For almost twenty years, RELEVANT has been a leading voice in the Christian community, intentionally bringing diverse perspectives to our platform. Since our inception, we’ve advocated that believers should engage—and influence—culture rather than withdrawing from it. We’ve sought to be outspoken advocates of racial justice and gender equality, as continually evidenced in our magazine and podcasts. In all things, we’ve tried to challenge the Church to talk about the uncomfortable topics it often tried to avoid, to build bridges of understanding and ultimately point a generation to Jesus.
Last fall, stories of insensitivity, toxic work culture and a lack of organizational oversight were publicly told about RELEVANT Media Group and our founder, Cameron Strang. Holding ourselves to our own standard of facing uncomfortable topics, we took the criticisms very seriously.
In September, Cameron elected to take leave of absence. This extended period of counseling and introspection provided him with a much-needed perspective and, over the course of the last six months, he and the team have worked hard to internally address the criticisms in substantive and tangible ways.
Over the years, RELEVANT has done a lot with little. As a small, independent company with big goals in an always-changing media ocean, Cameron often led RELEVANT like a constantly redlining speed boat, going fast and making quick turns with little margin. This recent season opened our eyes to how that approach led to stress and a lack of health in our organization, and for that both Cameron and the RELEVANT executive team wish to extend a sincere apology.
To ensure more leadership transparency, accountability and overall staff support, RELEVANT is pleased to announce the formation of a new executive board that will advise in all aspects of business, culture and mission. Our executive board will consist of a diverse group of accomplished and independent Christian leaders. The board will receive team reviews of RELEVANT’s leadership, and will also serve as a direct resource to the staff should any situations need guidance or intervention.
And with the consent and support of the executive board, we are also pleased to announce Cameron’s return to RELEVANT as CEO effective April 15.
While we’re proud of what we’ve been able to produce over the years, we’ve certainly made plenty of mistakes along the way. This season has been both hard and humbling. But we are ever-grateful to our loyal readers and listeners, and we promise to do our very best to hold ourselves to a higher standard going forward.
Here are some specifics:
NEW EXECUTIVE BOARD
Our executive board consists of a diverse group of accomplished Christian leaders:
- Tessie Guell Devore — Board Chair
Tessie is the president of Bible Media Group and the Lumo Project, with a long-time track record of leadership in Christian publishing. Tessie serves as a trustee on the boards of Oral Roberts University and the American Bible Society, and was the first female president of the Spanish Evangelical Publishers Association.
- Dr. Dharius Daniels
Dharius is the founder and pastor of Change Church, a ministry that impacts people of all ages, socioeconomic classes, and ethnic backgrounds. Dharius has a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.
- Christine Caine
An activist, author and international speaker, Christine founded the global anti-human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign, with her husband Nick. They also founded Propel Women, an organization designed to activate women to fulfill their God-given passion, purpose and potential.
- Dr. David Docusen
An author, consultant and former pastor who earned his doctorate studying the cyclical patterns of generational poverty, David is a founding board member of Freedom Communities—an organization that focuses on equitable access to education, employment, healthcare, and housing.
- Jesse Carey
An accomplished journalist and editor at RELEVANT since 2005—and probably best known for his role on the RELEVANT Podcast—Jesse has been one of the most influential people crafting RELEVANT’s voice over the last 15 years. He most recently served as RELEVANT’s publisher and currently serves as the executive producer of the RELEVANT Podcast Network.
This year, we will also be forming three additional advisory boards to speak into 1) Mission and ministry, 2) Justice and diversity, and 3) Business strategy and culture. Those advisory boards will be formed from a wide network of national leaders in the coming months.
PRINT MAGAZINE CHANGES
This season has been a very challenging one for RELEVANT’s flagship print magazine. After the public criticism, RELEVANT’s advertising business all but collapsed, with countless Christian organizations pulling their business. And while we hope to restore the trust of those partners, the abrupt change to the business unfortunately left the bi-monthly magazine unsustainable. This winter we made the difficult decision to put the print magazine on hiatus.
That said, we love print and are committed to it. We’re currently working on a new subscription model to deliver our award-winning magazine content to our audience first through digital platforms, while also creating an annual, larger print publication. (Think RELEVANT, but coffee table size like Kinfolk). The upcoming RELEVANT+ membership will also include premium podcasts and other exclusive content. Look for RELEVANT+ to debut this fall.
The unplanned disruption to the magazine left some advertisers and subscribers unclear what the plan was, and where the magazine was, and we sincerely apologize for our lack of communication while we worked to sort everything out. We’re currently working with all print subscribers who don’t want to transfer their subscription to RELEVANT+ to get refunds for their unfulfilled issues, as well as any affected advertising partners. It’s taken longer than we planned, but rest assured it’s happening. (If you’re a subscriber wondering about your refund request status, please contact us.)
NEW PODCASTS AND NEW SITE
Part of our pivot this year is to launch an exciting new stream of digital-first content. In the coming weeks, an all-new RELEVANTmagazine.com will be launching. And a lot of new podcasts are coming to the RELEVANT Podcast Network. Our first new show, Signs of Life, debuted this week. Next month you’ll find a new podcast from Dharius Daniels, then a new season of Called, the return of Unedited and some very high profile shows coming after that.
We’ll also be refreshing our flagship shows, The RELEVANT Podcast and RELEVANT Daily, for the new era. Starting next week, The RELEVANT Podcast will feature an updated cast line-up and schedule (going back to Fridays only), and RELEVANT Daily will be getting some new bells and whistles as well.
We appreciate all of our listeners and readers bearing with us while we navigated a difficult transition during this season. Your support and engagement has meant the world to us, and helped us as we worked to tangibly pivot to a new direction as a healthier organization. We’re excited to be launching a new era of RELEVANT and can’t wait for you to see all that’s in store.