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Faithful in the little things

CEO NOTES | Joel Belz’s sanctified ambition is an example to emulate

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Longtime readers of WORLD know that we have been publishing a collection of Joel Belz’s ­classic columns over the past year—and by “we,” I mean the editorial team, not me. Nevertheless, I consider Joel’s body of work a library of wisdom, and we have the privilege of drawing from it.

Over the past year, Joel has contributed a handful of all-new columns, but choosing and republishing select columns gives readers a chance to engage with Joel’s insights and musings in a fresh way.

That option is available to subscribers any time, by the way, via the archives on our website. But there’s something about having decades-old ­columns front and center in my current magazine that makes the columns more meaningful. And the way our editors choose them, they feel so timely.

For example: Joel’s “Time to think smaller,” published in the July 13, 2023, issue, was written almost 20 years ago. I remember the original column because it came early in my employment with WORLD, and early in my relationship with Joel. It told me a lot about what Joel believed and how he approached his work here. The column began: “I have suggested before in this space that we American Christians ought to learn to think smaller. I hope I am wise enough to reflect on my own advice.”

Joel didn’t resist growth for WORLD, but he also didn’t pursue it too aggressively. He wanted more people to read what WORLD was publishing, but he also believed that God had brought us exactly the audience He wanted us to have. He hoped WORLD would be faithful in the small tasks that God gave us, and he hoped God would give us slightly bigger tasks.

For more than four decades, God has granted Joel’s desire for slightly ­bigger tasks for WORLD. Honestly, most of those have come not as a result of tremendous growth in resources—WORLD’s revenues remain about on par with a typical Christian school—but as the result of an ability to put an increasing proportion of our resources toward our mission of Biblically objective journalism.

Joel’s sanctified ambition is an example to us still. Will God grow WORLD’s reach? I hope so. But our primary goal is to be faithful with what God has given us to do today. Along the way, we pray for wisdom about where to go next.

Kevin Martin

Kevin Martin is the CEO of WORLD News Group.


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