There has been much discussion about the next 25 years in recent months here at the home office. In a September letter, Victor Kubik said he believes “the best years of the United Church of God still lie ahead.” He asked three major questions: “Where have we been? Where are we now? And perhaps most importantly, where are we going?”
Additionally, at the August Council meetings, Chairman Donald Ward commented on the importance of the Church “reinventing itself to address . . . critical societal changes and provide highly relevant spiritual tools for young people to survive and thrive.”
Mr. Kubik has also recorded several podcasts with Darris McNeely about looking forward to the next 25 years. These can be accessed online at ucg.org/inside-united-podcast. They have discussed the current leadership transition of this organization, passing true doctrine on to the next generations, reinvigorated preaching, the development of the pastoral ministry and preaching the gospel in a way that reaches people where they are without compromising the truth.
Mr. McNeely noted in one podcast, “The Bible is full of transitions. You see the transition from Moses to Joshua . . . from Elijah to Elisha . . . decisions that are made today impact the years ahead of us and the next generation.” You may have noticed more pastoral development programs being held all over the U.S. and abroad in recent years. These events represent the intentional effort to train future spiritual leaders.
Reflecting on the next 25 years of the Church, Mr. McNeely also talked about the importance of meaningful relationships to preserve unity and to develop the empathy to “address relevant issues that are impacting the world today—from the foundation of the Word of God.”
Throughout the process of redesigning United News, I listened to these discussions and considered what this vision for the next 25 years of UCG meant for this publication specifically. How could the UN reflect those concepts? How could this publication help contribute to the development of a church going forward—full of Christians who are pursuing their calling, pursuing baptism and lifelong conversion, sharing the gospel in genuine ways whenever they can and making meaningful relationships? How could this publication encourage readers to be kinetic and knitted—actively moving forward together?
One result of these questions was a content examination during the redesign process. As I receive material from each of you, I plan to focus on printing more relevant content and congregational news. People are doing great things in their local areas, and printing news articles about those things can inspire people in other congregations to serve and grow in similar ways.
If you know of someone distributing Beyond Today magazines, leading small group Bible discussions with work friends, initiating community service projects or preaching the gospel in another self-initiated way, write about it and send it in! If someone in your congregation inspires you, write a member profile such as the one found on page 15 of this issue and send it in! Send us feedback. Send us articles. Be involved!
Another goal of this redesign was improved navigation and readability. As you flip through this issue, you'll notice that page numbers and content section indicators appear at the top of the page for easier direction. The decision to migrate to a green masthead and color scheme aims for consistency with the members website (ucg.org/members) where many materials and news items referenced in United News can be found. The updated table of contents section at the bottom of this front page offers a content overview.
Associate video producer Clint Porter, who creates motion graphics for Beyond Today TV, was actively involved in the redesign as well. He commented, “You can create the perfect newspaper layout one day, but the world will continue to change around it. We found it was time to holistically look at every design element in the UN and assess its value to the reader. With this new layout, we strove for a cleaner feel that puts more focus on content, and visually harmonizes UN with our website and other media. We moved the page numbers to the top, we reduced the size of the masthead, and we redesigned low-contrast graphics elements so they are now easier to read.”
Mitchell Moss, former managing editor of United News, served as a consultant on this project. He commented, “I’m thrilled with the results of this redesign. Every design choice we made was in service to making United News a reflection of our mission and vision as a Church, and also to imbue it with Ariana’s own aspirations for the publication. She did a fantastic job propelling the project forward, as did Matt and Clint in designing the elements. Here’s to the future of United!”
Additionally, the Good News section is now a completely standalone insert within United News. Graphic designer Matt Hernandez is behind the updated Good News logo. He commented, “With the Good News section, we wanted something clean and modern, but that is also a call back to the past. The masthead design was heavily inspired by a similar GN design from the 70s. The idea behind this approach is that while we are looking forward, we are sticking to our roots, especially when it comes to doctrinal integrity.”
The goal of this redesign was to ensure United News continues to provide relevant and inspirational content to readers. My prayer is that this publication helps to foster a sense of community and camaraderie between brethren as we enter the next quarter century of this organization.