Voices

A new assignment

No arm-twisting but a chance to share my passion-and feast on dessert

Issue: "Foster care's future," March 5, 2005

As of this issue, I have a new job description. In case you're tired of reading these occasional announcements (the last one was Nov. 6), let me offer you hope. If I behave myself, this one could last the rest of my life.

After almost 20 years with a variety of titles suggesting I was the chief responsible officer here at WORLD magazine and its parent organization, God's World Publications Inc., I am vacating that post. Nickolas Eicher, who has been WORLD's publisher, is the new interim Chief Executive Officer for both WORLD and GWP Inc.-and I want you to know that I welcome the change.

I welcome it in part because the task of overseeing this organization is so complex. It needs and deserves the gifts and skills of someone like Nick Eicher, who has the right combination of vision, insight, experience, discipline, youthful energy, and Godly passion to make something this complicated work well. All that is important in a highly competitive environment where your mailbox and computer fill up every day with material screaming for your attention.

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So I pass on to Nick the tasks of creating, implementing, and balancing our budget. He gets to recruit and maintain a staff of some 80 able people. He is charged now with ensuring that our various product lines are faithful to our biblical mission, with attracting a good number of new customers along the way, and with looking perceptively into the future to discern what our assignments might be 10 and 20 years down the road.

Nick Eicher has been an exceptional friend to me for the last 15 years-and he and I have talked regularly over the last couple of years about his following me in this role. I am thankful he is ready to do it now, and I urge you to pray for him as he takes on big new tasks. Pray also for his family (he and his wife Arla have four children) who almost certainly will have to give up a little of their papa to this big new assignment.

I welcome the change also, however, because of what I now get to do. For one thing, I get to keep writing this column every week. Since launching WORLD in 1986, I've had to sit down and collect my thoughts more than 800 different times on more than 800 different topics. How can I deny that on at least a few of those occasions, balancing that month's budget for WORLD was a big enough concern to drag down the quality of a particular column. Now I'll have no excuse.

The powers-that-be have also said I can do a little more actual reporting in WORLD's news pages-something I did with relish when WORLD was new, but which I've had scarce time for since. Little in journalism is more rewarding than hearing back from you readers from time to time saying, "I didn't know that! And knowing it made a difference in my life." I'm eager to try provoking that response from you again.

And here's another part of my assignment: I'm charged with discovering a number of you folks out there whom God has blessed with some extra financial resources you might like to put to work in Christian publishing. Whether through outright tax-deductible gifts, specialized tools like gift annuities, or other approaches, I want to discuss with you how we might work together to expand the impact of our ministry. If you get in touch with me here at WORLD magazine, I'll arrange my schedule to sit down and talk with you about this in the near future. I won't twist your arm, but I will share my passion.

Finally, I've been asked to serve as chairman of WORLD's board of directors. As such, I'll have the joy of representing the magazine in a variety of speaking engagements and other gatherings around the country. It's a great way to get to know the men and women and boys and girls we want to serve.

So thanks, Nick, for assuming the load. Thanks too to WORLD's and GWP's great staffers who do all the hard stuff while I feast on dessert. And thanks to the company's directors for both challenging and trusting me with such an assignment. See why I say it might last a lifetime?

Joel Belz
Joel Belz

Joel, WORLD's founder, writes a regular column for the magazine and contributes commentaries for The World and Everything in It. He is also the author of Consider These Things.

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