Where do we go from now?
Roy Hill, Bristol, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
I don’t know whether the founders of Precious Seed thought that the magazine was only something that would serve the assemblies in the immediate post-war years or whether some had the vision to see it still operating after sixty years. It has not only survived, but prospered, and is acclaimed around the world for its content and presentation. It has been served by a committee and editors over the years who have been determined to see the truth upheld in a gracious and compelling manner to the glory of God. Assembly numbers in the UK are declining and yet that scenario makes the magazine an even more important medium of expression. The present committee takes its responsibility seriously before the Lord to continue to produce a magazine that will encourage, teach and challenge the Lord’s people in the 21st century. A biblical stance needs to be pursued while at the same time remembering we live in a very different world to the post-war years. The presentation of the magazine changed dramatically in the year 2000 and while not received with universal approval has been widely appreciated as a major step forward. It is important that Christian literature is of high quality, as this will encourage people to pick it up and read it. The magazine content remains serious and I believe that most of the articles would have the approval of the committee of sixty years ago and be in line with their objectives. The work divides into the following areas: the magazine; the books; and the web site.
This is the prime function of the Trust. Currently over 15,000 copies are printed quarterly at an annual cost of £16,000. Postage for the four issues per year is a further £16,000 and these costs continue to rise. We have, after 25 years just changed our printer to enable us to print by web offset to reduce production costs but there is little we can do about the mailing expense. It is probable that the various sections will continue as at present, articles, reports, service organizations, histories, questions, book reviews and YPS. We plan to introduce a news page to run in conjunction with the reports section and among the articles we hope to have a series on Pastoral Aspects of Present-Day Problems and trust these may be a help to elders and others who have to deal with problems of which many may have little practical experience. YPS (Young Precious Seed) that started in May 2004 will continue to be published in its present format. The Moral Maze column has been welcomed and articles on books to read, the local assembly and Christian Heroes should be introduced next year. We have recently had a request from the Far East for YPS to be published in Mandarin for use in China! The magazine will continue to be distributed without cost to the recipients and as demand inevitably reduces in the UK we should be able to expand the overseas readership though that escalates the postage costs. The cost saving by printing web offset may enable us to revert to five issues per year or even get back to the original plan, which ran for nearly fifty years, of six issues per year.
The publication of books which used to be on an occasional basis will now become more regular. We will continue to add titles annually to our Day by Day series of daily readings and meditations. For 2006 we have Day by Day Divine Titles and for 2007 Day by Day Divine Commands, already in preparation. Demand for these continues to grow and we believe the spread of writers we now have access to is of great help in the success of the series. A daily readings book of a different nature may be published in the next two years. It is for parents to read to, and with, their children and will be in full colour. It would be a big undertaking for which we would need particular financial support so we ask you to join us in prayer about the project as it could be of significant help to Christian families and their family altar. Similarly, we plan to publish a series of booklet-sized commentaries. These should start soon, the first four being published in one batch. These will be, we believe, a valuable addition to our book list. Many of our books have been translated into European and Far East languages and of value to believers in those countries.
The Web Site
During this year we have started to update the Precious Seed web site. It is our intention to develop it in such a way that not only will it be easy to access, but equally easily navigated. It will have a number of features including: all past issues of the magazine, together with a subject search facility; current issues as they are published; a daily reading programme for the year using our Day by Day books as the basis; a virtual shop in which to purchase our books online; and facilities to order and amend the number of copies of the magazine required. It may also contain special articles that have not been published in the magazine. All this should be in place and functioning in early 2006. We are grateful to those who are helping us to make this happen and for a gift that was given specifically to pay for the specialist work that has been required. This exercise is not without significant cost but we believe it will be of great help to the Lord’s people and especially to the young who use this medium on a daily basis. All the plans for the magazine, the books and the web site are only if the Lord will and we welcome your prayers in these matters as we look ahead, if the Lord be not come, to the rest of the early 21st century.