Entrepreneur Jim Russell wants Christians to have a bigger role in the secular press, and he is willing to pay for it.

I was stunned by the statistics,” Lansing, Michigan, businessman Jim Russell recalls. Gallup surveys showed that 94 percent of Americans believe in God. Seventy-four percent claim to have “made a commitment to Jesus Christ.”

Russell concluded that proclamation of the gospel in America had been widely accomplished. But meditating on the Great Commission, he recalls, “I read that Jesus told his disciples to teach the world ‘to obey everything I have commanded you.’ Well, that we haven’t done. I felt God has given us this magnificent proclamation victory; we have responded with a monumental discipling failure.”

As Russell recounts his growing determination to rectify the “discipling failure,” his voice rises with the excitement of a visionary and the urgency of an entrepreneur used to ready solutions. Dressed in a conservative suit and paisley tie, Russell presents a slight, unimposing figure. Thinning hair and a few small furrows in his bespectacled countenance give the only hint that he is old enough to be retired. His energy and acumen make clear why he is still able to run a thriving business at the age of 68—and why he has not hesitated to launch ambitious responses to what he perceives as the lack of Christian truth in the secular media.

He launched the Amy Awards in 1983, for example. Few Christian writers have never heard of the annual $10,000 first prize and 14 additional cash prizes offered by the Amy Foundation. Each year the foundation awards a total of $34,000 to writers whose articles present biblical truth, include a Bible quotation, and appear in secular print media. College students who accomplish ...

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