Christianity Today is announcing the pending retirement of ministry president and chief executive officer Harold B. Smith, effective May 1 of next year. The press release announcing the move includes the following:
Speaking on behalf of the board, CT Board chair Gene Habecker said that: “While we are saddened to see this passionate, mission-driven leader draw his time to a close, we are nevertheless deeply grateful for the work Harold and the exceptional staff have done over this time to re-envision this communication ministry for today’s and tomorrow’s church leaders and culture makers.”
Smith assumed the lead executive role in March 2007, following 23 years of CT service in a variety of editorial and administrative roles.
Shortly after becoming president, Smith found himself facing the recession of 2008-2009 along with the continuing challenges of a publishing industry still trying to navigate the print and digital divide. In response to both, Smith took the difficult and financially necessary step to significantly reduce the ministry’s largely print portfolio (and related staff) and strengthen CT’s digital commitment.
As a result, more than five million unique visitors today access the ministry’s news, commentary, and assorted church resources each month on the web and in print; with over 30% of this number coming from outside of North America.
In addition, Smith has set into motion a series of initiatives giving shape to CT’s future publishing directions and emphases. Among these initiatives:
- Unifying the remaining ministry brands under the distinctives of One CT (“Beautiful Orthodoxy our core cause; Leaders our core readers; Leading our core calling.”)
- Implementing a decade-long process of diversifying staff and ministry writers/contributors.
- Recommitting the nonprofit to again pursue a formal Development program for the future financial health of the ministry,
- And most recently, jump-starting CT Global—an effort to expand the reach of CT content and resources worldwide.
It is this last initiative—CT Global—that will be the primary focus of Smith’s remaining time with the ministry. In addition to raising funds for the initiative’s initial development stage, he will be presenting its vision and scope to readers and supporters across the country.
“An integral part of Billy Graham’s vision in the launch of CT was the international piece,” said Smith. “That is, the reporting of all that God was doing in his church around the world.”
“We are today seeking to build off of Graham’s Spirit-led vision and dramatically expand the number of men and women who can not only report the news from their part of the world but offer biblically-based commentary on what it means not only for them but for us in North America.”
In addition to dramatically expanding CT’s engagement with the church worldwide, CT Global will also seek to create publishing strategies for better engagement with North America’s communities of color.
“We’re talking CT for a new generation of Christ-followers,” Smith says. “And with that, I’m confident that God already has the right person in mind to help lead the way.”
The search firm of Carter Baldwin will work alongside the Search Committee of the CT Board to identify the next President/CEO of Christianity Today.