I should warn you that before you reach the end of this column I intend to ask you to consider a thoughtful year-end gift to WORLD magazine. I want to enlist you as a WORLD-mover.
But you deserve to know why I think that's a reasonable, important, and attractive proposition-and why before it's all over you might even thank me for the idea.
There is, you see, a good bit more to WORLD magazine than what you're holding in your hands. This sprightly package works hard to accomplish its unique task. Every issue of WORLD seeks to offer you a timely and accurate understanding of what's going on around the world, and to do that with a God-centered perspective. That's been the core of our assignment for almost 22 years. We intend to do that better than ever during the year 2008.
But along the way, we will also be paying attention to several related assignments-all of them over and above the task of making WORLD just as fine a magazine as we possibly can produce. Let me describe four of them:
1) Influence leaders. WORLD needs to be in the hands of more readers whose thinking and work directly influence other people. We want, for example, to see that every issue of WORLD is hand-delivered to all 435 congressional offices on Capitol Hill, to every important office in the White House, and to the Supreme Court. The logistics of that service are available to us; the cost of securing that service needs to be underwritten.
WORLD also belongs in the hands of every pastor in America, helping shape the worldview thinking of those key thought-leaders. We'd like to begin building such reading habits by sending WORLD to every seminary senior in America. Christian college and university professors, and members of some student groups, are similarly strategic.
2) Worldview thinking for kids. For more than 26 years, our God's World series of magazines has offered Christian worldview thinking for a typical weekly readership of more than a quarter of a million boys and girls in Christian school and homeschool settings. Now we sense an opportunity to up the ante on this educational front-and to break new ground in the way children learn to apply a God-centered worldview not just to current events, but to history, geography, and civics as well. You'll be hearing more about this in the weeks ahead.
3) World New Media. When even The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times shudder, you know the media world is in a revolution. The future of traditional print media like WORLD is both disdained and defended. While the debate rages (and we are part of the discussion), we are determined not to be caught flat-footed by the future. Our editor in chief, Marvin Olasky, purposely stays in the thick of the educational fray, regularly leading and mentoring a cadre of young people through the worlds of blogs, e-this, and e-that. We don't want to waste resources doing what we can't do, but neither do we want to be hopelessly behind the curve.
4) World Journalism Institute. Since 1999, WORLD has also sponsored more traditional journalism education-but from a uniquely Christian point of view. WJI, whose graduates now write both for WORLD and a host of other Christian and secular journals, has already sought your gift support through once-a-year inserts-like the one in our Dec. 1 issue.
The total cost of these four important efforts in 2008 is over and above WORLD's regular operating budget. Your subscription pays for your magazine, but I'm making the case here for your "over-and-above" gift to help us achieve these other key projects. Pick any of the four goals above, "push" the envelope that's inserted in this issue, and be sure to note that your gift is fully tax-deductible. Or just make your gift to "WORLD magazine," and we'll divide it up appropriately.
One last thought. Just as I did 15 years ago, in the early iffy years of WORLD itself, I am looking and praying for 25 people for whom these goals are so important and so exciting that they may be ready to commit $5,000 a year for three years to the cause. If that's you, get in touch with me-and we'll get together personally to talk about the details.