Columnists > Voices
Krieg Barrie

On a mission

WORLD | How we view our work and what that means for readers

Issue: "Bright or rotten idea?," Oct. 5, 2013

If I’ve heard the question once, in the 27 years since we launched WORLD magazine, I’ve heard it a hundred times: “Tell me,” folks will ask, in a great variety of contexts, “is WORLD a business enterprise—or are you on some sort of mission?”

It’s an important question. The answer affects you as a reader. Do we, as WORLD’s publishers, think of you primarily as a customer/subscriber or as a partner in a cause—a fellow expeditioner on an important and crucial mission?

Lots of people want to know. The Internal Revenue Service wants to know; should WORLD pay taxes? So does the Postal Service; does WORLD qualify for the nonprofit postage rate? Our ad sales staff asks: Do we take any and all comers—or do advertisers have to comply to our mission? Our whole staff wonders: Is our wage scale more like the Wall Street Journal or the Sunday School Times? In short: Are we a business—or are we on a mission?

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But mostly, it’s you readers who ask.

I’ll be right up front in my answer: We’re on a mission. Our CEO, Kevin Martin, says our goal is to help our readers enhance their own biblical worldview—“to be saltier salt and brighter lights in a secular culture.” And we want you always to consider yourself as a partner in that mission. In fact, the evidence we have suggests you already do think of yourself as a partner. So to that end, we’ve decided to start referring to you in the same terms we’ve always thought about each other. From now on, you’re going to be a “fellow member” of the team here at WORLD. We’re in this together.

There are, to be sure, some business aspects to this switch—and we think you’ll like them very much. These business details aren’t just some kind of balance against the mission; they’re there instead to dramatize how much we’re in this together.

These business changes include three important aspects: (1) We want to give you more content for your money. (2) We even hope, in most cases, to charge you a little less. (3) Our pricing structure—starting immediately—will be simpler.

For example, if you right now have a standard subscription to the paper-and-ink version of WORLD, you’ll keep getting that. But you’ll also get, as part of that package, full access to our electronic versions of the magazine. You can read WORLD on your smartphone, on your iPad, or on the Web. At no extra cost, you can also download the daily radio version of WORLD. If there are children in your home, they get full access to the increasingly popular digital versions of our God’s World News for kids.

That remarkable package of content comes to you as a WORLD “fellow member” for just one small charge—a charge that is actually a little less on an annual basis than WORLD’s regular subscription price for the last few years.

Do you also want God’s World News in the print version for your children or grandchildren? Want to order WORLD for a relative, a neighbor, or a business associate? You get all that, and more, at special low prices unavailable to those who don’t share your WORLD “fellow member” status.

Our hope in all this is that we can multiply the ways in which WORLD News Group can be a voice of wisdom for you—and in which your own voice of wisdom will be amplified in all the spheres of influence where you live and operate day by day.

So what do you have to do to make all this happen? Nothing at all—at least for right now. Your existing subscription is being automatically converted to a “fellow member” basis. Down the road a bit, when your renewal would typically come due, we’ll get in touch with you to make a few simple choices for our future relationship. (If you’re reading this as a nonsubscriber, and want to become a “fellow member” now, call us at 800-951-6397).

And just in case someone sees you reading WORLD, and asks you whether WORLD is a business or a mission, you do know now how to respond—don’t you?

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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