Power for Today—celebrating five decades of service to Churches of Christ
HISTORY OF POWER FOR TODAY
In June, 1954, at a meeting in the student center on the campus of David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University), nine people who were a part of the writing staff of 20th Century Christian magazine discussed the possibility of starting up a daily devotional guide to encourage families to worship together. Names of those present, all known as leaders among the churches and some with strong ties to Christian education, were Norvel and Helen Young, Batsell Barrett Baxter, J.P. Sanders, Willard Collins, George DeHoff, Jim Bill McInteer, Paul and Winston Moore. Batsell Barret Baxter is remembered for putting the idea forward and leading the discussion. All concurred in the need, agreeing that such a worship guide would encourage Christian families to study the Bible more, to pray more, to sing together in worship more—in their homes.
Power for Today was launched in January of 1955, just five months after that gathering discussed the possibility. M. Norvel and Helen Young were listed as founding editors. In that first issue, the devotional article for January 1 was written by J.P. Sanders. In that article, Our Faith is Certain, he sounded the theme which has guided the tone of the magazine for fifty years: “As Christians we can rest in the confidence that we know . . . Jesus and we can stake our lives and our eternal destiny on the truth revealed through him.”
Since that first issue, 18,250 articles have been written by around 8,500 different people, some of them ministers of the gospel and including Christian men and women from all walks of life. It is historically significant that the first article by a woman printed in this magazine for a general readership was Helen Young’s in April, 1955. The second was by Della Pack in July of that same year; the magazine has given spiritual voice to countless people who shared their life experiences and insights in the context of scripture, bringing Christ into the mornings and evenings of Christians around the world.
Power for Today is read by individual subscribers, and those whose churches subscribe to bundles distributed to their members, in 51 states and 11 countries outside the United States.
POWER FOR TODAY’S FORMAT
Power for Today is a quarterly publication, arriving in the hands of regular readers four times each year. Each article is about two-hundred words in length. Readers who turn in their Bibles to the assigned Scripture reading, read the Bible Thought, the prayer at the end, and either sing or meditate on the suggested hymn at the end may find that might encompass fifteen minutes of focused devotional time. It is designed for both silent reading by individuals and for reading aloud in a group setting.
Each issue contains suggested weekly topics and activities in the Family Nights section that begins in the front of the publication. Family Nights is designed for younger families who wish to set aside a period of time each week for Scripture reading, discussion, and prayer. Our correspondence suggests that this is a feature widely used by our readers.
POWER FOR TODAY’S PEOPLE
The magazine is published by 21st Century Christian Foundation in Nashville, Tennessee. Mark McInteer serves the foundation as its president. Shannon Baird, Circulation Manager, is the voice most often heard by those who call the toll-free number to discuss subscribing. Power for Today’s publisher is Steven Lemley. Steven and Emily Lemley have served as the magazine’s editors since 1971, joined by Amy Cary who is managing editor and the author of the magazine’s “Family Nights” section since 2010.
POWER FOR TODAY’S WRITERS
About 150 people form the able core of writers assigned by the editors to provide 365 devotional articles each year. The editors send out specific assignments to these faithful people who do their work as a labor of love. In addition, a significant number of readers of the magazine are moved each year to submit unassigned articles and many, though not all, of those are used in the magazine.
Power For Today
Daily Devotional Magazine