in-chief of Compassion Magazine, the journal of Compassion International with 750,000 readers, described how and explained why her magazine is creating a digital edition. Compassion Magazine is distributed free to the ministry”s supporters. As that base continues to grow””along with the rising costs of printing, paper, and postage””the ministry seeks a less expensive way to reach constituents. They hope to reduce those costs by converting readers to the digital edition.

But get this: their research shows only 7 percent of their supporters will choose digital over print. They”re hoping to save more than the cost of a new full-time digital designer and associated expenses simply by printing and mailing fewer magazines. Their goal is cutting costs, not increasing revenue. But such an adoption rate would never justify the digital conversion of a for-profit magazine, especially one with a fraction of Compassion“s circulation.

Nevertheless, with more than 89,000 followers on Twitter, Stetzer isn”t turning his back on the opportunity to communicate via the Internet.

“If you can consistently bring help to people around things they value, you will find an audience,” he said. “Content is king. . . . Think less cool and more content.”

That”s good advice for the hundreds of preachers I know writing blogs and posting tweets. And he noted that the most-followed tweeters tweet 12 times a day.  If the thought of adding such a regimen to your daily duties sounds miserable, you”re not alone. Ed Stetzer, at least, would love your company.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Articles

Ministry Help Wanted

Recent postings: Lycoming Christian Church in Linden, Pa., is seeking a minister of children, youth, and young adults. Michigan City (Ind.) Christian Church needs a senior minister. Impact Christian Church (Moon Township, Pa.) looks to hire an executive pastor. The Christian Campus Foundation (CCF) at the University of Illinois is seeking a full-time director of campus ministry. And more . . .


By taking these symbols of Jesus’ body and blood, we announce we believe there really was a Jesus, and he really did die for us and carried all our sins down to a grave . . .

Documentary Highlights Christian Response to Pandemics

Southeast Christian Church’s “Purpose in Pandemics” is a documentary that follows the response of the church to pandemics throughout history. The “Purpose in Pandemics” website also includes a study guide for small groups and individuals.

Used of God

I soaked up Sam Stone’s wit and wisdom during our lunches together. Afterward, I’d take notes about our conversations. After hearing of his passing, inspired by his wordsmithing, I felt compelled to share just a small part of his story.

Sam E. Stone: ‘He Tried to Speak the Truth in Love’

In memory and appreciation of our former editor, Sam E. Stone, who died early this week, we share this 2011 column from Christian Standard’s archives in which Sam discussed four Scripture verses significant to his life.

Elliott Library ‘Cornerstone’ Laid

Three Bibles of historical significance to Cincinnati Christian University were the first books place on the shelves during relocation of the George Mark Elliott Library.

The Death of Evil

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. saw in minority groups’ struggles for social equality in America a parallel with Israel’s bondage in Egypt. King envisioned God’s goodness would deliver the U.S. from the evil of segregation.

Mark Scott’s Greatest Kingdom Impact

Since I first enrolled at Ozark Christian College, Mark Scott has been my kingdom hero, and I’m not the only young preacher Mark has shaped. Over his 35 years at OCC, Mark has inspired generations of students.

‘Have We Plans for 1921?’

“All the Standard asks is the opportunity to serve, and it yearns to render in 1921 the greatest, finest, and best service of its history. . . .”

News Briefs for Dec. 9

Items from Timber Lake Christian Church (Moberly, Mo.), Choateville Christian Church (Frankfort, Ky.), Johnson University, and more.

My Counsel for Young Preachers

If I were counseling an aspiring young preacher fresh out of Bible college or seminary, champing at the bit to lead in the church, I would offer these three bits of advice.

My Memories of Marshall Leggett

By Ben Merold
As I think about Marshall Leggett, who passed away on March 2 at age 90, two personal experiences keep coming to my mind . . .

Powell Quintuplets Graduating from High School

When the Powell quintuplets were born in 2001, all of Kentucky celebrated, including Southeast Christian Church, where the Powells are longtime members. Now the quints are 18 and are all headed to the same university.

Reentry: It May Be Harder Than We Think

When the COVID-19 crisis eases, I anticipate that reentry is going to be harder than some people think. Churches, especially, need to prepare for this.