The Baptist Bulletin had a great year in 2011. Many readers have offered kind comments about our articles on racism, immigration, and social justice. We even wrote about the end of the world, explaining why we were still here after May 21, 2011. On our website, the Baptist Bulletin interviews with Mark Dever and Al Mohler were among the most widely read and frequently linked.

Bucking the nationwide trend of declining print advertisement, our ad revenue doubled in 2011. Readers may have noticed five more pages of advertising. This is good news! We’re grateful for our advertisers’ faithful support.

To keep our finances healthy, we need to raise our subscription rates, starting with this issue. In the process, we’re also simplifying what we used to call our GROUP and TEAM plans. About 70 percent of our current subscriptions are group plans, so we’re trying to structure the rates in a way that passes savings along to our churches.

A long time ago the Bulletin had a plan we called the Every Active Family plan. We still think this is a good idea, even though the name has changed. Group subscriptions provide an excellent opportunity to encourage your church family and beyond. Consider this for your leadership team (pastors, deacons, teachers, and other ministry leaders). Or add a larger group subscription plan so every family can benefit from our heartwarming stories, practical ideas, and thought-provoking articles.

Yes, we’re excited about the future. At the same time the Baptist Bulletin staff is developing content for our print edition, we’re also researching digital formats for Kindle, iPad, and smartphones. And we are studying how to best develop our website so it can continue to serve our churches. One thing we’ve noticed: our readers are either “print” readers or “web” readers or “tablet” readers—almost like three separate audiences. We need to figure out ways to reach everyone, so we very much appreciate your input. Feel free to contact me the old-fashioned way (I still get letters). Or send e-mails to editor@baptistbulletin.org.

Travel fund

Darrell Goemaat fell asleep in Mark Jackson’s basement, surrounded by boxes of calendars, framed photos, old clocks, and a giant cowbell on a leather strap. “Mark’s Memorable Mementos,” one box said. Upstairs, I was sleeping in the TV room on a  pull-out sofa, with Dr. Jackson’s giant framed ordination certificate propped against the wall at the foot of the bed. Vernon Grounds signed it. So did Dr. Jackson’s father, Paul.

We had stayed up way too late, looking at old photos and hearing great stories. Some of these ended up in our profile of Dr. Jackson. (Read “Mark Jackson’s Last Trip Home.”) But we ran out of space and had to cut some good parts, like the time Darrell and Dr. Jackson visited a bar in the Ukraine—because it was also home to a newly formed Baptist church. Walking underneath cages on the wall (something about dancing women), Dr. Jackson dropped off a gigantic stack of materials funded by Gospel Literature Services. They needed it.

Our trip to the Jackson home in Berlin, Ohio, would not have been possible without the generous support of two churches that gave to the Baptist Bulletin Travel Fund: Indianola Regular Baptist Church in Indianola, Iowa, and Walnut Ridge Baptist Church in Waterloo, Iowa. We’re grateful for the churches and individuals who gave more than $1,800 last year, making it possible for us to cover stories around the country.

Darrell and I both work from offices in Schaumburg, Ill., on the northwest side of Chicago. Our central location and limited budget result in some fine stories from the Midwest. But what about our churches in New York, Florida, and California? And what about the fine work our churches are doing to support ministries around the world? Your gift to the Baptist Bulletin Travel Fund will allow our magazine to expand its reach.

Strictly speaking, what we do is not journalism, in the sense that we are “neutral” or interested in writing award-winning exposЋs. We’re friendly reporters, and mindful of Dr. Jackson, we might claim to be storytellers. We want our magazine to be a testimony of all that God is doing in our association of churches. Please consider sending a generous gift to the Baptist Bulletin Travel Fund, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173.

  • Donate to the Baptist Bulletin Travel Fund. Write “Baptist Bulletin travel fund” in the Comments section.

Kevin Mungons is managing editor of the Baptist Bulletin.