21 May, 2024

Thanks, Jim!

by | 1 May, 2024 | 1 comment

By Shawn McMullen

On May 31, Christian Standard’s managing editor, Jim Nieman, will retire from the position he has held for the past 26 years. In that time Jim has provided a measure of editorial direction, wisdom, excellence, and camaraderie that can’t effectively be put into words. 

Jim is a consummate editor. A master of the English language, his familiarity with the rules of style, usage, and grammar have made Christian Standard not only practical and helpful, but readable.  

I asked some of Jim’s coworkers and colleagues to share their thoughts on Jim’s retirement. 

Christian Standard Publisher Jerry Harris responded, 

When I assumed responsibilities as publisher for Christian Standard, I really had no idea what that would actually mean. Having Jim Nieman there really made the difference. Jim had worked for Standard Publishing for decades and had a deep understanding of so many of the systems and procedures, that I had little to worry about. Through the years, he has been patient with me and operated as a true team player as managing editor. His background as a newspaper journalist gave him great instincts for our news division and two weekly newsletters. He has been foundational to the continuing ministry and excellence of Christian Standard and will be missed greatly, but we are excited that his retirement will give more opportunity for him to be with family. 

Dave Faust, who writes The Lookout Bible Lesson Application and serves as contributing editor for Christian Standard, wrote, 

Much of a managing editor’s work takes place behind the scenes—assisting writers, editing articles, and collecting news stories—but Jim Nieman deserves public appreciation for his quarter-century of steady stewardship in his work with Christian Standard. He has performed his duties as managing editor with professional excellence and godly wisdom.  

I asked freelance journalist Chris Moon, who worked closely with Jim for many years to provide feature articles and news items for Christian Standard, to share his perspective. 

Jim is a great editor. He’s got wonderful journalistic skills, and he pairs that with a true compassion for the church. It’s one thing to report the news, but it’s something special to be able to do that with an eye on the ultimate subject of our reporting, which is the bride of Christ. Ultimately, we are here to encourage and build up the church. Jim never lost sight of this.  

Jim is a detailed guy. He’s great at surveying the news for good story leads. Whenever he assigns a story to me, he does it with precision and care. Sometimes, he’ll do half the reporting for me! He’ll include links to related stories, contact information, and a detailed description of how he might approach the story. Yes, his emails sometimes are on the long side, but I appreciate that. And then Jim will end the whole thing with a line like, “But use your best instincts. I trust you.” That’s what good editors do. And Jim has been one of the best.  

It also seemed appropriate that we hear Jim’s own words as he enters retirement. So I asked him to respond to a few questions. 


SHAWN McMULLEN: When did you begin your work with Christian Standard? 

JIM NIEMAN: My first day with Christian Standard was February 23, 1998. I remember that mainly because Christian Standard’s news editor back then, Ruth Davis, would remind me of it every year. One of her daughters was born on the same day. Ruth and I worked together for several years. 

Can you share one or two highlights of your time with the magazine?  

When I came to Standard Publishing, I arrived with a journalism degree and a background in newspapers. Sure, I grew up in one of our churches, but everyone at Standard seemed to have degrees from Christian colleges. Many had been working at Standard for 30-plus years. It was somewhat intimidating. Did I really belong? But my first boss, editor Sam Stone—and everyone else, for that matter—definitely made me feel welcome. 

I recognized I was hired for my editing abilities and not my Bible knowledge. I still sometimes tell people that Standard hired me despite my background. 

During my second year, Sam asked me to write the main article for a special-run brochure we produced called “Jesus, His Church, and You.” I wrote the article in a couple of days, and I was pleasantly surprised that Sam not only liked it, but he edited it with a light hand. After it was printed, several people in the office complimented me on the article. It helped me feel like I belonged. 

Another highlight in that regard is when Mark Taylor, about a year into serving as editor, asked me to do first edits of all articles. He showed a lot of trust in me. I’ve continued to fulfill that duty for about 20 years. 

In recent years, it’s kind of funny—and a little sad—that I’ve become the magazine’s longest-serving employee. Also, over time, I’ve become the magazine’s de facto historian. 

What have you most appreciated about your work with CS? 

Over the years, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know co-workers I see or interact with every day, as well as our readers and people who help us produce the magazine. 

My bosses have all been great and godly influences—Sam Stone, Mark Taylor, Mike Mack, and Shawn McMullen. I also learned a lot from and developed friendships among people in the editorial department, among other designers, and even among our off-site printing liaisons. 

Even though the magazine’s circulation has faced challenges, I appreciate that when we ask someone to write for us, they are inclined to say yes. And even if they can’t, they are always very gracious and supportive of our work. 

Our writers and our subscribers almost to a person are always very encouraging and appreciative. They’ve been a pleasure to work with and serve. That’s been quite a contrast from taking angry phone calls when I worked as a city editor at a daily newspaper. 

Is there anything you would like to say to CS readers as you make this transition? 

I’ve tried to keep God and our readers constantly in mind throughout my career with Christian Standard, whether in my writing, editing, or website work. What will help our readers as I write this, edit this, assign this, design this, and post this? When I think of our readers, I often picture my grandmother, who would pick up a copy of the magazine every Sunday at her church in Frankfort, Kentucky. I never want to disappoint anyone. 

What do you plan to do in retirement? 

Ruth Davis used to describe the pressure of producing a periodical as “relentless.” She was right. It will be good to get out from under those deadlines . . . the very real feeling that there’s always some aspect of this job and ministry that I could be working on. It’s a feeling that has only intensified during the past seven years of working remotely. 

My wife, Mary, and I have been married for almost 35 years. We want to travel more, and visit our two children, who now live hundreds of miles away . . . and our first grandchild.  

I started some writing projects almost 20 years ago that I feel compelled to revisit. Maybe I’ll start a blog—America needs more of those, right? I also like to read, go on daily walks with my wife, and run a few times a week. I don’t have it all mapped out, but I’m looking forward to it! 

Jim, you have blessed our editorial team, thousands upon thousands of readers, and the legacy of Christian Standard in remarkable ways. We’ll miss your presence and guidance, and we’ll always be grateful for your ministry. 

_ _ _

Welcome, Rick! 

On June 3, Dr. Rick Cherok will assume the role of managing editor for Christian Standard. Rick comes to us with an extensive background in academia, Christian publishing, and Restoration Movement history. As founder and executive director of Celtic Christian Mission, Rick brings to the post a passion for global evangelism as well. 


To help us welcome Rick to the Christian Standard team, I asked his soon-to-be colleagues to share their thoughts about his arrival. 

Publisher Jerry Harris observed,  

I never cease to be amazed at how God has provided for this ministry. He provided Shawn McMullen after the unexpected passing of Mike Mack, and now, with the retirement of Jim Nieman, he has provided Rick Cherok as our new managing editor. Rick comes with a wealth of experience, not only in editing and writing, but with two bachelor’s degrees in biblical studies, two master’s degrees in education and history, and a PhD in history. He has been a professor at Cincinnati Christian University and Ozark Christian College, also teaching at Hope International University and Mid-South Christian College. He has been an editor at College Press Publishing and has been senior minister at multiple churches in our movement. To me, this means that he sees ministry from both a professor’s and practitioner’s point of view. He is widely published and committed to world missions. I am excited to welcome Rick into this ministry and to learn from him! 

Contributing Editor Dave Faust noted, 

While we will miss Jim, I can’t think of anyone better qualified to succeed him than Rick Cherok, with his decades of experience as a college professor, missions enthusiast, editor, and preacher. Rick understands our movement’s history and values, and he is a friend to the church and its leaders. I am glad to add my voice to the chorus of friends saying, “Thanks, Jim, for your faithful service,” and “Welcome, Rick, to the ministry of Christian Standard!” 

I doubt you’ll find anyone among our churches who loves and appreciates the Restoration Movement more than Rick. His experience and skill set will be an invaluable addition to our ministry. 

Welcome, Rick! We look forward to serving Christ and his church with you for many years to come. 

1 Comment

  1. Kevin Morrow

    You’re getting a rare and wonderful jewel in Rick Cherok! He’s a great friend, mentor, and is one of my favorite professors from my seminary days at CBC&S! God bless him in this new role, and God bless Christian Standard for remaining steadfastly committed to its mission and purpose all these years.

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