Would you believe it if I told you Charisma published 500 issues? I was shocked when I realized that the March issue of Charisma was our 500th. To celebrate, our publisher and vice president of the Charisma Media Group, Dr. Steve Greene, interviewed me on my “Strang Report” podcast. We discussed Charisma‘s beginnings and how God grew it from a small publication to the leading charismatic magazine it is today. You can listen to our entire conversation by clicking here or clicking the podcast at the end of this article.
Some of you may have heard Charisma‘s genesis story before. I’ve shared many times how as a Pentecostal journalist, I had a desire to publish a magazine that reported on what the Holy Spirit was doing in our nation and around the world. I had the chance to write a story on healing evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman for the Orlando Sentinel, a newspaper in central Florida. But I wanted to do more.
So in 1975, I founded a small charismatic magazine at a Florida megachurch. This was at the height of the Jesus Movement, when revivals were sweeping the U.S. and even traditional denominations were experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Our first issue was 32 pages, and I wrote the cover story on Thurlow Spurr, a Spirit-filled musician whose songs touched many. Two months later, our second issue featured Kathryn Kuhlman and the incredible healing miracles that characterized her ministry. That issue came out shortly before she died.
For the first year, I kept working at the Orlando Sentinel and published Charisma on the side. During that time, we printed 10,000 copies for about 420 subscribers. But I knew I had to commit my full attention to Charisma if I wanted to see it grow as I envisioned. So after that first year, I quit my job. The truth is that I didn’t have a desire to succeed as much as I had a desire not to fail.
And yet sometimes you can succeed by just not giving up. Because Charisma started in the midst of a charismatic revival, there were plenty of other Christian magazines around. I remember one gentleman who approached me to ask why I founded Charisma when there were already several magazines like it. Though rude, his comment stuck in my mind because all three of the Christian publications he mentioned by name are no longer active. Charisma is the only magazine of its kind that has stood the test of time. In fact, Charisma absorbed one of those Christian magazines, Christian Life, in 1986. Robert Walker founded that magazine back in 1939, and I admired him greatly. In fact, I have an entire room in our headquarters dedicated to his honor.
When I founded Charisma, my goal was merely to write articles about what the Lord was doing, and a church magazine seemed like a good way to do it. But now, our vision has grown in scope and specificity. As a multimedia company, we aim to inspire people to radically change their world through the Spirit’s power. And as technology has advanced over the last 40-plus years, God has likewise expanded our methods for reaching people with His Word. What started as a small print magazine now has grown to several print magazines, books, several online websites with daily articles and newsletters, numerous podcasts on our Charisma Podcast Network, a robust social media presence and much more.
As I look back on Charisma‘s unique journey, I’m grateful God has allowed us to publish 500 issues. In the mid-1970s, I don’t know if I would have been able to envision what God has done through us thus far. I would never have imagined that God would allow me to interview four U.S. presidents, including George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump. I would never have thought I would write two books on President Trump—God and Donald Trump and Trump Aftershock—about how God not only put him in office but has also used him mightily since his election.
Although March was technically Charisma‘s 500th issue, we officially celebrated the milestone in our April issue. (Click here to subscribe to two years of Charisma at half the price!) To listen to Dr. Steve Greene interview me about Charisma‘s Spirit-led journey, click on the podcast below, and be sure to subscribe to my “Strang Report” podcast at cpnshows.com.