Every ten years, we write a reflective blog about our magazine ministry. It’s such a blur if we don’t! Take a walk with us back through the third decade of Faith Today to reflect on what we have together.
Our last decade-in-review blog from 2013 describes the addition of our mobile app, replacing summer print issues with digital-only versions, and relaunching our website. We had high hopes for the app, and we still think it’s a convenient way to read the magazine, but so far it turns out most of our readers prefer the classic paper version, although many also visit our website and follow our work on social media.
In the decade since then, we’ve taken to calling our work Canada’s Christian conversation, and now in 2023 it certainly has become increasingly interactive.
The printed issues
The six print issues we produce each year have been the bedrock of our communication ministry since our founding in 1983. The last decade’s print issues are marked by the creativity and intelligence of designer Janice Van Eck (hired in 2014). Her know-how makes everything we’ve produced in this decade look great and leaves us feeling proud.
For a few years during the Covid pandemic we printed fewer copies – all the health measures meant no conference or church distribution – but we ended the decade back above our historic average of 20,000 copies per issue, thanks partly to a partnership with the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, which now sends Faith Today to all its members.
We also stopped charging subscription fees in 2020, relying instead on advertising revenue and charitable donations to pay our bills. Thank you to our advertisers and donors for making this work!
In the early 2010s our website was not keeping up with the rest of the internet. Our staff was small and already full up with non-internet work. But thankfully in 2014 our publisher’s IT director David Auyeung helped us launch a new version at FaithToday.ca with a next-generation, upgradable infrastructure.
Since then we’ve added staff and revised job descriptions so our website offers not only selected articles from the print magazine but also podcasts, videos and online-only posts.
The website enables us to do a ton of things a print magazine cannot, including reaching readers with timely information in the two-month gap between print issues. We regularly post online-only content, including an online series called All Things Reconciled from the Peace & Reconciliation Network.
The app and the archive
Browsing and searching our back issues since 2008 is now available in an online library at FaithToday.ca/digital. It’s also available on our free app (download at FaithToday.ca/mobile).
Social media and the email newsletter
Facebook and other electronic social networks became very popular in the 2000s, and Faith Today and our publisher the EFC were early adopters. By 2015 we began hiring specifically for that work, and today our teammates Sammy Kyereme and Brian Lopez creatively present our latest news and ministry ideas in these popular visual formats, including Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).
What you see from us on social media rises and falls based on algorithms outside our control, but to keep up consistently there’s also the Faith Today newsletter, emailed twice a month by our teammate Rachel Baarda. Many of you have found it easy to hit “reply” and share your thoughts with us, which we deeply appreciate.
More and more people consume podcasts – about 43 per cent of Canadians listen at least once per month, according to 2022 research. Senior editor Karen Stiller led us into this world in 2017 with the EFC Podcast, named after our publisher. Eventually we realized it made more sense to brand it as the Faith Today Podcast.
Each episode is about 40 minutes – a great way to go deeper into a topic than we have space for in print. We publish two episodes a month (except for a summer break) and are up to more than 200 episodes. Most episodes have been listened to by hundreds of people, and some are over a thousand.
Last year senior editor Bill Fledderus began cohosting. Our publisher has also launched the Faith Trends Podcast: Conversations that Connect Research and Ministry as well as another called All Things Reconciled, produced by the Peace & Reconciliation Network.
The video channel
To invite the broadest range of people we can into Canada’s Christian conversation, we also need to be in the world of videos where people spend so much time. With the addition of video specialist Brian Lopez in 2021, we have improved quantity and quality enough to launch our own channel: FaithToday.tv.
That’s where you can see our Church in Community videos profiling everyday outreach by local Canadian congregations.
We’re even starting to record video during our podcasts, so we can post those online as well for audiences who prefer to watch these conversations rather than simply listen.
The young adult magazine
In 2013 our publisher launched a sister magazine for young adults, Love Is Moving. Many Faith Today readers receive it bundled with Faith Today, although it can also be received independently (and so can Faith Today).
Love Is Moving offers online-only content as well as three printed issues per year. Learn more what editor Ilana Reimer and her team are doing at LoveIsMoving.ca/about.
Journalism that serves the Christian community in Canada
Whew! Our ministry has changed dramatically in the past decade.
Yes, we still brainstorm story ideas every few weeks that we think can serve the diverse Canadian church community – and the charities and schools and other institutions and individuals within it. We also continue to get key ideas from our audiences and from our network of freelance writers, Christian leaders, thinkers and ministry practitioners.
But what we do with all these ideas is no longer focused on magazine articles alone. We are now bringing you the voices and the expressive faces and body language (through audio-video streaming and recording) of your fellow Christians across the country.
Please do browse our print and audio content from the past decade at FaithToday.ca/digital. We hope you enjoy, and also that you’ll check out the videos and blog posts on our main website.
Don’t forget to email us when you have responses to what we’ve produced and when you have ideas for the future. May God bless us with another decade of ministry together.