Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Read it. Enjoy it. And subscribe to it too!

The Nov/Dec issue of Faith Today is finding its way to you, if you subscribe. And hopefully you do! This issue includes an interview with Christian broadcaster and Crossroads CEO Lorna Dueck who tackles that very issue head on – Why should we bother to subscribe or donate to the production of Christian TV, magazines or books? Especially when so much is available for free online.

We like that you read it. We love when you subscribe to it. www.faithtoday.ca

Lorna was quick with a thoughtful answer. “Just like we’ve built leadership for our churches, we need to build up leadership for media. You have scores of young people going off to study journalism. We need places for them to serve. Faithful Christians subsidize Christian media in Canada.”

No one would ever argue, “We don’t need to worry about building up future Christian leaders. We can just recruit anyone with any kind of secular education, and they can learn on the job.” We all know the years of learning, mentoring and spiritual formation that go into developing future pastors and urban missionaries. We all sacrifice to ensure our seminaries and other ministry training programs continue. We love it when a young adult comes to minister in our community, and we invest in them as best we can.

We know our future leaders need godly communities where they can practise, develop their skills and learn to integrate their faith and work. Let’s not overlook the truth that Christian media ministries are also those kinds of places.

It’s never been simply about paying for what we consume. It’s about supporting institutions – or in fact teams of Christian communicators– that help sustain our shared Christian values into the future and help connect the Canadian Church.

Supporting Christian TV, magazines, authors and other creative producers ensures we have healthy material to feed our souls, rather than assuming we’ll always be able to find something worthwhile in whatever the mainstream media happens to produce based on whatever values are commercially profitable at the moment.

Christian journalism from our own country is especially valuable. We tell stories others don’t. We ask questions others won’t.

As you enjoy the next issue of Faith Today magazine and celebrate Advent and Christmas, and look ahead to the new year, we ask for your prayers and other support for our work on your behalf. As we remember to care for our pastors, let’s also care for our local Christian journalists, editors, broadcasters and artists as well. After all, we’re all on the same team, serving the same Lord, seeking to advance His Kingdom. May it come soon.

Off you go to the printers! See you soon.

Today we hit ‘send’ on the latest issue of Faith Today, shooting it out of our computers directly to the printers’, almost right on schedule. The last few days of a magazine’s production cycle involve poring over pages and pdfs, tweaking design (although our designer is so good we rarely do any tweaking) and trying to pick up any last stray errors or omissions. And then finally saying, “Done!”

Here it is! A sneak peek at our Jul/Aug issue. We’d love it to be your first issue as a Faith Today subscriber.

In about two weeks we will have the glossy, deliciously real magazine in our hands, ready for distributing, reading, flipping, sharing with friends, and fanning out on coffee tables (or this time of year, maybe straight to the cottage?).

We know you will enjoy this “birthday issue” of Faith Today. Not our birthday of course, but Canada’s. When we began to sketch out the issue we knew we wanted a kind-of aerial view piece on the evangelical Church in Canada. Where have we come from? What are our milestones, even as our country celebrates a biggie? And, perhaps most intriguingly, where are we headed? This one story, by veteran writer and intrepid-challenger-of-the-status-quo, John G. Stackhouse Jr., takes the lion’s share of space in this issue, as it should. But it is balanced beautifully with an essay by Mark Buchanan, a writer whom we think is one of Canada’s best. He’s been thinking about King David a lot lately, and what David can teach us about friendship.

We met up with Christine MacMillan at a conference recently in Ottawa. She is a leader in the Church in Canada who is now on the global stage with the World Evangelical Alliance. She’s been in the pages of Faith Today before, but not as the lead interview. We’re so glad she sat down with us and opened up about what she is seeing going on in the evangelical Church worldwide, but also about her own recent journey with cancer, something she refers to as the “cross of the unexpected.”
Continue reading Off you go to the printers! See you soon.

The latest issue of Faith Today is out in the world

Politics is on everyone’s mind these days. It’s almost impossible to avoid, and why would we? As Christians we know we are citizens of another Kingdom, one we will welcome someday in its fullness. But in the meantime we are called to be good citizens here, engaged in caring for our neighbours, our communities and creation.

Subscribe today to Canada’s Christian magazine, and never miss another issue.

Our cover article in the Mar/Apr issue of Faith Today provides challenging insights from a handful of different theologians on how our faith should not — and cannot — be separated from our politics. Canadians too easily assume politics is public and faith is private, but this article is a timely reminder to avoid that mistake.

Our interview with Loren Wilkinson presents another facet of citizenship — our call to care for creation. The B.C. poet and theologian, together with his wife Mary-Ruth Wilkinson, has devoted years to opening their home on Galiano Island to students who come to visit, feast together and get their hands dirty in creation’s soil around the island.

If the coming of spring isn’t already getting you thinking about gardening around your church, you probably will be after hearing from Wilkinson — and you’ll be reminded of its spiritual importance.

And that applies to sending kids to summer camp, as our advertising feature will no doubt remind you.
Continue reading The latest issue of Faith Today is out in the world

What’s up with Jan/Feb Faith Today?

The Jan/Feb issue of Faith Today didn’t start out to be a church-themed issue, but that is where we ended up.

And why should that surprise us?

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For most Canadian Christians, church is a vital part of our lives. It’s where we find community with other believers. It’s where we teach and are taught, love and are loved, forgive and are forgiven, among many other beautiful and challenging things. It’s where we worship God and where we are restored.

Church is also under no small pressure these days, as our cover story written by Canadian scholar and author  Lee Beach says. “If it were true that at one time the Church occupied a place near the centre of Canadian culture, this is no longer the case,” he writes.

Yet, being “Church in exile” or on the margins also gives us a chance to reform, and do things differently and better than ever.

“Exile is forcing the Church to re-engage with its biblical identity as a missional people called by God to go into the world to bring a message of hope, and embody that hope,” says Beach.

What do you think of that?
Continue reading What’s up with Jan/Feb Faith Today?

Please do scribble on the cover of this Faith Today

This is not an exaggeration: When we dreamed up the idea of a Faith Today cover that readers could colour, one of us leaped out of their chair in excitement. And one of us looked wary. Which is closer to your reaction?

Please color your Jul/Aug cover of Faith Today and submit a pic of your creation to us for our first, and likely only, coloring contest!
Please color your Jul/Aug cover of Faith Today and submit a pic of your creation to us for our first, and likely only, colouring contest!

Perhaps you’re not quite as excited as we both eventually became, but we hope you’ll take this opportunity to try your hand at adult colouring to see why so many Canadians have become so enthusiastic about it.

(Then, snap a pic of your creation and email it to editor@faithtoday.ca or post it on our Facebook page. You could win a colouring book!)

Whatever our opinions about colouring as a form of creativity, we all agree people are made in the image of our Creator God. God creates, and surely our desire to create comes from Him and can honour Him.

Admittedly, practising the creative arts is often low on our priority list, maybe in part because we feel intimidated by the thought of being artistic. So we invited Carolyn Arends to help us consider if art might be worth our time. See if you aren’t entirely convinced by her claim that we can be discipled through art!

Her essay suggests some simple ways to exercise our creativity this summer, and you’ll also find several other creativity-related articles throughout this issue.

Another highlight for us was interviewing the provocative Sarah Bessey. This Canadian writer, blogger and speaker is a fresh and emerging voice on the evangelical landscape. We thought it would be fun to speak to her, and it was. Here’s a peek. “I don’t know when in the history of the Church anyone would have cared what some happy-clappy mom from the Prairies would say.”

More and more people do care, actually, and that’s a good thing.

The ideas for these articles emerged from creative editorial brainstorming, but we also get many others pitched to us from trusted writers. That was the case with the profile of Marina Glogovac, CEO of CanadaHelps. We knew almost nothing about this Christian leader until writer Alex Newman heard her make a speech and saw the fit. Thanks for that, Alex.

Excellent writers who know how to write to the style and interests of Faith Today readers – and are available to do so – are rare. This spring we lost one of the best, Debra Fieguth of Kingston, Ont., who died suddenly from a stroke. Please join us in praying for her husband, parents and the many, many others who knew and loved her. We posted a tribute to her at www.faithtoday.ca/Debra.

May God bless all of us this summer with His creativity and His peace.

If you don’t subscribe to Faith Today, now is the perfect time. You will receive a free copy of Restore my Soul: A Coloring Book Devotional Journey by Ann-Margret Hovsepian.

Transparency and Authenticity abound in March/April Faith Today

As we read through the March/April issue of Faith Today  one final time before sending it to our printer, authenticity was a theme that jumped out at us.

People here are not interested in pretending it’s easy to be a Christian in today’s world.

Check out the latest issue of Faith Today!
Check out the latest issue of Faith Today at www.faithtoday.ca/digital!

Here are a few of our favourite lines:

“I was shocked. How could my friend be teaching college kids to love language, ideas and themselves, and not think she was doing things for God?” From Carolyn Arends,  page 19.

“You do feel you are being competed with if . . . a new church moves into town. I think it’s important . . . to go the extra mile and give honour to the people who have been there all along, trying to serve and putting in decades of work.” From our interview with Patti Miller, page 24.

“Many of . . . us spend our lives avoiding the real questions of being, identity and essence, and fall prey to the seductive message of both the culture and our hearts that doing and having are all that matter.” From Rod Wilson’s essay, page 30.

And how’s this for transparency: “But the road is so pitted with frustration – with administration, courts and the criminal element – that many officers become cynical, jaded, burnt out, depressed and even suicidal.” From Alex Newman’s interviews with Christian police officers, page 42.

Continue reading Transparency and Authenticity abound in March/April Faith Today

“Dear Church” and other bits of awesomeness from the latest Faith Today

by Karen Stiller

If you were going to write a letter to the Church, what would you say?

I know I’d have a few complaints and suggestions. Hopefully I would be polite and loving.

The Jan/Feb Faith Today will arrive in mailboxes soon.
The Jan/Feb Faith Today will arrive in mailboxes soon.

I know I would say thank you for all the Church has given me. For how it catapults me into community whether I feel like it or not, for how it comforts and challenges me, for how it forces me to grow by holding a mirror up to my unpleasantness.

I would say thank you for the small groups, for the good friends, for the egg salad and the white bread that is so hard to find anywhere else these days.

The cover story of the Jan/Feb Faith Today is exactly that: a letter to the Church from someone who loves it. Mark Buchanan, well-known and respected Canadian author, past-pastor and now professor of pastoral theology at Ambrose University, took the task very seriously. He says thanks, and then he makes some very solid suggestions to the Church he loves, and also challenges himself (and us!) to higher ground. On a purely superficial level, the spirit of the piece inspired one of our coolest covers ever, in my opinion.
Continue reading “Dear Church” and other bits of awesomeness from the latest Faith Today

Faith Today’s New Look

Redesign of Faith Today
Cover redesign

Faith Today is one of Canada’s top Christian magazines, but maintaining excellence – on behalf of you, the reader, and of the God we all serve – requires a regular influx of new life.

The beautiful magazine you now hold owes a lot to top-notch designer Janice Van Eck, who reworked and then polished every inch.

The redesign process also included a lot of editorial brainstorming about what elements should stay in Faith Today and what could go. We discussed, we met, we emailed, we called, we clipped and we cut. And we listened. Janice in particular listened carefully to our friendly debates about how Faith Today could be made better.

Continue reading Faith Today’s New Look

Tools for Thinking

Click on cover for the digital edition

When the Canadian Bible Engagement Study was released, we brainstormed how we could help Faith Today readers make sense of the data.

The report is a troubling examination of how much – or how little – Canadians use the Bible. Even most of us who identify as Christians rarely read it!

Continue reading Tools for Thinking

The Challenge of Growth

Click the cover image to read the May/Jun 2014 issue.

Church planting these days usually means breaking up some pretty hard Canadian soil. That’s why we thought it would be fascinating to assign writers in three cities to go behind the scenes in very different church plants to see what makes them tick – or grow.

If you live in eastern Canada, a part of the country where we had a tough time matching an available writer with an existing plant, please write to us and tell us about your church plant experience. We’d love to hear.

Continue reading The Challenge of Growth