Fifteen issues strong but still a way to go
2002. Since 1998 Soul Purpose magazine has targeted Christian and non – Christian young people aged between 12 – 25 years.
The magazine has reached its 15th issue and while the crew could rest on their laurels, Founder and Chief Editor Hamish Stevenson feels they have a long way to go.
“We want the magazine to be the largest, the most influential and most respected Christian youth magazine in the world and for it to become a household voice for Christian youth in Australasia.”
For this to materialise, Mr Stevenson says they will need to effectively move distribution into Australia and South Africa. Interest also heralds from Canada and United States, and Singapore and the Pacific Islands look like avenues for distributing Soul Purpose magazine.
Issue one contained sixteen black and white pages. Issue six increased to thirty-six pages, with a gloss art cover, and eight pages graduated to full colour. Mr Stevenson says that is where they have stayed but are currently looking to go full colour, increase the page number and change the text stock to a coated gloss grade.
The magazine’s parent organization, Soul Purpose Charitable Trust, was running regular events for young people in Wellington during the 1990’s when they wanted to give attendees something they could take away and read, which would act as a catalyst to asking questions about God and the Gospel.
They initially printed five hundred copies of the giveaway. The more people got to know about the mag the more we printed, Mr Stevenson says. The second issue ran five thousand copies; the third hit 10,000, and issue five, 25,000 copies. That’s when we started distributing nationwide, he says.
“We don’t want there to be any reason why any young person in this country would not be able to receive the mag.”
One of their goals in publishing Soul Purpose is to offer a “viable alternative for young people”.
“There is so much rubbish being published in magazines today. One New Zealand girl’s magazine aimed at 13 – 19-year-olds contained an article on ‘How to Dress to make the Boy’s Drool’. What’s more is they had a sealed centre section containing graphic examples of the diverse ways that you can have and experiment with sex. The Soul Purpose magazine wants to promote everything that this world does not do.”
Each Soul Purpose magazine includes three to four feature articles that deal with topics ranging from relationship with God, each other, and sharing with others your faith in God.
Mr Stevenson says they have also covered sexuality issues such as pornography and sex before marriage, and engaged discussion on Jesus the man, self-image, and marriage. Regular columns include music reviews, interviews with bands and artists, humour, Bible stories and testimonies.
“Our readership is quite broad, but we target our articles towards senior High School through to tertiary age young people, which is currently the most under-catered and misunderstood age bracket in and outside the Church today.”
Mr Stevenson praises God for testimonies such as how a young person has been drawn closer to God through the magazine.
“If we can encourage a generation of young Christians in this country to run the race with perseverance and not give in to the temptations around them, then I believe we are fulfilling our vision from God: to help generations of New Zealand young people become sold out for Christ.”
By Peter Veugelaers.
Published 2002, Challenge Weekly.