Would you believe it if I told you Charisma published 500 issues? I was shocked when I realized that the March issue of Charisma was our 500th. To celebrate, our publisher and vice president of the Charisma Media Group, Dr. Steve Greene, interviewed me on my “Strang Report” podcast. We discussed Charisma‘s beginnings and how God grew it from a small publication to the leading charismatic magazine it is today. You can listen to our entire conversation by clicking here or clicking the podcast at the end of this article.
Some of you may have heard Charisma‘s genesis story before. I’ve shared many times how as a Pentecostal journalist, I had a desire to publish a magazine that reported on what the Holy Spirit was doing in our nation and around the world. I had the chance to write a story on healing evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman for the Orlando Sentinel, a newspaper in central Florida.But I wanted to do more.
So in 1975, I founded a small charismatic magazine at a Florida megachurch. This was at the height of the Jesus Movement, when revivals were sweeping the U.S. and even traditional denominations were experiencing the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Our first issue was 32 pages, and I wrote the cover story on Thurlow Spurr, a Spirit-filled musician whose songs touched many. Two months later, our second issue featured Kathryn Kuhlman and the incredible healing miracles that characterized her ministry. That issue came out shortly before she died.
For the first year, I kept working at the Orlando Sentinel and published Charisma on the side. During that time, we printed 10,000 copies for about 420 subscribers. But I knew I had to commit my full attention to Charisma if I wanted to see it grow as I envisioned. So after that first year, I quit my job. The truth is that I didn’t have a desire to succeed as much as I had a desire not to fail.
And yet sometimes you can succeed by just not giving up. Because Charisma started in the midst of a charismatic revival, there were plenty of other Christian magazines around. I remember one gentleman who approached me to ask why I founded Charisma when there were already several magazines like it. Though rude, his comment stuck in my mind because all three of the Christian publications he mentioned by name are no longer active. Charismais the only magazine of its kind that has stood the test of time. In fact, Charisma absorbed one of those Christian magazines, Christian Life, in 1986. Robert Walker founded that magazine back in 1939, and I admired him greatly. In fact, I have an entire room in our headquarters dedicated to his honor.
When I founded Charisma, my goal was merely to write articles about what the Lord was doing, and a church magazine seemed like a good way to do it. But now, our vision has grown in scope and specificity. As a multimedia company, we aim to inspire people to radically change their world through the Spirit’s power. And as technology has advanced over the last 40-plus years, … read more
Strang Report podcastHot topics affecting your Christian faith. Challenge your beliefs each week with topics on U.S. and International politics, missions, Christian movements, persecution and global outreach. Join host Steve Strang, founding editor and publisher of Charisma magazine, as he discusses these topics and challenges you to know what Christians are experiencing nationally and globally. Listen now