I have set my mind to complete a new task. In my office are a collection of “Leadership” magazines. It is magazine specifically designed for Christian leaders. I have had a subscription to the magazine on and off since I entered the ministry. Also, I used to know a used bookstore that sold old copies for 50 cents. So through the years I have developed quite a collection. My oldest copy dates back to 1981. In some ways that doesn’t seem old until I think that I was 9 years old at the time.
My personally assigned task is to go back and reread each issue. Then I will cut out any good comics (there are some classics) and file any really good articles for future reference. This will help to clean out my office and get rid of material that is no longer of any use to me.
A couple of days ago I started into the oldest issue and I have noticed a few things while reading back through it.
1. All of the advertisements are really, really dated. This comes as no surprise, but it is interesting. The books, conferences, and speakers who were on the cutting edge 30 years ago have been forgotten and left behind.
2. Most of the writers are relatively unknown today. I would bet if you were to ask a very committed Christian who Gardner Taylor and Warren Wiersbe are, they would have no idea. There might be a few people who know these names, but many of the leaders of old have been forgotten.
3. Much of the information is completely irrelevant. This magazine was written before praise bands, Powerpoint, video venues, the internet, etc. I really find the articles that predict the future to be the funniest. (More on that another time).
The thing that caught my attention today was the articles written about faith and the Bible. Most of them ring just as true today as the day they were written. One example came in the first few pages I read. It was the story of a young missionary who was newly out of college and went to work in Japan. He barely spoke the language and yet he was thrown into prison ministry. He could barely communicate with the inmates and didn’t know what to do. So he went out and bought a Bible in their own language and gave it to them. He also bought one for himself and determined to connect through the Bible. He later returned to the prison to find a couple of inmates wanting to be baptized. He asked them about their faith. They explained that they had read their Bible and wanted to follow what they were told.
One thing I love about being a Christian is that the names and faces change and sometimes the methods change, but the power of the truth is always the same.