We continue to feel the need to solicit timely articles for the Tidings and Christadelphian magazines. These articles feed the CBMA/CBMC Facebook page and the website as well, since the face of the Christadelphian community has changed to include social media. Many trips take place that we are unaware of or are brought to our attention several months late. Link men are accustomed to an often desperate quarterly email appeal from the CBMA/CBMC, for articles for The Bible Missionary Magazine and they use their contacts and knowledge of mission areas to find writers. CBMA/CBMC coordinates with the Bible Missionary Magazine as well to make sure the articles appear in all places possible.
Don’t wait to be asked
It is almost impossible for the Publicity team, or even the linkmen to follow up on every trip. There are just too many people involved. We rely very much, therefore, on brothers and sisters submitting articles without being asked (let’s call them ‘freewill offerings’). In their modesty, however, many people assume that they should wait to be asked to write an article. Consequently, great stories sometimes end up untold. And so an appeal: if you have a story to tell about a mission trip or news in the mission area, please don’t wait to be asked. We cannot guarantee everything will be published but we will certainly be very happy to receive unsolicited material.
In all cases, when a trip is planned a trip report (CBMC) or an e-mail (CBMA) is required for reimbursement of the costs associated with that trip. While we can’t require it, please consider writing a short 1-3 short paragraphs describing a personal story or two when you come back. These small vignettes of trips would make great pieces for the Tidings, Facebook and the website, somewhat like the proverbial “sound bites” you hear about in the news media.
How to write
There are some guidelines to follow, of course. Articles should be:
- Primarily about the work of one the Christadelphian Bible Missions;
- Ideally about 300-600 words in length, but don’t worry – they can always be edited down if you get carried away (case in point – this article is too long;
- Accompanied by good quality, high resolution photos provided as separate files – please DO NOT embed photos in the text (the best photos are those that illustrate the key points of the article – crowd shots and photos of baptisms can sometimes become repetitive). Follow the link to see a video that gives some tips on taking pictures. https://www.cbma.net/support/photo-and-video-tips/
Many people worry about their spelling and grammar – don’t! We can fix that! The more important issue is content. The most interesting articles are those that focus on a particular person, event, place or conversation. Articles that give a day by day report of a mission trip are fine, of course, but they sometimes skim the surface of the trip; this can leave the reader feeling frustrated that the potentially fascinating story of, say, Brother Bob’s conversion is rapidly skipped over in the rush to include details about every day of the visit. Writing a lot about a little is a better approach.
When to write
The Tidings and The Christadelphian Magazines are published monthly and the deadline for submitting articles to Sis. Jan Berneau, are during the last week of each month. Those articles will then appear in the magazine two months away. In other words, an article submitted by the end of
January will not appear until the March/April issue. So, if you wait a month or two to submit a trip report or article, by the time it gets published it is 5-6 months from the trip and considered old news.
We are very grateful indeed for all those who take time out from busy lives to share with us their news of the mission areas. It constantly amazes us how many brothers and sisters, through the pages of the magazines, closely follow the work of missionaries and the lives of those we support pastorally and to whom we preach. The principle established in Acts: the need for mission workers to report back to, and so be accountable to those who support the, that principle is continued in the detailed trip reports submitted by mission workers to their linkmen. However, The Tidings, The Bible Missionary Magazine, The Christadelphian Magazine and social media are ideal forums to inform the whole Christadelphian community of mission activities in an informative but more lively and entertaining way.