Equipping Publishers in an Era of Crises

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By Carla Foote

After a brutal killing of a Christian couple in the Punjab province of Pakistan, a purported picture of the couple became part of most news reports and quickly spread across social media. However, Asif Aqeel, reporting for World Watch Monitor in Pakistan, determined that the picture was not accurate.

Aqeel shared his account of this tragic story during a workshop on factual reporting led by World Watch Monitor co-founder Julia Bicknell during the October Crisis Publishing Initiative conference in Sopron, Hungary. The session was one of twenty workshops focusing on the myriad of challenges facing reporters, editors, and publishers in the midst of crises.

The conference, hosted by Colorado Springs-based Magazine Training International, combined specific skill areas such as reporting and photography, along with a deeper understanding of the context in which modern crises unfold.

Dr. Miriam Adeney, author of Kingdom Without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity and professor at Seattle Pacific University, opened the international gathering by exhorting attendees to operate from a biblical foundation in their work.

Evangelical strategist and futurologist Patrick Johnstone, author of Operation World, The Future of the Global Church, and Serving God in a Migrant Crisis (with Dean Merrill), underscored the historical context of current crises, particularly migrant flows. An understanding of church history and world history, including colonialism, are essential in accurately portraying the complexity of current events, said Johnstone. He presented compelling research indicating that migration flows will increase in the future.

Mindy Belz, senior editor of WORLD magazine, highlighted the importance of on-the-ground sourcing as she shared her experience of getting to know Christians in Iraq. Jeremy Weber, senior news editor of Christianity Today, shared about the value of partnering with local experts in respectfully covering refugees. He was joined by Yara Chehayed who works as a communications officer for World Vision Lebanon.

In speaking about how the concept of religious freedom as a universal human right is being challenged, international religious liberty analyst Elizabeth Kendall documented how global trends in persecution are escalating, and there is a great need for a voice for the suffering church.

Along with learning from international experts, a personal highlight was connecting with magazine professionals from around the world. Lydia, a conference co-sponsor, is a Christian women’s magazine celebrating 30 years of publication in Germany. Sarolta Rozgonyi, editor of Lydia Hungary, shared how their focus has shifted to original articles from Hungary rather than using articles translated from German. According to Rozgonyi, readers want to hear how God is working in their own country.

Attendees at the conference came from North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Among the 25 countries represented were Romania, Russia, Japan, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Sweden.

EPA participated as a coalition member for the Crisis Publishing Initiative and Executive Director Lamar Keener and Theresa Keener attended and assisted with the conference.

The mission of Magazine Training International (MTI) is to encourage, strengthen, and provide training and resources to Christian magazine publishers as they seek to build the church and reach their societies for Christ. Over the years, many EPA members have been trainers for MTI courses and international conferences.

Carla Foote is a freelance writer and editor. She is a board member for MTI and a former board member for EPA.

Photo caption (top): EPA Executive Director Lamar Keener, left, and Patrick Johnstone, author of Operation World.

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Magazine Training International is pleased to announce that trainer Nate Butler was involved in the recently released graphic novel The Kingstone Bible, Vol. 5. 

The Kingstone Bible is the most complete graphic adaptation of the Bible ever done. The 2000-page, twelve-volume collection illustrates in exquisite detail the grand story of the Bible. Each volume is a rich narrative sequentially illustrated to teach and explain the major stories and themes in the Bible in a historical and chronological manner. The book features more than 10,000 art panels. All images were done by hand with pen and ink by more than 45 industry-recognized artists. Volume 5 covers the biblical era of Ruth, Samuel and David.

Butler is credited as a writer and designer for Vol. 5. He wrote the script for the section on Ruth, helped find a few of the artists, and contributed with some art directing and editing. He also assisted with the sections on Job, Abraham, Hebrews, Hosea, Isaiah, Samuel, and others in various ways.

The Kingstone Bible will be available in multiple languages beginning Oct. 18, 2016.

Butler is the president of COMIX35, a Christian comics ministry that has offered international consultation, coaching, and classes on the production and effective use of comics-style literature since 1996. He serves as the main coach and consultant for the ministry and the lead instructor at COMIX35 seminars. Butler worked for more than 20 years as a cartoonist, commercial artist, and writer/illustrator of comics before going into full-time ministry in 1999. His former company, The Nate Butler Studio, Inc., produced artwork for clients such as Jim Henson Productions and DC Comics, as well as script writing for Archie Comics and Marvel Comics. He was also editor/co-publisher/packager of Christian Comics & Games Magazine, and editor/publisher of Christian Comics Catalog. Butler has also served as an MTI trainer at conferences in Romania and Croatia and as a webinar presenter.

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Magazine Training International is pleased to announce that trainer Dr. Michael Ray Smith has published a new book.

7 Days to a Byline That Pays explains how to tell stories that audiences will read and editors will pay you to write. Delivered in a breezy and compact manner, this book will help you work fast, smart, and get paid for your work. Find freelance writing success and freelance writing jobs with the tools provided in this book.

“I’ve worked with writers and editors across the country to compress the salient points in an easy-to-grasp approach that you can tackle,” says Smith. “I’m convinced you can accomplish your goal of writing a salable article in seven days by using the ideas in this book.”

Smith is an award-winning writer, photojournalist, academic and conference speaker. He is a professor at Lee University. During a decade as a reporter and editor he penned more than 3,000 articles for leading newspapers. Smith taught at and/or directed journalism programs at colleges in Florida, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Virginia. He is the head of the Small Programs Interest Group of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. He holds a doctorate in communications from Regent University. Smith taught a writing course with Magazine Training International in Manila and has served as a Webinar speaker for MTI.

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Please join us in celebrating with Magazine Training International trainer Dr. Kent Wilson as his new book is published.

Steward Leadership in the Nonprofit Organization is the first resource that presents a unique model for nonprofit leadership written by a nonprofit leader for nonprofit leaders. Wilson has been leading nonprofit organizations locally for over 30 years and brings a wealth of experience and international research to this valuable resource. It is being endorsed by many leaders across the country as the first leadership model designed exclusively for the nonprofit leader.

Wilson presents a comprehensive model for steward leadership, in which leaders act as stewards or trustees, never as owners. Scripture and history give concrete examples of stewards who manage resources on behalf of others for the good of others. Wilson applies this classical understanding of the steward to modern organizational management, defining and developing steward leadership as an alternative to its cousin, servant leadership.

Steward leadership offers great hope for the transformation and effectiveness of nonprofit leadership for stakeholders, board members, executive directors and staff members. Designed by a nonprofit leader for nonprofit leaders, this fresh approach to leadership gives you a new focus to lead your organization with excellence.

Wilson is the former executive publisher of NavPress, executive coach with Vistage International, and president of Nonprofit Leadership Exchange, and the MTI chairman of the board. He has served as an MTI trainer in nine international conferences, a webinar, and the management DVD course.

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Seven MTI trainers hold key positions in 11 Christian publications singled out for awards this month at the annual convention of the Evangelical Press Association.

Awards of Excellence, the highest honor, went to Leadership Journal, edited by Marshall Shelley; Christianity Today and Christianity Today Online, edited by Mark Galli; and ManagingYourChurch.com, edited by Matthew Branaugh. ManagingYourChurch.com also won an award of merit in another category.

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Marshall Shelley

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Mark Galli

Matthew Brandaugh

Matthew Branaugh

Other publications in the group led by Branaugh which won awards of merit include Church Law & Tax Report, ChurchLawAndTax.com, and Church Finance Today, with Chris Lutes.

Awards of Merit also went to Outreach, edited by James Long and readmybeacon.com, a campus publication of Palm Beach Atlantic University with advisor Dr. Michael Ray Smith.

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Chris Lutes

James Long

Dr. Michael Ray Smith

Dr. Michael Ray Smith

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Greg Breeding

Two awards of merit in design went to EFCA Today and Worldwide Challenge, publications designed by Greg Breeding’s Journey Group.

Together, the seven MTI trainers honored this year taught 10 MTI training events in eight countries and over the last three years led one online course and four Webinars.