By Jerry Harris
What’s going on with the CHRISTIAN STANDARD and The Lookout? As a pastor of a church and a founding board member of The Solomon Foundation, I was interested in the answer to that question. Both magazines have been staples of the Restoration Movement from early on, and I, like many, had assumed they would always be there.
When I heard in our board meeting the CHRISTIAN STANDARD and The Lookout could be shut down because their owners had found no buyers for them, I was deeply troubled. The chairman of the Publishing Committee had informed Doug Crozier, CEO of The Solomon Foundation, that earlier negotiations to purchase the magazines had proven fruitless. The timeline for response was extremely short, and it would nearly take a miracle to pull it off.
Doug presented the situation to the The Solomon Foundation board and, with their approval, investigated whether it could be done. The board members agreed that owning these magazines was beyond the scope of what extension funds do, but there was also a strong desire to keep these symbols of our fellowship and unity speaking out. After careful review, the board decided to move forward with the purchase.
A new not-for-profit, Restoration Movement Media, was set up for the transition. Now, for the first time in 62 years, CHRISTIAN STANDARD and The Lookout are owned by the Restoration Movement!
Finding a Leader
With Mark Taylor’s looming retirement, the next hurdle was to find someone who would lead these magazines into a bright future. It’s one thing to own a magazine but quite another to run it. That was when five different leaders from our movement (Doug Crozier, Barry Cameron, Don Wilson, Dennis Bratton, and Mike Nave) spoke with me individually about being that person. I already have a great responsibility in helping to lead a large multisite church like The Crossing, but the confidence these men expressed in me was not to be brushed aside. After some processing and prayer, I came back to Doug with these stipulations:
1. I would lead these magazines while continuing my work with The Crossing.
2. I would take no salary from the magazines, as that is already being provided by my church. (I wanted there to be no conflict of interest in the eyes of my elders. However, The Solomon Foundation has set up a rabbi trust for me.)
3. The Solomon Foundation would relinquish ownership of Restoration Movement Media, CHRISTIAN STANDARD, and The Lookout when they were able to stand on their own.
I presented a four-stage process to Doug:
Stage 1: Initially, the magazines would operate with The Solomon Foundation/Restoration Movement Media as owners. During this stage, Restoration Movement Media would seek board members not attached to the foundation.
Stage 2: As the magazines were able to produce a positive cash flow, the foundation would move to the role of benefactor, seeing to it the magazines remained stable as their base and subscriptions were rebuilt. Restoration Movement Media would then begin a process of using its positive cash flow to repay the foundation for its investment, with interest.
Stage 3: As the initial investment was paid off, The Solomon Foundation would become a contributor, stepping back from control. Restoration Movement Media would be an independent ministry.
Stage 4: Finally, with all of The Solomon Foundation’s investment completely repaid, with interest, the foundation would be completely disconnected from ownership of the magazines. Its only involvement with the magazines would be as an advertiser like the many other ministries whose messages appear in the magazine’s pages.
Doug, the TSF board, and the newly formed Restoration Movement Media board were very happy with this proposal.
Accepting the Privilege
With these stipulations in place, I accepted the privilege of being the new publisher for CHRISTIAN STANDARD and The Lookout. You will see a number of changes in the July issue of CHRISTIAN STANDARD, my first issue as publisher. Those who attend the NACC will receive a complimentary copy of this newly remade magazine.
In next month’s article, I will explain what you can expect with CHRISTIAN STANDARD’s new look and approach, and I hope that you, like me, will take advantage of subscribing to this old friend and share it with your congregations.
Jerry Harris, pastor with The Crossing in Quincy, Illinois, assumes full duties as publisher of CHRISTIAN STANDARD with its July issue.