A Most-Critical Quarter
It's about now, with trees turning colors and pumpkin-smiles adorning city and suburban home fronts in and around the Chicago area, that Christianity Today begins the closing quarter of its fiscal year—a veritable "sprint" of content creation and number crunching with the goal of meeting or even exceeding our approved budget by year's end.
No small task for a nonprofit, to be sure. And even more difficult in a still-reeling economy and an industry restless for media business models that actually work.
So how are we doing, you ask? Well, truth be told, it's been a mixed bag.
On the positive side of the ledger are some exciting—even potentially game-changing—breakthroughs in the form of Cristianismo Hoy(Christianity Today for Hispanic church leaders) to be digitally-launched next Spring and the just released CT iPad app. (Check it out here on iTunes. It looks great! All biases aside, of course.)
Both of these products signal not only some of the changes coming to this venerable ministry over the months to come, but further speak to its continuing role of speaking thoughtfully, biblically, and strategically to evangelicals worldwide in an evolving variety of creative channels.
As for those inferred challenges, …
Well, for starters, while our print publications still account for slightly under 60% of our total revenues, the number of readers flocking to print continues to wane. (And this is not just a CT trend, of course, but the industry's "story" as a whole.) And exacerbating this revenue shortfall is the ongoing challenge on the digital side of publishing of all that free content on the web.
Of course, it's not free to Christianity Today. There are editors' and marketers' and designers' and ad sales peoples' salaries behind that content.
Happily, however, helping cover some of these operational costs are people like you—men and women who not only understand the challenges facing publishers but who recognize that the importance of CT's voice is worth something worth beyond their subscription dollars.
Indeed, the importance of CT's voice has been a constant refrain from many of you over the past months. One recent example beautifully captures what I mean.
• Reader reaction to the CT investigative report (September 2012) on David Jang and allegations that certain of his followers identify him as the second-coming Christ has sparked a lot of dialogue and not a little controversy. But I can say unequivocally that the majority of responses to this story have been positive. Emailed one CT reader: "There is no trusted source that I know of that does [this kind of] careful investigative journalism."
Carefully-crafted, trustworthy journalism. Just one reason those of us in this final-quarter sprint are more convinced than ever that CT's "call" remains as powerful today as ever before. (What other reasons would you add? Share them with me here.)
And that's why I'd like to prayerfully encourage you to consider what additionally you might do to strengthen CT's call. Stop by ChristianityToday.org and see in more detail where and how your tax-deductible dollars can help us hit the December 31 finish-line strong!
As always, thank you for your partnership in this ministry. And to God alone be the glory.
President and CEO
Follow me on Twitter @HaroldSmithCT