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October-November 2021

Celebrating 100 Issues of ONE Magazine


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FIRST GLIMPSE: What's in a Name?

“Connect?” [pause]


“Cross Roads?” [pause]


“Direction?” [longer pause]

“We like it, but that name has been proposed for a Bible study magazine already in development at Randall House.”

The endless list of potential names droned on, each followed by a valid reason it could not be used. This hours-long meeting on January 17, 2005, marked the third time denominational directors and departmental editors had gathered to select a name for a new denominational publication. Each meeting lasted hours. Each left the matter unresolved. With the press date for the premier issue only weeks away, settling on a suitable moniker had become a matter of urgency.

The tension in the room was palpable.

Selecting a name seemed such a low priority when the denomination began its long journey toward a new publication. In 2001, a Georgia resolution raised the possibility of combining all denominational publications into a single periodical. In response, the moderator appointed a Publications Committee to explore the feasibility. Three long years of research, consultation, meetings, number crunching, and (sometimes heated) debate revealed that a unified publication was not only a possibility but also held great potential.

By spending the same amount of money and combining resources, denominational departments could reach more people, publish more pages, and present a unified face to the denomination. Best of all, they could offer the magazine free to readers, doing away with subscription fees. It was a no-brainer for delegates to the 2004 convention in Kansas City, Missouri, who voted overwhelmingly to begin publishing the next year.

Much was accomplished in following months: budget set, managing editor hired (yours truly), editorial themes established, design template finalized for the already arriving manuscripts. The committee even spelled out the goals of the magazine in a mission statement: to communicate to Free Will Baptists a unifying vision of our role in the extension of God’s Kingdom.

Still, no name.

When Board of Retirement Director Bill Evans read the final name on the list without a viable option, an uneasy silence filled the conference room. Serious faces reflected the shared knowledge we had to get this right, and we needed to get it done quickly. Suddenly, from the far end of the table, Welch College President Matt Pinson blurted out, “Who would think it could be so hard to find a name for one magazine.”

Immediately, the gravelly voice of the late Contact magazine editor Jack Williams replied, “I like it.”

Just like that, ONE Magazine had a name.

In retrospect, the name fit well. Eight departmental publications united into one magazine. Its goal was to spell out God’s work (one Lord) in and through Free will Baptists (one voice) drawing us together to continue that work (one vision).

As the publication celebrates 100 issues, the name ONE Magazine has become synonymous with journalistic excellence, quietly winning more than 100 industry awards for writing, design, and reporting. The editorial team, though representing eight departments, has truly become a unified voice, working together to coordinate themes, produce quality content, and encourage readers with stories of what God is doing throughout the world.

ONE Magazine editors and contributors have developed influence in the larger world of Christian publishing, serving on the boards (and as board presidents) of both the Evangelical Press Association (EPA) and the Protestant Church-Owned Publishers Association (PCPA).

As attention shifts to the next 100 issues, the simple mission remains unchanged: tell the amazing story of what God has done and continues to do through this denomination.

One Lord. One story. ONE Magazine.

About the Columnist: Eric K. Thomsen has been managing editor of ONE Magazine since the publication began in 2005. The former art and marketing director for Randall House Publications, he has served as president of the Evangelical Press Association and is a member of the Free Will Baptist Historical Commission. Eric and his wife Jennifer attend Bethel Free Will Baptist Church near Ashland City, Tennessee, where he serves as music director.


©2021 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists