Have We Given Up on The Power of Adventist Publishing?

I was lying in my bed this morning thinking about my younger days as an adventist youth. Those were some of the best times of my life. As I lay there staring at the ceiling trying to decide when I was going to get out of bed I thought about Friday evenings. On Friday evenings we would sit as a family…I and my siblings would be finishing up the week’s sabbath school lesson and my father would be reading Message Magazine.

At the time, I thought it to be normal that Message magazine was the only Adventist magazine to have African-American faces on the cover. I remember reading the articles as if it were second nature. In reflection, I now think to myself what an impact!  At a time when Seventh-day Adventist African-American achievments were not publicized, there was a magazine that did just that. It also kept us current on political and social changes that impacted our community. My mother would always look forward to the new recipes for upcoming sabbath dinners.

As I then started to hear my alarm clock in the distance I began to ask myself this very important question:

Is Adventist publishing dead or dying a slow death?

Both possibilities are frightening. Our local conference office has eliminated this department and we no longer hear of call portering groups as promising summer employment opportunities for our youth.

Then as I began to turn over, I asked myself another question:

Has the digital age killed Adventist publishing?

Many of our publishing magazines now have blog sites similar to this one. The only problem is that these magazines were tools we used to bring in new souls. How are they using the technology transition to reach unbelievers? I have not seen any new strategies or approaches to this complex issue. It is no secret that these magazines, including Message magazine, is facing a huge decline in subscriptions and sales. My final question is:

Have we given up?

Our former publishing director in this conference has a vigorous passion for the printed word. He among many others in his generation must find it disappointing that this has not been a priority.

Have we thrown up our hands and are now only making these materials available members? Our print materials are an important element to keeping people connected to our faith. In the words of Jonah_77 …

What Say You?

~The Forgotten Shepherdess

 

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About The Forgotten Shepherdess

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7 Responses to Have We Given Up on The Power of Adventist Publishing?

  1. Anonymous says:

    If Publishing Is Dead
    Who Killed It?

    As an African American S. D. A. I have never understood how we have this inordinate desire to go along with the majority even if it is to our detriment. I was a high school junior on May 17, 1954; When the Supreme Court voted that the separate but equal concept in public schools was unconstitutional. Jim Crow Laws under the onslaught of bus boycotts, sit-ins, freedom rides, and protests caused segregation to crumble. Integration, however; brought a new challenge. Many felt that we could forsake our own institutions and business and join those of the majority culture. But we soon discovered that we had left ours behind to share what belonged to others. I liken it to the dog in Aesop’s fable who seeing his reflection in a nearby pond reasoned he could take the bone from the other dog. Having plunged into the pond he lost the bone that he had and ended up with nothing. Sadly, this fable adequately describes our naïveté as African American Seventh-day Adventists.

    In the 1970 African American leaders instituted our own publishing ministry which we dubbed Family Health Education Service because the original program did not feature African American in our publications and the pay-by-mail plan did not work well for minority customers. Whether strong or weak F. H. E. S. Is our baby. Why should we discontinue our ministry because of what others have done? When the majority of our unions in the North American Division closed their publishing departments at the union level, regional conferences did not follow suit. However, eventually; some of our conferences followed the examples of their respective unions. Therefore we can blame no one for the demise of our publishing ministry but ourselves. In 2007, the constituency of our conference voted to refer the future of the publishing department to the conference committee. Seven months later the conference committee voted with only one dissenting vote. At this time the publishing department had over $40,000.00 in it’s treasury. This money was merged into the conference treasury despite my protestations.

    The Review and Herald as well as the Pacific Press our two United States publishing facilities, are presently facing tremendous financial challenges. What can you expect when the spiritual marines of our church are being decimated? Why have armories to prepare ammunition, if there are no soldiers

    The Painful Divorce

    Have you ever thrown away something, that you later discovered that you needed I know I have. Our Educational system is in a state of dissolution because we have killed the economic system is in s state of dissolution because we have killed the economic arm of our church, publishing. Many of the people in our constituency owe their present positions and success to the funds they earned as student literature evangelists. Are we now willing to chop down the bridge for future generations? A little Israeli boy had a friend that was coming to Israel for a visit. The Jewish lad pondered long and hard over what he could show his American friend that would be impressive. When his buddy from the U. S. arrived, the Israeli, lad lead his friend down to the shore of the dead sea and said: “That’s the dead sea, my father killed it” will it be said of us who through the neglect and disdain for the literature evangelism program will cause us to say something similar to our constituency “That’s The Publishing Ministry, We Killed It.”

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      It is painful to see an institution destroyed by our own hands. I to have benefited from publishing when leaders took me out and I sold books so that I could earn money for my next meal.

      I hope that the administration of our conference is paying attention to this very important comment. I have emailed TFS to make to see if it can posted. Thank you for such a well written article.

      Like

  2. Anonymous says:

    If Publishing Is Dead
    Who Killed It?

    As an african-american S. D. A. I have never understood how we have this inordinate desire to go along with the majority even if it is to our detriment. I was a high school junior on May 17, 1954; When the Spreme Court voted that the separate but equal concept in public schools was unconstitutional. Jim Crow Laws under the onslaught of bus boycotts, sit-ins, freedom rides, and protests caused segregation to crumble. Integration, however; Brought a new challenge. Many felt that we could forsake our own institutions and business and join those of the majority culture. But we soon discovered that we had left ours behind to share what belonged to others. I liken it to the dog in Aesop’s fable who seeing his reflection in a nearby pond reasoned he could take the bone from the other dog. Having plunged into the pond he lost the bone that he had and ended up with nothing. sadly, this fable adequately describes our naivette as african-american Seventh-day Adventists.

    In the 1970 african-american leaders institued our own publishing ministry which we dubbed Family Health Education Service because the original program did not feature african-american in our publications and the pay-by-mail plan did not work well for minority customers. Whether strong or weak F. H. E. S. Is our baby. Why should we discontinue our ministry because of what others have done? When the majority of our unions in the North American Division closed their publishing departments at the union level, regional conerences did not follow suit. However, eventually; some of our conferences followed the examples of their respective unions. Therefore we can blame no one for the demise of our publishing ministry but ourselves. In 2007, the constituency of our conference voted to refer the future of the publishing department to the conference committee. Seven months later the conference committe voted with only one dissenting vote. At this time the publishing department had over $40,000.00 in it’s treasury. This money was merged into the conference treasury despite my protestations.

    The Review and Herald as well as the Pacific Press our two United States publishing facilities, are presently facing tremendous financial challenges. What can you expect when the spiritual marines of our church are being decimated? Why have armories to prepare ammunition, if there are no soldies to use it?

    The Painful Divorce

    Have you ever thrown away something, that you later discovered that you needed I know I have. Our Educational system is in a state of dissolution because we have killed the economic system is in s state of dissolution because we have killed the economic arm of our church, publishing. Many of the people in our constituency owe their present positions and success to the funds they earned as student literature evangelists. Are we now willing to chop down the bridge for future generations? A little Israeli boy had a friend that was coming to Israel for a visit. The Jewish lad pondered long and hard over what he could show his american friend that would be impressive. When his buddy from the U. S. arrived, the Israeli, lad lead his friend down to the shore of the dead sea and said: “That’s the dead sea, my father killed it” will it be said of us who through the neglect and disdain for the litersture evangelism program will cause us to say something similar to our constituency “That’s The Publishing Ministry, We Killed It.”

    Like

  3. Anonymous says:

    The problem with a lot of these publications, they are not publishing what we need but what they think we need

    Like

  4. Marian says:

    I remember when we were a reading people! I am sorry we no longer have a strong publishing work. However, we have forgotten why we are where we are today. We stand on the backs of “those who survived”. Our ancestors risked their lives to learn how to read – today, we don’t read! We have lost our interest in reading and its reflected in our lack of interest in the delights reading provides.

    We buy all types of electronic gadgets, but we don’t buy books. A publishing work cannot exist if the market will not purchase the produvt. I’m always discouraged on Sabbath morning when members have no clue about the Sabbath School lesson and the time is taken going through the lesson day-by-day, reading each and every note.

    Here’s an opportunity for personal responsibilitiy. And before you take me to task, yes, I DO own a Kindle. I use it when I travlel (it’s much less bulky and weighty than books). However, I read books as often as I can. We need to model for our children reading books, especially our Bibles and Sabbath School lessons.

    I remember when the threat was to close down the Message Magazine. It seems today we’re going to make that true – do you have a Message subscription that comes to your home, and how many have you sponsored?

    Like

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