Mr. Kalsbeek is secretary of the Board of the RFPA.

From Moorestown, NJ: “I just received and read my Standard Bearer for March 15th, 1993. Once again we are grateful for your keen ability to expose error and proclaim truth clearly and biblically.”

A reader from Corcoran, CA who has “been tricked by Arminianism for almost 17 years” writes: “I praise God that He has sent me the Standard Bearer and you as a part of His witness, to help me to understand the truth.”

Port Murray, NJ: “Thank you for publishing such an excellent, outstanding Reformed magazine.”

As the Reformed Free Publishing Association begins the 70th year of publishing the Standard Bearer, the above examples of correspondence from our readers are an encouraging reminder that we remain on task, i.e., “To witness to the truth contained in the Word of God as expressed in the Three Forms of Unity,” and “To reveal false and deceptive views repugnant thereto.”

My responsibility in this report is to highlight for the Reformed Free Publishing Association “the principal activities which have occurred throughout the year.” I will place these activities into three categories: the Board, the readers, and the magazine.

First of all, then, the Board. Your Board spent a considerable amount of time this past year with internal affairs. Questions concerning who has what responsibilities were asked and answered. We now know exactly what our Business Manager, Managing Editor, Typesetter, and Standing Committees are supposed to be doing, and furthermore we have it down on paper, just in case we forget. We now know that the Finance Committee must each year consider such matters as subscription rates, cost for bound volumes, the need for new equipment, and the balance of our accounts. It has been established that the Membership, Information, and Education Committee must concern itself with promoting the Standard Bearer within the Protestant Reformed Churches, submitting recommendations for the annual association meeting, updating the index, and keeping the churches informed about what is happening. And our Publication and Book Committee has been assigned such tasks as promoting the Standard Bearer to those outside the Protestant Reformed Churches, and dealing with matters relating to the publishing and mailing of the Standard Bearer. You might ask, “Were not these things being done in the past?” Our answer: “Yes, they were being done, but often in a hit-and-miss fashion.”

The second- and most significant – category to which I will draw your attention this evening is “the readers.” Your Board and Business Manager, Mr. Doezema, have expended much energy in a variety of attempts to expand the readership of the Standard Bearer during this past year. We have advertised in the Grand Rapids Press, Evangelical Times, and Christianity Today. Additional promotional ideas by means of advertising are currently in the works. We have sought out and used mailing lists from various organizations of our churches. We have arranged to have the Standard Bearer on the magazine sale rack at Baker Book House. We have had copies of the Standard Bearer sent on a regular basis to all of the Protestant Reformed Churches encouraging the members to distribute them to individuals and/or places of business with waiting areas. All of these attempts to expand our readership have borne fruit, in varying degrees.

Another continuing source of new readers and subscribers is gift subscriptions. If “gift subscriptions” is made to include also those given to us by various of our churches’ evangelism committees, then we have received no fewer than 275 such subscriptions during the last volume year. Of the 95 from these committees, 51 were submitted by Byron Center’s. Two individuals who have been especially active in promoting the Standard Bearer through gift subscriptions the past several years are Eleanor Rutherford (36) and Al Salmon (26). We thank them for their efforts.

In numerical terms: On July 1, 1992 the number of copies mailed stood at 2,218; one year later 2,461 copies of the Standard Bearer were mailed. That is an increase of 241, or 11% in just one year! That’s a sizable increase. However, it should be noted that some of these are not yet – and may never become – paying subscribers. Allow me to throw out just one more statistic: in the past five years the number of Standard Bearers mailed has increased by 598, or 32%.

The third category I promised to address this evening is “the magazine.” The Board has been active this last year in promoting some changes n the appearance of the Standard Bearer, including the adoption of a ago for our magazine. I need not say much about this since you will be able o see these changes for yourself when you receive your October 1 issue. Incidentally, in this connection the Board has only one complaint: The numerous excellent responses of Standard Bearer readers to our Editor’s request for logo ideas made the selection of one an extremely difficult task.

The 69th year of publishing the Standard Bearer has been interesting and exciting for the RFPA Board. We are greatly appreciative of the efforts all those who make the publication and distribution of the Standard Bearer possible. At the same time we cannot help but observe what a great blessing it is that our Lord is pleased to give us this work to do. We echo he words of the apostle Paul in I Thessalonians 2:4, “… as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with he gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.”