by Keith Bassham
The Tribune is the magazine of the Baptist Bible Fellowship, but we serve several different constituencies, and the magazine comes to the reader in several different ways. First, there are the readers in the churches who receive bundle subscriptions. This is the bulk of the readership. Those churches generally send a monthly offering to the Tribune, and we offer those churches bundles of the magazines for distribution in the church.
Of course, Fellowship pastors and missionaries receive individual magazines too — it’s one of the benefits of being in the Fellowship. We also see to it that widows of ministers, retired pastors and missionaries, and students in our Bible colleges receive Tribunes.
In addition, we also make magazines available to pastors in our sister fellowships and associations with whom we share so many doctrinal distinctives and the burden to evangelize and to plant churches.
And we have a number of people who subscribe to the Tribune individually (God bless you folks), but the vast majority of each issue is circulated as described in the first three paragraphs.
I think you will agree, after reading through this issue describing the history of Baptist publishing and the Tribune, that the Tribune is not like most magazines you receive. For one thing, it tells the story of the Baptist Bible Fellowship — our pastors, our missionaries, our churches. No other magazine in the world does that.
And as you might have guessed, it is funded differently, too. We do have individual subscriptions (as I mentioned) and advertising, of course. But unlike regular magazines that depend mostly on ads, the bulk of our budget comes from monthly support and church bundle subscriptions. That’s why we publish about and for the Fellowship. They are the folks who pay nearly all the bills, and without that monthly support, we simply could not publish as we do.
However, subscriptions, advertising, and monthly support will not take care of this ministry completely. One other vital part of our budget we raise through the annual February Tribune Offering (FTO). I have often said we could get by without the annual offering, but you wouldn’t like the Tribune as much. That offering helps us do the extras, to place magazines for free where we think they will do good, and to see to it that the Fellowship has a high-quality public face. The FTO makes it possible for us to provide magazines for our friends in other fellowships, for our students, for the widows and retirees we wrote about above. We also bank on the offering to help us offset rising costs of printing, postage, and the like.
So each year, usually associated with the February BBF meeting, we receive commitments and offerings. Pastors receive a commitment card and a letter explaining the offering, state fellowship officers distribute the cards at fellowship meetings, and we even branch out a little and let others not associated with the Fellowship participate if they wish, and not a small number do (God bless you, too). Pastors can either return the card (and/or offering) to the Tribune, or they can pass it on to their state officers.
Those who know me know I prefer a low-key approach to the annual offering. We don’t spend a lot of money on promotion, and I don’t like to pressure. I prefer to let the product speak for itself. The result is that the Tribune continues to enjoy goodwill and support across our Fellowship, and I believe that is because we continue to produce a quality publication that reflects well on all of us.
For pastors only:
For pastors interested in such things, I will say this: I think we bring good value to the Baptist Bible Fellowship. My appeal is straightforward. We are financially stable. First, we keep a small staff and manage our finances carefully. We generally end our fiscal years in the black — we even did it last year in a tough time. We will try to be good stewards and run the ministry the way we think the Fellowship deserves.
We are absolutely committed to the Lord and to our Fellowship. We are determined to do our best on your behalf. If you are pleased with the job we’re doing, we ask for your support so that we may keep doing it for you.
Finally — and this is most definitely for the pastors — why not participate? How much should you give? If you’ve participated before, you already know. If this is your first time, a gift of $15 is what it takes to cover the cost of an annual subscription, and all gifts are appreciated. As a starting point, why not pay for your subscription and perhaps one more?
Whatever you decide, we at the Tribune will appreciate your participation in the February Tribune Offering. All commitments and gifts should be sent so they arrive at our office by the end of February. Request a commitment card or get more information by emailing me at email@example.com or call (417) 831-3996.
I know you’re busy, and 2012 will be half over before we know it. But before you get too busy, would you take a moment and think about the Baptist Bible Tribune?