From the Worldwide Faith News archives

The Disciple Magazine to Suspend Publication in 2002

From "Communication Ministries" <>
Date Fri, 21 Dec 2001 13:31:14 -0500

Date: December 21, 2001
Disciples News Service
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Contact: Curt Miller
on the Web:


	ST. LOUIS (DNS)  -- Christian Board of Publication (CBP)
announced today that, with great regret, it would suspend
publication of The Disciple magazine early in 2002. Despite
award-winning efforts to make the magazine more appealing
to a wider audience in the church, fewer than 20,000
Disciples out of three-quarters of a million members now
subscribe. Current plans call for the January/February 2002
issue to be the last regular edition of the magazine, to be
followed in March by a special closing issue. 	
	In making the announcement, CBP president and publisher
Cyrus N. "Russ" White offered the following statement:

	"Not only does the board and staff feel tremendous loss
and regret about this decision because of the important
role The Disciple and it predecessor publications have
played in the life of our church, we also feel great
personal sorrow because we have poured so much time,
energy, and spiritual focus into the magazine to make it
more attractive to a larger cross section of Disciples. 
The staff of The Disciple has done amazing work, and it is
incredibly painful to face the realization that even a
magazine of this quality cannot continue. While it is true
that 86% of our clergy subscribe, it is also true that
fewer than 2% of the general membership does. Half of the
subscriptions come in the form of bulk orders to
congregations, and in many cases this means that copies of
the magazine are placed on tables in churches for
individuals to pick up.  

	"Our board has shown extraordinary vision, wisdom, and
courage in reaching this decision. As individuals and a
group, they have a deep love of God and our church. I am
grateful for the leadership and spiritual maturity they
brought to this very difficult evaluation. All of us at CBP
are focused on discovering what will encourage
congregations as they help people grow as disciples of
Jesus Christ. We
are finding new areas of service to the church that are
beginning to show results - we are trying to change what we
do to support congregations that are effective in ministry.
We know that it would be a mistake to continue to support
what doesn't work.  As a staff and board, we have been
learning to act in faithful discernment and to take risks.
We talk and pray about what we are to do. We are learning
that if we are willing to seek God's leading in these
difficult decisions, that God does open a way and new life
does emerge. As Christians, we know about death and
resurrection. We know the agony of letting go something we
hold dear, only to discover a joy far more than we could
expect or imagine in what God brings out of it.

	 "No one feels the pain of bringing the magazine to an end
more than the staff that has given it life. Patricia Case
and her team have done wonderful things with The Disciple
while it has been in their care.These are extraordinary,
creative people. They have given all they are to making the
magazine the best it can be. We need people like these
engaged in endeavors that build up the church, but it would
be wrong to have them continue producing The Disciple,
given what we see now. 

	 "What will take the place of The Disciple? Nothing - and
several things. We are confident that excellent resources
the church can use will emerge quickly. CBP has already
begun to consider possibilities for new information
resources. It will not be one new idea that picks up where
The Disciple leaves off - it will be many ideas from many
sources. CBP is committed to serving the Christian Church
(Disciples of Christ) by providing resources that
congregations can use to bring the unchurched to awareness,
seekers to belief, and believers to deeper commitment to
God through Jesus Christ."

	Current subscribers to the magazine will have opportunity
to receive the unused portion of their paid subscriptions
as a credit or refund, or to contribute the amount back to
CBP to support the development of new resources.

	The history of The Disciple magazine can be traced back to
the late 1800's and J.H. Garrison's Christian-Evangelist.
Through a succession of publications, CBP began publishing
The Disciple magazine in the early 1970's upon the merger
of the World Call and The Christian publications.

	Since that time, subscriptions have suffered a steady
decline, falling to about 85,000 in 1977, to 51,000 in
1987, to 28,000 in 1997, and will end 2001 at about 19,000
with no indication of improvement. 

	While it does not receive mission funding from the
denomination, Christian Board of Publication is recognized
as a General Ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of
Christ), supported through the sales of resources and
services it provides. The purpose of CBP is to provide
resources to faith communities that help them bring the
unchurched to awareness, seekers to belief, and believers
to deeper commitment to God through Jesus Christ.

	                                          -- end --

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