Tag Archives: The Messenger

Terry Smith: What You Read Isn’t Always ‘The Conference Position’

by Terry M. Smith

Does printing a lead article, a news item, or a letter in The Messenger mean that the editors, the Board of Church Ministries, the General Board, or the wider EMC agree with it? Not necessarily.

There can be a misperception that everything printed in an EMC periodical has official EMC approval and agreement. This is not the case.

The Messenger, for instance, publishes lead items that are primarily teaching articles, and these uphold our Statement of Faith. We will not, for example, print articles that deny God’s act of creation, reject Christ’s physical resurrection, say a Christian is just a moral person, or advocate for some contemporary ethical positions.

Certainly editors dialogue as deemed necessary with writers about their lead articles, columns, letters, and news items. Some materials aren’t printed. At times publishing mistakes are made.

However, The Messenger does not print only what editors agree with. Why? It’s a place for community discussion and discernment. A disclaimer is printed in The Messenger: “Views and opinions of writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the position of the Conference or the editors.”

The BCM, which publishes the magazine, recently upheld the disclaimer; it wants the magazine to be a forum for discussion. So do most readers, it seems. When The Messenger was being redesigned, a committee conducted a survey. One result indicated that most respondents wanted The Messenger to deal with controversial matters.

If a reader sends a letter, a personal opinion, is it proper to publish it or not? The BCM has a policy that upholds the letters section as a place for grassroots feedback.

Discussion will happen within these pages. In doing so it’s helpful to move past quick assumptions.

  • Years ago The Messenger published a news item on a discussion of same-sex identity at CMU. It wasn’t a teaching article, yet a caller asked if the article reflected the EMC position. It did not.
  • Recently two leaders reported on a seminar at Providence where a person with same-sex attraction, but who upheld heterosexual marriage as the biblical standard, sought to help churches to respond with sensitivity. A reader, who did not carefully read the article, assumed the EMC was supporting same-sex unions and objected. It was not. When I wrote a reply, the reader apologized.
  • When a writer shared their testimony of moving to an old earth position, some readers thought it was being presented as the EMC position and that the author was advocating for theistic evolution. Not so on two counts. The EMC upholds creation, but does not have an official position on the age of the earth. The writer was a teacher trained to educate by asking questions.
  • Phillip Cary’s article on hearing from God was printed because its caution was, evidently, valued by SBC’s Leadership Conference planning committee. This did not require total agreement with Cary’s position from SBC, its committee, or the editors.

What is the EMC’s position on hearing from God? There’s an article on the Holy Spirit in our Statement of Faith; and our ministerial decades ago approved a statement on the work and gifts of the Holy Spirit that is neither fully charismatic nor cessationist. What do they say or not say?

If an EMC official were to write in The Messenger on creation, on women in leadership, on same-sex matters, on pacifism (all of which have proven to be challenging topics), on Cary’s article or another matter, would that be “the conference position”? What if it were simply his or her personal opinion?

For an official position in The Messenger, wouldn’t the writer have to say that what is being presented is done so with the support of a board that seeks to reflect the view of the EMC?

Any board’s action in print can be scrutinized by the General Board, which “acts on behalf of the Conference between council meetings” (Constitution, 22). And the General Board is accountable to the Conference Council, the delegates of which come from local churches from B.C. to Southern Ont.

It’s easy to misunderstand. It’s hard to discuss. Let’s do the hard work.

News About Subscription Prices


STEINBACH, Man.—The Messenger is available in two formats: print and digital.

  • The digital format is free to everyone (decided by BCM on Jan. 16).
  • The print subscription is free for members and adherents of EMC churches.
  • The magazine is funded through the EMC’s general budget, which is met by the donations of individuals and churches. If you attend an EMC church, please do not send in a subscription fee, but support the EMC’s general budget through your local church giving.
  • For people not attending an EMC church, the cost of a print subscription is reduced from $24 to $20 for six issues per year (decided by BCM on Jan. 16). For many years the subscription price for The Messenger has not covered the actual costs of production; this is still true.
  • Some costs continue to rise. The move, in part, to a digital format was to save some costs. Yet in our striving for excellence in format and fairness to writers, some production costs will increase.
  • The subscription price, for many years, has been deliberately kept low to make the periodical available to as many interested people as possible. The formats of the magazine have increased for the same reason.

We encourage you to enjoy the magazine in its various formats. Thank you for supporting a magazine that continues to play a key role in “informing, instructing, and inspiring,” as it has since 1963.

– The Board of Church Ministries

Changes at The Messenger

by Russell Doerksen

STEINBACH, Man.–At the July 2016 conference council at Steinbach Bible College, it was voted that the Board of Church Ministries (BCM) should implement the following three changes in regards to The Messenger:

  1. The Messenger should employ a premium service for its electronic version, allowing for easier mobile and table reading as well as listing in a multi-national database.
  2. The Messenger print copies in a given year should decrease to six bi-monthly issues and the quality of these issues should increase.
  3. The Messenger should create a blog-style website so its content can become available online as it is received.

In response to this mandate, the BCM would like to announce the following rollout schedule.

  • Immediately, The Messenger will be available free of charge in an enhanced electronic version via the electronic magazine database service Issuu. Online you can find us at https://issuu.com/emcmessenger. On Android or IOS, simply search the app store for the free Issuu app (the full name of the app in the store is Issuu: A World of Magazines). Once downloaded, open the app and search for “The EMC Messenger.”
  • If you choose to create a user account with Issuu, you will be possible to follow The Messenger, which in turn will automatically notify you whenever a new issue is made available. If you do not wish to make an account with Issuu, you will still be able to read the magazine in its entirety free of charge.
  • Beginning in January 2017, The Messenger will begin a bi-monthly publication cycle with an increased print quality. In this new schedule there will be a new print issue available in January, March, May, July, September, and November.
  • Beginning late January 2017, The Messenger will launch a new website at http://www.emcmessenger.ca. On the website, there will be new content made available weekly taking the form of lead articles, church news updates, missionary stories, an enhanced job listing section, editorials, comments, and much more.
  • The website will be optimized desktop, mobile and tablet viewing, and will be
    Russell Doerksen

    integrated with the EM Conference’s social media. For the first few months after launch, the BCM will be periodically asking for feedback from our readers in order to get the website up to the highest possible standard. Expect more launch details soon.

A lot will be changing here over the next few months and years. We hope you will join us in this next stage in the life of The Messenger.