If you could decide what the content and form of our periodicals would be like a year from now, what would they be? That may be a bit like asking, what is your “dream” car? For one person, the answer might well be a bright red sports car with all the bells and whistles. For another person, it might be a chauffeur-driven limousine, while another might choose the “greenest” car with the best gas mileage or highest use of new battery technologies. And of course, our answers might change dramatically if the question was changed to, “What car best meets your current needs?” or “What car can you best afford?”
These aren’t unlike the questions we’ve been wrestling with as we think about the future of our religious periodicals. Clearly, the only reason our magazines exist is to help spiritually-minded people better understand and put into practice the healing power of Christian Science. We think a great deal about the demand Mary Baker Eddy placed on her Church’s magazines to be “ably edited” and to be “kept abreast of the times.” Again and again, we find ourselves asking, “What are the needs of our readers today?”
Thirty years ago, very few of us would have thought about having a GPS navigational system in our cars, but for many people today, this feature has become so valuable that they’re willing to pay extra for it, while people who tend to drive mainly in familiar areas might well wonder why anyone would opt for such an “unnecessary” feature. Just so, in today’s digital age, we are increasingly hearing from readers who want to be able to access the message of Christian Science from a variety of digital platforms—desktop and mobile devices connected to the Internet—with more opportunities for interaction with the content and with other readers, while other subscribers wonder why anyone would ever want to read a magazine on anything but paper.