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“Some assembly required.”
As long as I’ve been able to read, those were always welcome words. I loved to put things together, whether children’s toys, cheap furniture, or Lego bricks. So, it’s probably natural that I enjoyed working with Fellowship Focus. A magazine requires a lot of assembly. There are no instructions, and parts don’t seem to fit, either by topic or length or mood.
Editors usually try to build a loose template, so when a story comes in, they have an idea where it should go. The back cover, and the pages inside the back cover are what people look at first, so you try to put the good stuff there — good stuff like people stories, heartwarming stories.
A few years before I became editor, the Fellowship adopted the vision statement “We will be a fellowship of churches that equips and inspires one another so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is proclaimed by every member of every church at every opportunity.” This led to a column called “Catch the Vision” on the back cover of each issue. This was a personal interest story about how a reader found an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus. We solicited stories from our readers, they responded, and usually we had a pool of stories to choose from.
The centerfold pages are valuable real estate in a magazine because they display a long story or a lot of photos. Each spring the centerfold promoted the annual Connect meetings and the Connect project.
One of the best centerfold stories to run while I was editor was Terry Schultz’s “Too Busy for Outreach” (Jan/Feb 2016). By using a flow chart and hard questions, Mr. Schultz helped us determine whether we were really too busy to talk about Jesus, or whether we were making poor excuses.
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The Fellowship Focus is online publication focused on spreading the Good News and keeping our fellowship informed, connected and encouraged.