Rebecca West: Words & Music

Focusing on Jesus

by Bob West

Gospel Teacher issue 1 cover

In the May 1976 issue, just one year after Gospel Graphics made its debut, I announced on the editorial page that the magazine would be expanded and given a new name. It would no longer be a magazine just about graphics, but would be designed to help all Christians be effective ministers and teachers. And the name would be changed to Gospel Teacher. Arnold Schnabel made the suggestion, and then helped me re-organize the format and content, and worked with me for a few issues as co-editor.

"If you believe Christianity means more than attending Sunday morning worship, then Gospel Teacher is your magazine" was the headline on the cover of a brochure I designed to tell our story. The photo of a "Help Wanted" sign, a Bible in a seed bag, and a watering can (also used on the cover of Gospel Teacher, issue 7) was a visual call to action.

The visuals and the words inside continued the message: "Every Christian should read Gospel Teacher -- The how-to magazine that helps Christians fulfill the Great Commission... 'Back to the Bible for the method and the message' is the editorial goal. Experienced Bible teachers, teacher-trainers and professional graphic communication people tell and show how we can use the teaching methods of Jesus, the Master Teacher, to effectively teach His truths today. And how to use modern technology to aid our efforts."

Gospel Teacher brochure & issue 7 cover

I wrote some of the articles. Some were contributed by others. I set the type, did some of the illustrations, used clip art for the rest, designed and pasted up the pages, bought the printing, maintained the mailing list, printed and applied the shipping labels, and paid for the mailing. There was also the time and expense of advertising and trips across the nation to participate in exhibits.

I was certain that when enough of God's people knew about our magazine and how helpful it would be to them, that we would have lots of subscribers. Then with a large circulation, we could get enough advertisers to make it possible to hire a staff, and get paid ourselves. In the meantime Sylvia and I worked long hours on the magazine without pay. And I used income from my freelance art work to pay the bills.

Looking back, the art on the cover of issue 20, dated March / April 1980, a close-up of Jesus on the cross, seemed to be symbolic of another death that was taking place. We didn't know it at the time, but that would be the last issue of Gospel Teacher.
We had nothing left to put into it.

Gospel Teacher 20 cover

But all was not lost. My experiences with Gospel Teacher were an important part of my spiritual journey. My focus was changing. Instead of continuing to just do "church" and focus on religion, I had begun to focus on Jesus. The Lord would confirm this in May 1996! More about that later...

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