It has been 20 years this month since Harold Myra stepped off an airplane in Washington, D.C., and rushed-suitcase in hand-to a meeting of Christianity Today, Inc.'s executive committee. He walked out several hours later with the title of President and Publisher and the responsibility to turn around a financially languishing publication.

In those days, two decades after it was founded by Billy Graham, L. Nelson Bell, and Carl F. H. Henry, CHRISTIANITY TODAY carried a lot of prestige, but it was economically troubled. Despite long years of foundation funding, overly ambitious expansion plans had left the magazine with editorial and marketing philosophies driven by high ideals but with a low sense of reality. Myra's task: to keep the high ideals but make the magazine pay for itself.

The new CEO made hard, but necessary decisions: He downsized the staff and relocated the operation away from expensive downtown Washington (the editor's view of the White House was nice, but the bucks were about to stop).

Editorial decisions were also made: Board member Ben Haden complained: "There are Ph.D.'s in my congregation who can't understand CT!" Myra's challenge was to blend theological depth with clarity and applicability to a broad range of intelligent readers.

Since that time, Christianity Today, Inc., has grown from one magazine to eight. Its annual gross revenues have multiplied 12-fold. And its employee group has bounced back to a healthy 125. For the last 16 years, under Myra's guidance, the company has operated in the black. No success results from just one person's efforts. The teams of marketers, editors, writers, and advertising execs (to mention only a few groups of our faithful workers) can all take credit. Nevertheless, Myra's vision has provided the focus for the many contributions these faithful Christian workers made.

All of this has called for sacrifice. The CT executive offices no longer look out on the White House, but if he wants to, Harold Myra can now watch the hungry hordes arriving at the neighborhood McDonald's restaurant.


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