Submitting Articles to the Bible Missionary

Often people ask about the source of articles for The Bible Missionary. Who do you approach about an article? How do you know who to ask? The answer is that there is an editorial team (detailed on the back cover) consisting of representatives of each of the three Bible Missions. They spend the months before publication persuading, cajoling and nagging prospective writers. If they hear of someone returning from a mission trip, or they hear an account of a potentially newsworthy event from a mission area, they will grab the opportunity to extract an article from the brother or sister involved. Link men and area secretaries are accustomed to a quarterly email appealing, often somewhat desperately, for articles and they use their contacts and knowledge of mission areas to find writers.

   All ACBM articles are to be submitted to Bro Don Phillis bmm.news@acbm.org.au

Don’t wait to be asked

However area secretaries, link men and the editorial panel cannot follow up every trip that takes place with a request for an article. There are just too many people involved. We also 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.

How to write

There are some guidelines to follow, of course. Articles should be:

  • Primarily about the work of one the three Christadelphian Bible Missions;
  • No more than 1,500 words in length and ideally about 800-1000 words (but don’t worry too much: they can always be edited down if you get carried away; very long articles can sometimes be split over two magazines);
  • Accompanied by good quality, high resolution photos provided as separate files rather than embedded into the text (the best photos are those that illustrate the key points of the article; however crowd shots and photos of baptisms can sometimes become repetitive)

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. Another technique that makes for effective articles is to remember that words paint pictures in the readers’ minds. Take the time to describe the sounds, smells, sights, feelings and tastes of the scene. The Bible Missionary is very widely read by brothers and sisters from a huge range of countries, cultural backgrounds, languages and of greatly varying economic means. There is a need to be sensitive to this when writing articles.

When to write

The magazine is published quarterly (January, April, July, October). There are no full time personnel; editing and laying out the magazine takes quite a while and has to be fitted around our ‘day jobs.’ For this reason we need articles to be submitted, at the latest, in the first week of the month preceding publication (in other words in the first week of December, March, June and September)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 me how many brothers and sisters, through the pages of the magazine, closely follow the work of missionaries and the lives of those we support pastorally and to whom we preach. The gospel writer Luke was, perhaps, the first missionary to report on his overseas work; the Acts of the Apostles establishes a key principle: the need for mission workers to report back to and so be accountable to, those who support them. Whilst that principle is continued in the detailed visit reports submitted by mission workers or their linkmen and area secretaries, The Bible Missionary is the ideal forum to inform the whole Christadelphian community of mission activities in an informative but more lively and entertaining way.

– Steve Jefferies

 

Page Last Updated: February, 2014