by Chris Thompson
This issue of Life in His Hands Christian Newspaper will help celebrate our 1-year of publication. Ours is a world of time-starved readers, print media layoffs, and electronic everything.com’s, and anyone would be perfectly reasonable to ask me why we would launch a Christian newspaper in this culture. No answer will ever satisfy an earthly wonderer, but a heavenly questioner will recognize the simplicity of my solitary reply, “Because God asked me to, and I am following His call.”
In the spring of 2014, I’d been unemployed for more than six-months, and after discouraging job searching, I hit my knees and prayed. “Dear Lord, I have no clue what to do. How do I support my family? I have been trying to do things my way, and now, I fully surrender this job search to You. What do You want me to do?”
Before I slept that night, His reassurance found me as He whispered, “Just watch this.”
The next morning, as I again dove into the resume I had re-written five times in the last month, more details of God’s answer emerged. As I looked back through my years in radio, TV, magazine, newspaper, telemarketing, and public relations, I saw a 16-year career looking back at me. I guess God did too. Over a cup of off-brand coffee and a resume, God boldly placed His call on me. It went like this, “Christopher, Do what I’ve taught you how to do, but now, do it for Me.”
So now what? Do I work for myself? No. It was made clear from the beginning who, in this relationship, was the boss. If I am a follower, then He is the Boss.
Let me ask you, have you ever worked for a boss who thought they had all the answers, someone who knew it all and wanted everyone to know who ruled the roost every day? That’s kind of like my Boss except without the employee resentment. My Boss actually does have all the answers because He is, well—God.
When we started to design our July 2014 issue and I was afraid that I didn’t have enough editorial, He sent a writer, Jamin Osborn, who would write the next two cover stories. When I felt that our stories needed to dig deeper into the community, He sent Marina Rojas who has a wonderful gift for storytelling. When we needed to find someone to print the paper fast, He sent a print shop to meet our budget.
Over the last few months I have had a huge gut-wrenching worry about funding. With the help of some great sponsors and a few wonderful one-time and monthly donors, we have been able to keep the paper afloat (nobody associated with this project takes a paycheck). Okay, let’s call a spade a spade: it’s His money, I just manage it to create a newspaper that reaches the nooks and crannies of the Inland Empire. Although we place issues at over 400 locations, from churches to Stater Bros., jails to community centers, cash was (and is) running out.
Recently, I had to go to the Boss and tell Him that I failed. I failed to get His ministry financially sound and in a position to plan future issues. We had made fundraising calls, joined networking groups, became involved in social media, and while we did grow audience and readers for His message, we had trouble turning contacts into contributors. He whispered again saying, “Don’t worry, Christopher, don’t let it get you down, just watch this.”
One week later, a random e-mail appeared in my in-box (Chris@LifeinHisHands.org). The sender was a gentleman I had spoken to only once before in the summer of 14, a brother in Christ I knew, but an acquaintance at most by worldly standards. This e-mail, however, asked me to meet him for coffee.
The evening was warm so I was sipping a caramel frap through a straw, and he had declined coffee mentioning he had already enjoyed some beforehand.
“Chris,” he said. “I’ve been reading the newspaper and love what you are doing.” I had to reinforce the point that it is Gods newspaper, I’m just managing the work. “Either way, I want to bless this ministry.” With that he pulled a checkbook out from his bag. Without asking if the need was there, without knowing I had been asking my Boss for an answer, and without flinching, he pinned a check worth enough to print the next issue. Sometimes I don’t know if there are enough smiles in my face to truly show my gratitude.
I went home, hit my knees, and started to tell my Boss the good news. Then I realized that it was His hand all along. He knew I would fail, He knew I would ask for help. He put the right people in place and created a situation to show me His grace. When I committed to this project, to managing the only Christian newspaper in all of Southern California, I simply said “Yes, I will follow.” I didn’t have all the answers, but I found that I soon would work for a Boss who does.
So how do future issues get funded? We can start with the Pledge Drive on page 8 and the donation tab on our website (LifeinHisHands.org). We are also launching a donation app this month, and you can follow us on Facebook for more information. I would hope these avenues might help.
Either way, I don’t worry much about financing anymore. I have learned that when God shows you who is actually in control, you’ll have no problem walking on faith alone.
Working for a ‘know-it-all’ Boss