Mr. Bodbyl is secretary of the Board of the RFPA.
Members and Friends of the RFPA:
As we conclude another year of publishing theStandard Bearer, we are reminded of the words of David in Psalm 127, “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.” Yes, truly, we are involved in the building of the spiritual house of our God through the instruction and faithful witness of theStandard Bearer. It has been our distinct and great privilege to testify of our covenant-keeping God and His sovereign work in salvation. We give thanks that God has been pleased to use the Standard Bearer in this work. Unto that end, we pray that God will continue to use our editor-in-chief and the many contributing editors. The board expresses our deep appreciation to Prof. Engelsma for his willingness to serve as editor-in-chief and to Don and Judi Doezema, our managing editor and business manager and assistant business manager, for the excellent work that they do in bringing the Standard Bearer to publication.
The entire magazine is prepared for publishing and distribution in the seminary building. The fact that the editor-in-chief and the business managers are employees also of the seminary make the arrangement a natural one—advantageous, really, to both parties. The RPPA Board nevertheless appreciates very much the willingness of the Theological School Committee to permit this use of the seminary facilities, and for further cooperation during this past year in the joint purchase of a large-screen monitor for the office computer, and for sharing the cost involved in acquiring an automatic mailing machine and postage meter. We look forward to a continued cordial and mutually beneficial relationship in the future.
In addition to the large-screen monitor, we have purchased new software to help in the area of accounting. With the purchase of the automatic postage mailing machine, we have come from the age of “lick-em and stick-em” to being on the cutting edge. The time saved will be used in more important ways by our very busy manager.
The SB continues to experience solid financial support from the subscribers as well as through the gifts of individuals and the churches. The individual gifts and church collections account for approximately 60% of our annual revenue. The board takes this opportunity to thank all those who have supported this publication with their gifts.
In the hope of adding new subscribers, the board has been busy promoting the SB again in this past year through various means. In addition to advertising inWorld magazine, we have tried something new by purchasing the services of Tri-Media, which sends product “card-decks” to thousands of addresses, targeting specific categories of people or institutions. We contracted with Tri-Media to include a card advertising the SB in a deck sent to 100,000 different pastors throughout the country. So far, over 300 pastors have asked for a free sample copy, and, of those, 100 have asked for a free trial subscription.
In working to gain new readers of our magazine, the RPPA Board noted with dismay that approximately 350 families in the PRC were not subscribers to theSB. Some promotion within our own denomination of churches seemed therefore to be in order. We decided to send six issues free of charge to each of the 350P.R. non-subscribers, in the hope that after several months of enjoying regular reading-of the SB, some of the 350 will be motivated to become regular subscribers to it. In the cover letter that was sent with the first of the six free copies, we stated our objective thus: “We believe that our people should be a reading people, and that a good part of their reading should be the kind of material found in our Standard Bearer—material that helps a Reformed believer grow in the Reformed faith, keeps him informed about what is happening in the ecclesiastical world, gives him biblical direction in all aspects of the Christian life, and directs his attention (by book reviews) to some of the excellent Reformed literature available today.” It is certainly the desire of the board that many, if not all, will become lifelong subscribers to the SB.
The following quotes are from letters that we received and are an encouragement to the board to continue in our pursuit of adding new subscribers to the Standard Bearer. ‘”I just wanted to tell you how much I missed the Standard Bearer while you were on vacation. When the August issue did arrive I devoured it. I can honestly say that it was worth the wait.” Another one was from a pastor in Maryland. “I am thinking of using these articles for a small men’s fellowship we have each Sunday morning consisting of a group of eight men.”
If anyone has suggestions on how to add to the readership of our magazine, please contact the business manager.
The number of subscribers to the SB stands at 2,587 as of July 1, 1994. This is an increase of 126 over last July 1st. Of our total subscribers, 36 are students in college, 266 are in foreign lands, and almost half are not Protestant Reformed. It might be interesting to note that over the last 10 years our subscriptions have increased by slightly over 1,000, an average of about 100 per year.
The publishing of the Standard Bearer continues to be a work of love for the board and it is our prayer that God will continue to use this publication to the glory of His name.