Will magazines become obsolete?

  • Posted By: Devoted
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Building the Kingdom of God

Can magazines play a role in this?



From the early days, newsletters and magazines have played an important role in church as an effective way of spreading news concerning the church, sharing spiritual experiences and providing insight about the gospel. However, with the era of technology continuously evolving, newspapers, magazines and books now appear digitally on the web, Kindles and iPhones with rapid speed.

This poses the question: Is the printed word becoming obsolete? The debate has been going on for years now, and Devoted investigated the role a magazine can play in Building God’s Kingdom.



Searching the web for answers on this topic reveals that there are many different opinions. On the one hand there is the opinion that printed newspapers, magazines and books will eventually disappear from the bookshelf as more and more people prefer the electronic version. Others think, however, that magazines, newspapers and books will never be replaced by the electronic version and that both have a place in educating society. And then there are also those with mixed feelings.



It seems that schools are now introducing tablets into the classrooms and that it is planned that these kinds of devices will eventually replace the traditional printed handbooks that the older generations are all so familiar with. Surely there are many advantages to it, but a great number of disadvantages also come to mind, especially with regard to the negative effect all these electronic devices, becoming smaller and smaller by the day, have on a person’s eyesight and posture!


When Amazon.com unveiled an electronic reading device in 2007, called Kindle 2, it was predicted that it could “transform the way people read, carry and store books”.  The most revolutionary thing about this device, it was pointed out, is the ability to wirelessly get almost any book and many newspaper and other subscriptions in a matter of seconds – and at a reasonable price.


The site, www.1techportal.com, remarks that “many printed magazines such as Fitness, Macworld, and People are becoming obsolete and losing subscribers”.  It elaborates by saying:  “Magazines are definitely losing subscribers, but it’s not because of their digital versions. With the launch of iOS 5 and Newsstand, it makes it easier for customers to purchase digital copies of Fitness and Macworld that will automatically be downloaded to their iOS device. These digital subscriptions are expensive and do not offer any extra features…”


They go further by saying that “what is really destroying the market for magazines is blogging… Bloggers have the knowledge to go in-depth about different topics and provide daily news to readers. That’s not to say that people still don’t read Macworld or CNN, but blogs could eventually eliminate magazines”.

The website www.theatlantic.com points out: “Still, the printed magazine is not a futuristic medium, and online potentials are so rich as to make many obsolete”.



An interesing perspective can be found on the website www.techi.com. The question is asked: “Why did we ever have magazines?”  The conclusion is made that magazines still serve a purpose in people’s lives:

  • “They allow for people with specific interests to have an in-depth publication dedicated to that interest instead of just one small column in a newspaper or something.
  • “If we relied on newspapers for up-to-date news and books for long, in-depth analysis, magazines were the perfect in-between size. They are a way of making sense of our world in a relatively compact and concise form.
  • “They are places for talent to gather around a common purpose. It’s great that thousands of people are writing on their own – but how great is it to have 20 really smart people all writing in one publication?”


The blog becker-posner-blog.com states that “I can’t help but notice that paper and print communications are still significant players in the communications game. When I go out at lunchtime and walk along Main Street, posters of upcoming events are still plastered on store windows and billboards still shout from alongside busy highways. From where I’m sitting – and walking – print is still a part of our world, despite technology’s attempt to nudge it out!


The blogger above also raises an important issue with regards to the use of electronic devices: “a break from the intensity of technology is needed, if not always welcomed. I spend all day in front of a computer screen, sending e-mails, transferring calls…so it’s nice when I can just step away from the technology and rest my eyes for a while. There is nothing I like better than sitting down in the morning with my breakfast to read the paper…the ACTUAL newspaper, not some digi-paper on a computer screen that you have to scroll down to read. And books! In my opinion, there is no substitute for a good, old-fashioned book…where I can look at and turn actual pages, and even smell the ink”.




The negative effect the overuse of electronic devices and computers has on our health is well-known. Doctors and optometrists warn us to take special care of our postures when using laptops and computers and recommend that we limit the time that we spend in front of these, and other electronic devices.


Pain and stiffness of the neck and back have been attributed to prolonged usage of computers. Computers are also blamed for problems with eyes and eyesight. Headaches, dry skin and skin discomfort are all associated with computer use.


The negative impact of over exposure to electronic devices and gadgets to children may not be obvious in short period of times, but it will become clear in the longer term. Some of the serious disadvantages include that it may curb outdoor activities, negatively affect their studies and school achievements and they may develop unhealthy lifestyles and poor time management. For me the biggest disadvantage of allowing electronics to take over your world is the lack of personal social interaction accompanying it. . It seems to me that more and more, as everything around us is becoming electronic and taking over our need for personal, eye-to-eye contact and communication, we are raising a generation that will lose soft skills, to the detriment of good relationships. We all know how easy it is to misunderstand a SMS, an e-mail, and other forms of electronic conversation that has taken over the traditional ways of talking to each other.


Many readers, especially from the Baby Boomers era, still feel that an electronic device cannot substitute a good book or magazine. They are of the opinion that magazines inspire passion and loyalty in a way that is yet to be experienced with a website. Being able to hold a quality glossy magazine in your hands is something that makes printed publications valuable, and to look forward to getting the next issue!

However, there is a place for both the electronic and print media in the world. A good printed publication can work in concert with a good web site and electronic version, and each can serve a valuable and different purpose. It does not have to be an either/or situation. It is a good idea to have a number of copies printed, but to provide some kind of electronic version for those who prefer that.

This viewpoint is confirmed by the website, www.3dissue.com: “Digital printing has helped so many publishers internationally and locally. The need to be online and have a print version is what most seems to be striving for. And that is the way the market is going.”



There is a good argument to make for a special publication for a church. It is said that books and magazines can go where preachers can’t. Many churches have realised that a flagship publication can be one of the effective means of expanding the ministry of the local church.

The decision to produce a magazine for CRC was not entertained merely to be trendy. It was made with a particular strategy in mind which would build genuine and meaningful relationships between church members and the church leadership, fellow church goers and – most importantly – with Christ. The magazine also provides the leadership with a vehicle through which it is able to stay in touch with its fast growing nationwide congregation and simultaneously promotes its various ministries and activities to a wider audience – inside CRC, but also externally.

This magazine is nothing less than another miracle and a benevolent contribution towards a long-awaited dream.There is no doubt that it will ultimately emerge as a major voice in the life of this fast-growing church. In this way CRC will, once again, be the forerunner and set the way for others to follow.


The benefits of a Christian lifestyle magazine are numerous:


  • It provides resources that are helpful to people’s walk with God;
  • It furthers the ministry of the church;
  • It gives Christians and non-Christians alike easy access to much needed information;
  • It facilitates the building of spiritual strength;
  • It serves as a platform for writers, artists, cartoonists, graphic designers and many other talented people to showcase their talents;
  • It provides an opportunity for church members to share their experiences, skills and talents to produce a world-class Christian lifestyle magazine for the benefit of the church;
  • The introduction of exciting content caters to a variety of tastes;
  • People are afforded an opportunity to showcase their unique passions and talents through adaptable member profiles and also to share their ministries and groups they are affiliated with;
  • Reborn Christians have the opportunity to reveal to others the role and influence God has in their lives by publishing true life experiences and stories that fit the criteria of life changing interventions;
  • It builds rapport among Christian groups;
  • It provides hope and help for the challenging issues of today;
  • It contains topics that are helpful and thought-provoking;
  • It helps to build God’s Kingdom;
  • It provides good and informative news to help people discover life through the Gospel;
  • It is making a difference as a source of Christian-based information for Christians and non-Christians alike;
  • It helps make Jesus Christ known to all people;
  • It provides a platform for believers to share spiritual experiences and insights;
  • It motivates people and organisations to make a positive difference in the lives of others – especially the less fortunate, women and children;
  • It reports on projects, programmes and initiatives that are aimed at improving the lives of others.

It is clear that the benefits of a Christian Lifestyle magazine are numerous and that it can play an important role in the ministry. Whether it is in printed form or digital, it is not the issue. Currently there is a place for both in the world and it will still take a lot of time before the print media, including glossy magazines, become obsolete.


The mere fact that one sees new publications (and books) on the bookshelf on a regular basis is a clear indication that there is still a need for the print media.


(Sources: www.1techportal.com/2012/02/why-printed-magazines-are-becoming-obsolete/






Opinions on Devoted:


Gerda Potgieter (managing editor):  “Devoted cannot be compared to other magazines, especially secular magazines.  It is the flagship publication of CRC and as such it has a very important role to play in this ever-growing church. Devoted could become instrumental in not only building God’s Kingdom, but in building rapport, relationships, knowledge, and the communication strength among the sister churches. This magazine has grown from strength to strength since it was established in 2011, and will continue to do so, in both printed form and digitally.” 


Mignionette Fair (assistant editor): “What a privilege to have a church that wants to be better and bigger all the time and that pushes its members to do the same. Devoted is a testimony to this fact and will continue to grow for the glory of God and for the benefit of the church. I am proud to play a part in bringing this amazing magazine to the church and to help spread the Gospel in as many ways as possible.”