After 14 years, denominational magazine RCA Today is ceasing print publication with the spring 2021 issue, due out in May.
The decision was primarily financial, as part of wider budget cuts to keep the RCA in a financially stable position during a time of uncertainty. Magazine editor Christina Tazelaar says the shift also reflects a shift to digital communication, which offers new opportunities and allows the RCA to reach even more people.
“Shifting focus is part adaptive change, part financial reality to reduce cost, and part pursuing a wider reach to introduce people to Christ and equip people for expanding the kingdom of God,” Tazelaar wrote in an editor’s note in the final issue.
Discontinuing the print magazine allows for a significant reduction in cost, while also shifting additional resources to Faithward.org, the RCA’s resource website that has hosted RCA Today stories since the website’s launch two years ago, along with practical tools for growing in faith and leading in ministry. (The word Faithward comes from a desire to follow Jesus forward into the future of the church, wherever that leads us. Faith + forward = faithward.)
“In its first two years, Faithward has grown and flourished in unexpected ways, and I eagerly anticipate where God takes us next through that work,” Tazelaar says. “And, at the same time, it’s bittersweet. This is the end of a print publication many of us have loved.”
RCA Today began publishing three issues a year in 2008. Initially, the magazine highlighted stories related to Our Call, the RCA’s 10-year goal at the time. When the Church Herald, a monthly denominational magazine, was closed by General Synod in 2009, RCA Today incorporated several beloved aspects of that magazine, including Lou Lotz’s “Signs of the Kingdom” column. When Transformed & Transforming was adopted as a vision for ministry in 2013, the magazine began focusing on how RCA leaders and churches were experiencing discipleship, leadership, mission, and next generation engagement—and celebrating where the denomination was equipping those leaders and churches to live and love like Jesus more deeply.
“Over the last year, we have been taking a hard look at our budgets so we can continue to practice good stewardship in a changing landscape,” says RCA general secretary Eddy Alemán. “I celebrate the work of RCA Today over the last 14 years, and I have been encouraged to hear from many people who appreciate it. I also celebrate the wonderful growth we’re seeing with Faithward, where some of the magazine’s work will continue at much lower cost.”
For readers who prefer print, RCA Global Mission offers a quarterly print newsletter, and a semi-annual print newsletter for donors will debut later this year.
Favorite stories from RCA Today that stand the test of time
Over its 14 years, RCA Today ran hundreds of stories about God’s people, churches, and mission work that are tied to the RCA. Here are a few favorites that stand the test of time.
A Piece of the Pie (fall 2017)
An innovative social enterprise ministry in Cedar Valley, Iowa, makes oh-so-tasty pies. Oh, and it’s bearing fruit, like building relationships across divides, developing entrepreneur skills in teen girls, and teaching them financial stewardship and job skills, served with a side of faith development.
On the Sunday morning after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Renée House heard the Heidelberg Catechism’s first question and answer in worship. “‘What is your only comfort in life and in death?’ In an instant, these words that I had memorized as a 10 year old were filled with new meaning. … The catechism knows that to be human is to need comfort. Human beings are fearfully and wonderfully made, and human life is fragile. Human beings dance, sing, and celebrate. Human beings struggle with disease and death. The catechism’s first question gets it right—to be human is to need comfort.”
Reconciliation in a Divided World (winter 2017)
This is an interview with RCA missionaries about what conflict and resolution in South Sudan have to teach North Americans. “In the midst of these conflicts, the call of the church is to be the embodiment of forgiveness. There has to be a revision of how I see myself in relationship to you. If I know that I am Dinka and a part of who I am as Dinka is someone who’s been hurt many times by Nuer, then part of my definition of who I am is someone who’s opposed to you. The church does this revision: yes, you are Dinka, or yes, you are Nuer. Yes, there’s death that’s been around you. There’s brokenness that has shaped you into what you are. But Christ has risen. Because you are called to be a person of the resurrection, your actions, your behaviors are calling you to something different. … It’s not just about you and him or her. It’s about who you are called to be in God.”
And Then There Were Five (spring 2017)
As Brent and Caitlin Boersma practiced listening prayer and read their Bibles, the word refugee was planted on their hearts. So when Caitlin heard a Bethany Christian Services commercial on the radio about the need for refugee foster care parents, she says “my gut just dropped. I said to myself, ‘I think that’s it.’” They took in first one, then two, then three refugee foster sons.
Saying Yes to Water Wells (spring 2014)
Barbara Oliveira was driving on I-5 when she heard God telling her to dig two water wells in Africa. Her response: “What?!” Yet she stepped out in faith. After she got connected with RCA Global Mission and evangelist Simon Muntolol in Massailand, Kenya, Barbara helped raise funds for a number of wells in Maasailand. Those wells were part of holistic ministry that has led to thousands coming to know Jesus.