Living things either progress or retrogress. Nothing is static! This is just as true of journals. MINISTRY has come a long way since its launching in 1928. In circulation it has grown from a few hundred at its inception to 17,000 sent to Seventh-day Adventist ministers and a quarter of a million on alternate months sent to non-Adventist clergy today. These figures do not include those Adventist ministerial journals in languages other than English that borrow some from our English MINISTRY.
In order to improve our journal, the MINISTRY staff felt the necessity of stepping aside for a while from the intrusions of the workaday world to contemplate where we have been and where we are going. Our retreat involved presentations, discussions, and lively small group experiences, all saturated with prayer.
One of our first tasks was to develop a statement of mission. In doing that, we became acutely aware of our widely diversified audience. Approximately half of our regular subscription list of 17,000 goes to Adventist ministers outside North America. Thus we must serve a wide variety of cultures. Our ecumenical outreach in the alternate monthly issues reaches religious leaders of all faiths. Meeting the needs of our varied reader ship presents an interesting challenge.
J. David Newman, our executive editor, sent questionnaires to a number of pastors in several Adventist conferences. Replies to these questionnaires indicated that articles speaking to the pastors' personal lives and their families were highly appreciated. Also a desire was expressed to have the pressing issues of the times, both inside and outside the church, treated in a balanced and open way.
After considering these suggestions and giving attention to the original objectives of MINISTRY, which were formulated nearly sixty years ago, we drew up the statement of mission that is printed on page 25 in this month's issue.
As you study this statement of mission please note that the purpose of our journal--first and foremost--is to exalt Jesus Christ; to awaken in our readers a greater love that will bind their hearts and lives to Him in service to others both at home and in the ministry. In exalting Christ we want to make more prominent the nearness of our Lord's second coming and to examine more critically the foundational truths of the gospel. Another purpose of our journal is to build bridges of understanding and trust between peoples of differing faiths, theologies, and cultures. It is our desire to recognize our mutual humanness and work together on our problems. We believe that in so doing we will see that after all we are not so different!
After forging our statement of mission, the remainder of our time was spent in setting specific objectives. We assigned the following percentage allotments relative to the type of articles used: the minister's personal needs, 25 percent; his/her professional skills, 20 percent; theological and Biblical studies, 15 percent; the minister and his family, 15 percent; current issues, 15 percent; and the minister's spouse, 10 percent. In follow-up meetings we planned our schedule of subjects for 1986. Beginning with next January we believe you will find improvements in MINISTRY both in content and in layout and design.
We seek reader response to our statement of mission. Inform us as to what kinds of articles you would like to see in MINISTRY. We want to get to know you better and meet your felt needs, both in your personal lives and your ministry. If you are interested in writing for us, send for our Writer's Guidelines. We recently have doubled our article payment rates. Even though our increase won't make you rich, it could buy you a new suit of clothes!--J.R.S.