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April-May 2015

10 Years in Print: Special Edition


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FIRST GLIMPSE: By the Number

I wish you could have been there when directors and associate editors recently met to mull over ONE Magazine's first decade in print.

“I can’t believe it has been ten years.” Ida Lewis, soon-to-be retired publications editor for Home Missions, was the first to speak. “That first meeting seems like yesterday.”

Yes and no. My mind wandered back to the moment when I looked around a conference table at a group of editors with more than 200 combined years of publishing experience and wondered, “What in the world am I doing here?”

Thankfully, the ONE editorial team broke the 32-year-old “new kid” in gently, and working together, we forged a new magazine. It was a historic accomplishment, fulfilling the decades-old dream of a unified publication (learn more, page 22). Sent free to nearly 60,000 homes, the first issue reached more Free Will Baptists than any other publication in the 200-year history of the movement. And it was only the beginning.

Over its first decade in print, the ONE Magazine team produced, printed, and mailed a staggering 3.4 million copies containing 3,452 pages, 1,014 articles, 300 columns, and 1,331 news releases. Free Will Baptists proved to be “fast movers,” and 21,677 addresses changed (more than a third of subscribers) during the decade.

The first 60 issues covered many significant Free Will Baptist moments, from the death of beloved pioneer missionary LaVerne Miley to the incredible outpouring of love, money, and relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.

We celebrated significant milestones—75-year anniversaries for International Missions, Women Nationally Active for Christ, Home Missions, and the National Association—and mourned the passing of a generation of giants such as Wade Jernigan, Roger Reeds, Eugene Waddell, Raymond Riggs, Bert Tippett, and many others. In short, as WNAC Director Elizabeth Hodges put it, “ONE Magazine became synonymous with the Free Will Baptist story.”

Ida Lewis continued: “I want Free Will Baptists to know it is a great thing to be Free Will Baptist, and I am so excited about what God is doing among us.”

Free Will Baptist Foundation Director David Brown chimed in: “It bothers me to hear people say ‘Free Will Baptists are done.’ I want to tell them we are not done yet. Not even close! We are just
getting started…and the best is yet to come.”

The meeting closed with dreams about the future of the magazine: more online presence, renewed emphasis on the rich history and heritage of the movement, and someday perhaps, monthly issues.

As I listened to the excited discussion, my mind wandered away to Jack Williams’ final editorial in Contact magazine in December 2004, where he wrote, “What I remembered most was that I was
number six. Anything the magazine accomplished during my tenure built on the work of the editors who preceded me.”

Make it seven, Jack. Make it seven


Eric K. Thomsen is managing editor of ONE Magazine. Contact him at




©2014 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists