Editorial Guidelines for an Every-Household Banner
In 2005, Synod officially turned the Banner from a subscription based magazine into an every-household magazine. The following guidelines from Synod 2004 give guidance to the every-household Banner:
The original guidelines can be found in the addendum to Appendix A, AGENDA FOR SYNOD 2004, CRC Publications pp.197-199.
A magazine sent to every home in the denomination must be different from a subscription-based magazine. A subscription magazine is invited into a home; a membership-based magazine comes to the home without special invitation. It must earn its right to be read and to become an important part of the life of each member’s home. The goal of such a magazine is to draw our denomination together both by honoring the diversity of its members and by seeking our common heart as we pursue the mission to which the Lord has called us.
In doing so, The Banner must:
1. Unify.Apart from its role as the news and information medium of the Christian Reformed Church, The Banner must be recognized as the town square or speakers’ corner of the denomination—a place where we learn about events in our neighbors lives, share our views and opinions, express our common beliefs and values, and lend encouragement to those who are partners in our journey of faith and service.
2. Honor our differences.Unity does not mean papering over differences or failing to note the diversity and variety of our denomination. For The Banner to serve as a unifying force within the denomination, it must reach readers from all corners of the Christian Reformed Church.
3. Be local.One way to better reflect and represent what is happening in the denomination is to provide greater emphasis on local news—the events and activities taking place within congregational communities. Each issue of The Banner should include several pages of denominational briefs, congregational briefs, submitted items, pictures, events, and achievements.
4. Be global. The Banner should consistently and powerfully present the global movement of the Spirit of God in the church and in the world. The ministry stories now included in CRC Source should be combined with a perspective that calls each Christian to service in God’s kingdom.
5. Be easily read.The greatest competitor with which The Banner must contend is not another publication but the reader’s precious and limited resource of time. Because of their busy lifestyles, younger readers, particularly those with children, tend to evaluate the value of any publication in terms of the time required to absorb the information and the usefulness of the information.
For the print media, the struggle to achieve value is compounded by societal expectations of news being packaged as entertainment.
6. Be practical.Readers are looking for content that has practical application to their daily lives, and that addresses the issues they confront at home, work, or church.
7. Be challenging.The formula for long-term viability and the development of a broad readership base is to present a full spectrum of content that delivers quality and value. To truly be a denominational publication with a future, everyone within the CRC community must have the opportunity to feel that they are reflected in and represented by the content of The Banner.
8. Reach children and teens.Being Reformed is to hold dearly to God’s covenant promise to children, and instructional content geared specifically for children should also be accommodated within the pages of The Banner. Using the creative expertise of Faith Alive staff, appealing and exciting content can be developed that offers biblical instruction in fun-filled exercises. Similarly, considerable attention must be given to content that addresses the real-world issues faced by teens. As this is one of the most difficult readership segments to attract, creative solutions must be found, including presenting youth issues in a format that lends itself to discussion by Sunday school classes and youth groups.
9. Be consistently high quality.The Christian Reformed Church is indeed blessed to have a publication such as The Banner within which it can pursue these important objectives. Through a clear mandate, broad readership base, and a continuing commitment to editorial excellence, The Banner can play a central role in fostering unity and community within the denomination.
For more information on what guides The Banner’s editorial team, check out these links: