Want to read about Christians who have impacted the world for Christ? How about Christian ministries that are making a difference for Jesus? Or compelling testimonies that tell how the Lord works through everyday people, events, and circumstances? Or articles that show the importance of biblical principles and attributes like self-control, generosity, and sacrificial love?
Bible Gateway interviewed Dan Brownell, editor of Today’s Christian Living (@TCLmagazine) magazine.
Describe Today’s Christian Living magazine.
Dan Brownell: Today’s Christian Living features inspirational stories about the Lord’s work in the lives of both well-known and ordinary Christians. Jesus knew the power of stories to help his listeners grasp his teaching. His parables turned abstract concepts into concrete principles they could readily relate to in their culture. Likewise, people today can read the powerful stories of God’s work and see what it looks like today when the Holy Spirit transforms someone from the inside out.
How is TCL different from other Christian magazines; for example, Christianity Today?
Dan Brownell: The primary mission of many Christian magazines, such as Christianity Today, is to inform readers about news and current events and/or provide teaching and commentary on theological trends. Today’s Christian Living, on the other hand, fills a different niche. We focus on testimonies to show how the Lord has used events in people’s lives to bring them to salvation or into a deeper walk with the Lord.
What do you want each issue of TCL to accomplish in a reader’s life?
Dan Brownell: The mission of Today’s Christian Living is to encourage, equip, and engage believers.
To Encourage: Christians may feel beaten down by daily problems and by society’s increasing antagonism toward God. We want to bolster our readers’ faith with accounts of the Lord’s power to changes lives. However, we don’t want to present a syrupy, superficial view of Christianity. The Lord doesn’t always deliver us from pain and hardship. Sometimes He changes our circumstances, but other times He leaves us in our difficult circumstances to refine us, strengthen us, and draw us closer to Himself. Our “Persecution Report” column creates a balance by reminding our readers of how much Christians around the world are suffering for Jesus.
To Equip: In addition to our feature articles, which provide testimonies, we provide columns that offer practical advice on health, finances, and relationships from a biblical perspective.
To Engage: We believe that stories are an excellent way to help readers make the connection between biblical principles and real life application. Testimonies make theory come alive and help believers see what Christian maturity and being led by the Holy Spirit looks like in the everyday grind of life. They also form a bridge between us and an increasingly secular culture.
How do you select what categories or topics to cover in TCL articles?
Dan Brownell: Our featured cover story reveals how a person came to Christ or grew closer to Him through a life-changing event. We like to cover well-known Christians to help our readers get to know them better. Society tends to put celebrities on a pedestal and think they are immune from sin, pain, and struggle. This feature article is a way for our readers to see that they’re just like us. When famous Christians pull back the curtain and reveal that they’re sinners too, it bridges the perceived gap between them and us, and reminds us that God can use us too, in spite of our flaws.
With all our testimony articles, we try to choose stories from as broad a range as possible to connect with people in all walks of life. We include a number of excerpts from newly released Christian books and work closely with major Christian publishers to provide the very best material available.
What role does the Bible have in TCL articles?
Dan Brownell: The Bible plays a central role in TCL articles. Many of our articles cite verses, while others illustrate biblical principles through stories. We take a very high view of Scripture, honoring it as God’s revealed Word. It is the source of all wisdom and, of course, points to Jesus as Savior.
How are Christian magazines in general faring in these days of Internet disruption? How has TCL adjusted to it all?
Dan Brownell: Virtually all print publishing has been facing major challenges for years because of the increasing cost of paper, printing, and mailing, as well as the explosion of free content on the Internet. However, Christians still want to be challenged in their walk so there will continue to be a demand for high-quality curated content, and there will be continued demand for both print and digital content, as each form has pros and cons. Today’s Christian Living also maintains a website, as well as Facebook and (Twitter) accounts, each of which is geared to reach their audience.
How do you think TCL could best be used in a Christian’s life and in a Christian’s church?
Dan Brownell: We provide both individual and church bulk subscriptions. In fact, we have more than 900 churches in our bulk program. Individuals can draw inspiration and encouragement from the magazine at home, while traveling, on break at work, etc. We encourage them to share their copy when they’re finished by passing it along to a friend, coworker, or leaving it for a stranger in a waiting area. The articles make excellent topics for small groups to discuss, as stories can encourage people to lower their carefully constructed masks and open up to others. Churches can use the copies very strategically by giving them to visitors to help make them feel welcome and to create a connection with them. They can also be a great icebreaker to take along on visitation to a home, nursing home, assisted living facility, or hospital.
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and/or the Bible Gateway App?
Dan Brownell: Bible Gateway is an excellent Bible reference and study tool. I frequently use it for looking up verses and verse references. It’s much faster than looking up a verse in a paper copy of the Bible, especially if you’re looking for the particular wording of a verse, but you’re not sure of the version. That’s where the key word search comes in handy. Whether you’re looking for a text Bible, audio Bible, Bible reading plan, commentary, dictionary, topical index, app, blog, or devotional, you’ll find almost limitless resources there.
Bio: Dan Brownell, editor of Today’s Christian Living, is a graduate of Liberty University with a bachelor’s degree in English. He taught junior high and high school English at an international Christian school in Uijongbu, South Korea, before entering the publishing field. He has worked as an educational test writer and editor, copywriter, proposal writer, and book and magazine editor. He is married to his sweetheart, Cathy, whom he met in college. They have two children—Elizabeth and Josh—a dog, and, according to Dan, way too many cats.