I have had an interest in writing since I was barely a teenager. When I became a Christian in 1954 as a senior in high school, a friend and I started a small single-page paper called The Flame of Truth. It was an effort to teach our schoolmates the gospel. I still have the initial copy of that paper. Incidentally, one of our high school converts, who had planned to be a Baptist preacher, is now a successful business man who helps support our work!
Not long after I began my labor with the East Main church in Stockton, California (1961), I purchased a used printing press for $100. With hand-set type, I designed and printed a series of small tracts that I called “Flash-Card Tracts.” They taught simple biblical lessons in chart form.
In May of 1965 I obtained a small “offset” printing press for $500—with money I had saved. A Christian brother purchased and donated a used IBM Selectric typewriter, and the Christian Courier was born. It was a “subscription free” teaching tool, a work of the local church. I wrote most of the articles, did the printing, folding, and (with help from my wife and a couple of others) addressed and mailed the paper. When the children came along and grew old enough, they pitched in to help. The subscription list grew fast and it was not long before our mailing list numbered in the thousands. Eventually the project became so expensive we set a modest subscription price of $1 annually. Gradually that had to be increased.
The Courier grew in circulation and the size was increased as well. I do not mean to boast, but this modest teaching effort also grew in standing. As a result, I began to receive invitations to speak on lecture programs at churches and colleges throughout the country. I was also invited to make teaching trips to foreign countries.
The success of the paper, I believe, has been due to several factors. (a) The articles were brief, and folks appreciated studies that did not require a great deal of reading time. (b) The material was not “fluff”; it had substance. (c) The articles were written in a way that could be understood by the average person. (d) We were not afraid to tackle controversial subjects. (e) We never recoiled from exposing error, though we were not a vigilante journal that fired at every wounded soul. The Christian Courier became a respected publication, frequently depicted as one of the best for its size.
Over the years it has become one of the major elements of our mission program. Only the joys of heaven will reveal the impact that this paper has had. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for those people who have helped maintain this work over the past forty-three years.
About ten years ago, thanks to my son Jared’s self-taught expertise in computer technology, we were able to establish The Christian Courier on the Web, which expanded our teaching range far beyond the printed edition. We publish weekly material that goes around the globe. It is a truism that “the sun never sets on the Christian Courier.” Literally thousands of articles have gone forth by means of these efforts. There will be souls in heaven who will thank the people involved in the distribution of the Courier, for assisting them in reaching their eternal Home.
With advancement of age, and the increasing medical difficulties I’ve encountered over the past several years, I recently determined that it was time for me to step down from the editorial chair and let my sons subsequently fill this responsibility. Of course I still will contribute articles. None is better suited, however, to accept this challenge than Jared and Jason Jackson. Accordingly, as of May ’08, they jointly assumed the editorial duties of the paper, assisted by the considerable talent of David Boggs who contributes so much to our work.
The journal has a fresh new look, with increased size and added color (at minimal expense due to advanced printing techniques). Already praise is pouring in because of the impact of our new format.
With steadily increasing postage rates, etc., it has become impossible for the local congregation to bear the total expense of this work. A few churches and individuals help us with expenses. Unfortunately we have been forced to increase the subscription rate for non-supporters. Still, the material is a bargain. One can receive twelve issues a year of solid biblical instruction for less than a couple can enjoy dinner at a fine restaurant.
We do need increased support, however, and we plead with those who feel blessed by the effort of join with us in this labor of love.