Magazine makeover


We hope the changes are pleasant—and tasty

by Connie Faber

Since U.S. Mennonite Brethren partner as one family, the Christian Leader functions in many ways like the family dinner table. This is a place where we talk, listen and learn from each other. We might not always agree, but around the table we’re family. And this is a dinner table that expands and grows as new congregations and individuals join us.

Just like the family cook every so often changes the menu, magazine editors periodically alter the content and appearance of a publication. While the CL was redesigned in 2005, it’s been 18 years since the CL had a significant makeover. For some time now we’ve dreamed of publishing in full color and of reworking our magazine to better reflect current publishing trends and practices. This month you see the fruit of this labor. And its worth noting that thanks to the recent purchase of new printing equipment by the printer with whom we contract, the move to full color did not raise our printing bill!

Think of the “new” CL as the same balanced diet but with a twist. Some favorite dishes are seasoned with different spices, while other parts of our menu feature new dishes. We hope the changes are pleasant—and tasty.

  • Our new content plan, guided by the 2009 Readership Survey and staff research, reflects the U.S. Conference mission statement that we “partner as one family serving one Lord on one mission, for the transformation of individuals, families and communities.”
  • We hope the new column format will help readers think in new ways about these integral parts of our everyday lives. New columns written by a variety of authors will focus on family issues, the impact of media in our lives and testimonies of transformation. Devotionals written by Mennonite Brethren pastors and two reader essay opportunities are also new. We know readers will miss the regular contributions of our long-standing columnists, and I want to thank Rose Buschman and Phil Wiebe for their faithful contributions over the many years they served as CL columnists.
  • The feature section will target general and specific interests of readers in all stages of life, encourage discipleship and address contemporary issues of faith and life. We are moving away from a theme for each issue’s feature department and think this is a good move given the shift to a bimonthly publishing schedule. 
  • News Briefs and Church News departments are expanded. The addition of a Mission USA section includes news about church planting and a message from Mission USA director Don Morris.

Even with these changes, we remain committed to providing a gathering place for the people, passions and mission of U.S. Mennonite Brethren. In some ways, our denomination is not all that different from a busy household. We are culturally diverse and geographically scattered. Family dinners are less frequent than they once were.

Which is exactly why having a gathering place is so important. The ways in which we communicate are changing, but the benefits of being linked to one another remain the same. The better we know the other members of our rich and varied family of faith and the more we talk together about our shared values and convictions, the greater our opportunity to experience the “oneness” that can be ours as part of Christ’s church.


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