Our Vision for the Future of Christian Magazines

by | Sep 29, 2011 | Charisma Archive, Uncategorized

Thanks to technology, Charisma’s latest opportunity might be the biggest yet—and you can be a part of itf-Strang-OurVision

When I felt led to start a small church magazine 36 years ago, I barely knew what God had in store. Yet I dreamed back then that maybe somehow we’d reach a million people.

That was 1975, before the personal computer was invented and when the electric typewriter I worked on was considered high tech. Fast-forward more than three decades and there are now ways to communicate via digital that are almost beyond belief.

We’ve been covering the digital revolution since churches began using computers back in the 1980s and when the Internet appeared in the early 1990s. Technology didn’t seem to affect us much; we still communicated by printing words on paper (even about technology) and mailed it to readers.

Now magazines are beginning to migrate to the iPad and other digital devices such as the Kindle. It creates challenges for those of us trying to understand how to use all this technology to do what God called us to do. Yet we see the opportunities and know it’s an exciting, adventurous time.

When our editorial team chose to write about how churches and ministries are using technology, we decided our story was also worth being told—and that as the founder, I’d be the best person to tell it. 

Now Charisma is moving into the tablet format. Of course, Charisma has already been available online for more than two years. We started by putting the print issue into a digital format where you could “turn the pages electronically.” Then we learned we could add videos and music and interact with the reader in ways we could never do just in print. 

Last year we launched Charisma Digital in a more reader-friendly horizontal format with bigger type so you didn’t need to “zoom in and out” to read articles. At the time, even the secular industry took notice and said we were among the top-five digital magazines overall. Other magazines noticed and some began copying us (the sincerest form of flattery).

But since then the iPad has become an industry standard and magazines have adjusted to delivering their issues in the app environment. So now we’ve developed our own app through which you can download and read Charisma Digital on the iPad and (later this month) on the Android. About the same time, you’ll also be able to purchase single issues on the Nook and Kindle.

Our vision is to bring about God’s kingdom in our “sphere”—to serve as an alternative voice of truth amid the clutter of other media outlets. We want to offer believers like you trustworthy reporting of what God is doing around the world and prophetic insight into the times. We currently do that through our free news app, our new and improved websites, and several of our new ventures into video and digital media. 

We aim to inspire, inform and empower people by someday creating many digital magazines on topics ranging from spiritual warfare to Christian Zionism to the role of prophecy in the church. And we’d like eventually to create digital resources that would appeal to children and teens as well.

f-Strang-OurVision2I envision a day coming soon when you’ll be able to create and customize your own digital publications to include on-demand content that appeals to your personal interests and helps you grow in the Spirit. 

But that day is not here yet. So as the old saying goes, we’re blooming where we’re planted, and I believe we can use the new media to reach millions of people with the message of the power of the Holy Spirit, to stand for righteousness and to encourage people to radically change their world.

As we grow, we’re encouraging people to subscribe to Charisma Digital and interact with the magazine on their tablet device, smartphone or desktop computer. The cost is about the same as print, and when you subscribe you get access to all the platforms so you can read it when you want, where you want. Plus, the experience includes videos, music, podcasts, photo galleries, book samplers, links, interactive media and ways to directly order things that aren’t possible with ink on paper.

I bought an iPad a few months ago and enjoy reading magazines on it. It’s a pleasant experience and more convenient than having to sit in front of a computer screen. But almost all the magazines available on the iPad are secular and many include questionable content. I believe Charisma is needed in this environment. 

Charisma is still the leading voice for the Spirit-filled community, both here and around the world. In fact, in recent weeks we’ve been quoted by Al-Jazeera, The New York Times and CNN on various hot-button cultural and spiritual issues. This shows our voice is being heard, even among those most hostile to the movement we represent.

If this resonates with you, go ahead and subscribe as a show of support.  Think of the ways we can advance the gospel. Think of the witness we can be in a marketplace that barely hears the name of the Lord, let alone the power of the Holy Spirit.

The technology is changing fast, but we’ve worked hard and feel confident we can deliver a good product that’s more than just a good read. We believe we’re helping to expand God’s kingdom by reporting on what the Holy Spirit is doing around the world and inspiring people toward a deeper life in the Spirit—just as I set out to do 36 years ago.

Is this appealing to you? Do you want to be among the first to subscribe? If so, check out our ad on page 46 for more information, or go online to charismadigital.com to sign up today. By doing so you can enjoy not only the content you’ll receive but participate in the adventure.

Steve Strang is the founder and publisher of Charisma. His favorite app right now is (no joke) the Charisma News app, but he also enjoys playing an occasional game of Whirly Word on his iPhone (also no joke).


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